My worth in hair

Ed Smith
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Think I’ll get a haircut. In fact, I may get them all cut. The way food prices are rising and gas prices are going up, I need the money.

If Justin Bieber had to sell a few shavings from off his head in order to survive, you can imagine how desperate a poor slob like me must be. Justin’s contribution was a few hairs saved from a trimming. In order to get an equivalent return, I’d need to be scalped.

Not that I don’t have most of my curly locks still attached to my head. It’s just that hair from Justin’s head seems to be a more valuable commodity. For those few strands placed in a box on eBay, some idiot paid in excess of $45,000.

How much is that per hair? It might depend on length, thickness and/or beauty. Some are long but not thick, thick but not long and some are thick and long but don’t look very good. If all three come together you can imagine individually they are worth a great deal. At least, that’s what I’m told.

I get my hair cut once a month or so. Since it tends to grow quickly, there’s usually a lot of it on the floor. Even a careless glance tells me that there are thousands of dollars lying there waiting to be swept up.

That’s not only a lot of money, but also a lot of protein, which is what hair is made of. Since we’re always trying to cram protein into our bodies, I don’t know what the fuss is about when someone finds a hair in his spaghetti. But I digress.

It could be, of course, that some people would find the hair of Justin Bieber to be more desirable than mine. I’m thinking these would be the younger crowd — the prepubescent, preadolescent, preteen group, all or most of them girls. They seem to make up the bulk of Mr. Bieber’s hysterical fans.

I expect more from the slightly older generation — the post-retired, post-arthritic and pre-senile group, most of them women since most of the men at that age level are already dead. I’m talking 60-plus here. That’s my group. At least, they’re the ones I hear from most often, God bless them!

Perhaps I should float some other part of me on eBay just to see what kind of offers I might get. Yesterday, for example, I had my fingernails cut. I suspect there’s someone out there who would want to spend top dollar for one of my fingernails. They belonged to the fingers that used to hand write and type this erudite and vastly entertaining column.

Here’s an even better idea. Three months ago, driving up from St. John’s, I had a kind of accident. I knew nothing about it until, while getting me ready for bed, my worker went to take off my sock and let out a scream.

“My God! What have you done to yourself?”

Not a lot anymore, especially when I’ve been sitting in a wheelchair for six hours locked in to the floor of my van. But when I asked her what she meant, she held up a trembling hand. It was covered in blood!

“So, what’s wrong?

“I’m afraid to look!”

This worker is one to recover quickly from an initial shock, so she got up enough nerve to gingerly remove the sock, expecting to find at least a starving weasel in the bottom of it. She discovered that, somehow, some way, I had succeeded in practically tearing off the toenail on my big toe. It was quite a mess.

I realized just how much of a mess when our unflappable LPN friend across the street came over to have a look and said, “Oh my God!”

The doctor in the emergency room didn’t say anything along those lines, or at least not with that much intensity. Finally, he asked how I had done that and I told him, quite truthfully, that I didn’t have a clue. He gave me a strange look. Then he said he would have to finish removing it. After a few moments at work, he paused and asked if he was hurting me. I said, quite truthfully, no. He gave me another strange look.

I would have gone on all night playing the stoic patient with the impossibly high pain threshold, except he looked up at me and said, “You’re paralyzed, aren’t you.” I replied, quite truthfully, “I am.”

When it was done, he held up the bloody mass which looked as though it had just come off the guillotine, and asked if I would like to keep it as a souvenir. I gave him a strange look.

At that time, I knew nothing of the Bieber sale. Had I known, I would have brought the thing home, cleaned it up, put it in a jeweler’s ring box and ensconced it in the deep freeze. Then I would have advertised it on eBay and waited for the offers to roll in.

I’m thinking we have just begun to scratch the surface of what could be an extremely lucrative hobby. Hair and nails are a renewable resource, after all, which is more than you can say for White Rose or Hibernia.

I really don’t see why the hair on one person’s head should be more valuable than the hair on another’s. It really has nothing to do with the kind of person you are or the skills you have. Unless, I suppose, you’re Sampson of biblical fame. His strength was in his hair, it seems, but I doubt that Justin’s singing voice is in his.

Or am I missing something here? I should point out the proceeds from Justin’s hair were given to charity.

I have problems about what makes one of us more important than the other. Fame is fleeting. Importance is transitory.

It’s hair today and gone tomorrow.

Ed Smith is an author who lives in Springdale. His email address is

Organizations: EBay

Geographic location: White Rose, Springdale

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