“I don’t know,” Kate said. She scrunched up her nose. “Toupees just seem so unnatural. I think you look fine.”
Ed frowned. “It might not matter to you, but I hate looking old. Someone asked me yesterday if I was your dad.”
“Well, they probably couldn’t see all that well then. Were they wearing glasses and squinting? You look fine. Besides, toupees are expensive. And you know that you’re allergic to synthetic fibers.”
Ed folded his arms and looked away. “I notice that you’re not offering to shave your head in solidarity.”
Kate laughed. “Really? You’re not a cancer patient. Embrace who you are and don’t worry about what people think.”
Ed scowled and picked at his dinner that evening. He continued to mope for weeks. When Kate left for a weeklong trip with her sisters, Ed finally decided to do something about his embarrassingly shiny head. It would be a nice surprise for Kate when she returned, he told himself.
His first idea was wheat spaghetti. He’d cook it and let it cool and then stick it to his head while it was still damp. It would dry in a perfect fit for his head and be perfectly natural.
He could later figure out the perfect combinations of natural food dyes so that it matched the sad little fringe of hair that half-circled the edge of his head. That could wait until he found out whether or not his idea worked. He crossed his fingers for luck and started boiling a large pot of salty water.
It didn’t work. It took a long time to dry, and when it did, it was scratchy and his scalp showed through. And it didn’t look like hair. It looked weird and unnatural, and it was rather brittle.
Next idea. He went to the garden store and bought a small square of turf. That was natural, and mud was supposed to be good for your skin. If he carried around a spray bottle, the grass should stay healthy. When it grew long enough, he could style it. Green hair would be trendy. He could even go with his friends to the barbershop for a trim occasionally.
He got home and tried to mold the turf to his head. It was heavy and kept breaking apart in clumps. Should he make a clay basin to contain it and mold that to his head first? Time to go to the craft store.
Unfortunately, the clay kept slowly falling apart under the weight of the sod. He could cook it, but then it would be rough and uncomfortable. Besides, the whole thing was heavy. It maybe looked a little strange, too. It hadn’t been his best idea. Besides, Kate would probably secretly plant flower seeds in it when he was sleeping, and he refused to go to work wearing flowers in his hair.
Ed looked at the toupee websites again. Surely they had options for people with allergies. He looked at the prices again. Was it really worth all that? Kate didn’t like the idea. Why did he care about the opinions of little old ladies in grocery stores anyways?
Maybe he should shave it all off and work out a lot. He could wear sunglasses and he’d look bold and daring. Maybe he could grow a beard too and wear an eye patch. He’d always wanted a parrot.
No, he was getting sidetracked now. The shaving his head idea was not bad. It would make it look like the lack of hair was a choice. The working out idea wasn’t bad either. He’d probably look a little younger if he were in better shape.
He didn’t really want an eye patch though. That would be silly, unless he could have a hook for a hand. Then he’d insist on it of course. What would Kate think of a parrot? That might be a nice surprise. They were expensive though. Perhaps he could make one out of spaghetti? It was worth a try.