Hey Mel. Is that your head, or were you attacked by parasitic alien honeydew melons with a high-gloss finish?” When I was a kid, I enjoyed Buddy’s attacks on Mel on The Dick Van Dyke Show. My carefree laughter at poor bald Mel clearly demonstrated that I was blissfully ignorant of my horrific future fate.
It started in my 30s. A few hairs came out in my comb, and I heard ominous string music. “Probably just routine follicle failure,” I thought. Months passed. There were much bigger clumps of hair in my comb, and the ominous music sounded like a bad Japanese sci-fi movie before some guy gets attacked by a radioactive squash from outer space.
I began to panic. I considered drastic measures. Implants. Weaves. Moving to Antarctica and living as an ice floe. I quickly became a devotee of late night infomercials featuring treatments for baldness.
There was the Amazing Sauerkraut-Based Scalp Elixir. You see, it targets specific growth enzymes that naturally occur in everyone’s scalp, releasing the potent forces of nature to transform the bleakest head into a powerful hair-growing dynamo. And it came with an attractive Naugahyde travel case.
There was the Remedial Hair Gang for Men which featured such satisfied luminaries as Paul Shaffer, Steven Wright and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew. For a fee, I would receive a personal consultation with a hair-growth counselor painstakingly trained in nutritional analysis and ornamental Mexican tile placement.
But the one I finally opted for was the Willard Scott Ultimate Toupee of Death. You see, the Toupee of Death is constructed with 500 trillion titanium alloy fibers which can withstand a 50-megaton detonation at the Los Alamos testing grounds. And its texture is soft and cuddly like a chinchilla.
It comes with a special polymer compound which holds fast even in a grade three hurricane. And the best part, the announcer said, is that if you call in the next 15 minutes, there are only 12 easy payments of $129.95 conveniently billed to your Visa or Mastercard.
I was skeptical at first until Willard, who for some reason looked more like Drew Carey, swore a solemn oath in his own blood that if my life wasn’t transformed into rapturous bliss by his product, he would come to my home, apologize, commit ritual suicide with a garden implement of my choice, and impose a curse of dishonor upon all his descendants unto the very last generation. Well heck, that was good enough for me.
A week later my package arrived. With great awe and reverence, I lovingly opened the cardboard box. Inside was a Brillo pad, a roll of Scotch tape and a note which read: “Sucker. Cordially, your pal, Willard Scott.”
I was fuming. I decided right then and there I wasn’t even going to consider the Toupee of Death extended service contract and creme rinse for $159.95 unless they gave me a damn good explanation.
Then, as I was composing a hilarious Letterman-style top ten list of flesh-eating bacteria I would like to attack Willard Scott’s intestines (because laughter has great healing properties in times of tragedy), I had a bizarre spiritual awakening. A honeydew melon sitting on a table appeared to disintegrate and change form. It was the bald head of Richard Deacon, the actor who portrayed Mel on The Dick Van Dyke Show.
He said: “Look, Larry. Sooner or later you have to face reality. The fact is you are bald.” I turned ghostly pale as the veneer of my denial began to crack.
“I don’t know if I’d go that far. I might be thinning a little on top.”
“The ball in Times Square has more hair than you! We’re talking Bonneville Salt Flats!” he screamed.
I began to weep uncontrollably. “I am! I am bald! Oh my dear God! The humanity!”
“There, there,” Richard said. “You’ve taken the first step to recovery.”
“Yes, I have. Haven’t I? I feel like a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders.”
“It’s your 50-pound Gene Shalit toupee! Ha ha.”
“Ha ha,” I responded. “So, what now?” I asked.
“Well, I represent a consortium of Tibetan Buddhists who have developed a meditation technique guaranteed to re-energize your scalp. You see, each hair follicle has a spiritual dimension. Would you like to look at a pamphlet?…”