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Posted: December 25, 2009 12:00 a.m.

Pecan Pie for the Mind: The last hair style I'll ever need

I've had only a few hairstyles in my entire 49 years. As a grade-schooler - during the heyday of the hippies - I was saddled with the classic barbershop buzz-cut. Even though I was only in the first grade as the "Summer of Love" commenced, I sensed something violently wrong with my shorn locks. So, I pleaded and begged, and by sixth grade, I had convinced my parents that a few less "inches off the top" and a "groovy" sideburn or two wouldn't corrupt our good family name. By middle school, I was sporting a greasy mop, sideburns (actually, just two long streaks of hair pulled in front of my ears), and - get this - plaid bell-bottom pants, courtesy of the Sears catalog and my wonderful aunt. This anti-establishment look lasted until I discovered daily baths, girls and the blow-dryer.

Was there ever a more unmanly device than the blow-dryer? During high school, I traded in my greasy look for the wind-swept style-of-the-day - one epitomized by teen idol David Cassidy. I shampooed daily, parted my hair down the middle, and even feathered the sides back with my fancy Sears blow-dryer-with-the-built-in-comb-attachment. The blow-dryer was also a gift from my aunt. Her husband worked for Sears.

Hairstyles change, and right after college, mine changed again. I had a wonderful friend who made killer cheesecake, and who cut my hair for free. She taught me some new styling techniques with a brush and a fancy blow-dryer she bought from a more exotic place than Sears. Soon, I was parting my hair on the side in a look that lasted for most of my adult life. My hairstyle was working nicely until the Grim Reaper introduced me to "male pattern baldness."

Now, with only a few, brave follicles remaining, I've been forced to give my current hairstylist a drastic request: "Just comb what's left straight back, but please don't make me look like a televangelist." And so, I've adopted my final hairstyle. My wife says she can see the change, but she's a saint and can't be trusted. I didn't really think there was enough hair to notice until one of my waitress friends said, "You look different today." A tiny tear formed in my right eye. "Oh, it must be my new hairstyle," I said slowly, shoving the Grim Reaper hard to the mat. Life was good again, and somewhere up in blow-dryer heaven, a little Sears-brand angel finally got his wings. Merry Christmas to all.

David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Conyers, can be reached at

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