New Year's Guide 2008

Not quite, but almost. By now, I only had a few weeks to go until January 1: shearing day. With the end so near, I was actually able to enjoy my hair for the first time in months. One morning I discovered that I could toss it from side to side like Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And on December 31, I let the girls do something they'd been begging me to let them do for months: straighten my hair. Afterward, Deb said I could have passed for a double of Chris Elliott in Scary Movie 2. Talk about every man's dream.

Deb had been telling anyone who'd listen that she was going to grab me at 12:01 a.m. on New Year's Day and cut everything in sight — a remark usually accompanied by what struck me as humor-free nods to Lorena Bobbit. But she eventually agreed to get a good night's sleep beforehand, knowing she'd need to be alert to do the job. And it's a good thing she did, since the task's degree of difficulty soon rose precipitously.

I'd long wanted to donate my leavings to Locks of Love, a Florida-based charity that makes wigs for children who've suffered medical hair loss, thinking that this gift would make my stunt seem altruistic, not massively self-indulgent. To my chagrin, occasional measurements en route suggested that my hair would fall short of the organization's ten-inch minimum length. But when I plucked several hairs from my head on New Year's Day, I was thrilled to discover that they were a quarter- to a half-inch longer than necessary. So instead of simply going over my head with her electric clippers, Deb would have to snip off several ponytails as close to my scalp as possible and then try to even everything up afterward.

The entire process took over two hours, and she did an incredible job. Lora and Ellie, as well as Nick, who was back home for winter break, couldn't believe how much younger I looked, and neither could I. (Take that, Albert Einstein.) Of course, my balding patch was on display for all to see. But somehow, admitting what was happening on my head was now a lot easier than it had been the year before.

Today, I still use the shampoo and conditioner from a care package sent by Aveda. And although I never got brave enough to try the additional styling products — I eventually included them in a care package for soldiers in Iraq, who need relaxing balm a lot more than I do — I still think Shelley and Kueffner would be proud of me. I've finally come to terms with the stuff on top of my head, and all it took was keeping the dumbest New Year's resolution of my life.

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