Saturday, March 28, 2009

Hair Block

I have a friend who has no hair. He may shave it, or it may be genetic baldness--we've never really talked about it. He always wears a hat on his head, sometimes a baseball hat, sometimes a knit cap. What with the dark circles under his eyes, and his perpetual five o'clock shadow, he looks pretty thuggish.

He's on my mind this weekend because on April 6 he has to appear in King County Superior Court on a Burglary 2 charge. He's told me it's a case of mistaken identity. There doesn't seem to be any proof he did it, other than some witnesses from a dark night who confronted him on a different street in a different neighborhood over a year ago, but it's going to trial anyhow. I want to advise him to wear not just his knit cap, but a crash helmet when he appears before the judge. My friend is a such good-hearted soul, well-meaning and sincere, but his appearance says otherwise.

As often as we've heard the saying "don't judge a book by it's cover," it's what we rely on in our everyday lives. For instance, when I originally told my friend Jo about my hairpisodes blog, she said: "Oh, I've got one for you. Did I ever tell you about the time I got called for jury duty?"

"When was this?"

"When I lived in Boston. There was no way I had the time to get snagged into one of those trial things. So before I went down there I punked out my hair. I really did a number on it. I spiked it and dyed it--you should have seen it when I got through. My God, it looked just awful. Needless to say, I didn't get called to serve on a jury. All the lawyers had to do was take one look at me and they let me go."

I don't think my friend who's going to trial next week could pull off something like Jo did. Short of investing in a toupe, there's little hope for his hair anyhow. He plays it straight all the time, is painfully honest, and there's an air about him of someone who is lost, trying to find his way in a world where he's been overlooked. Without the hat, my friend's smooth, caramel-colored skull looks naked and startling, as vulnerable as a newborn babe's. I just hope and pray no harm comes to him. Please keep him in your thoughts on April 6.

Added April 26: Twenty days later, after many delays and postponements, the trial has yet to begin. A group of people have written letters to the court testifying to our friend's good character--there's now a rumor the charges will be dropped. Here's hoping.

Added May 5: Whoooeee! Charges dismissed. The judge read the letters, in other words, stopped judging the book by its cover and looked inside. Now my friend can get on with his life.