Somewhere in the Bible it says that God knows every hair on our heads. Comforting, it is, but I have to wonder — does he know about the freakishly long scary ones that appear out of nowhere in the most obscure places and continue to come back time and time again no matter how often we yank them out?
I could have sworn I got rid of it just last week, but there it was again — one lone hair at least an inch long, maybe even longer, sticking straight out of my lower forearm just above my bent elbow. Forget following the Presidential race or the economic fate of the world, I have more pressing things to think about. Rogue hairs.
“I call mine Marge,” an acquaintance revealed upon my asking if others had experienced this follicle phenomenon. “Actually, my husband named it,” she clarified, proceeding to tell the horror story of the single, extremely long, coarse blonde hair that grows out of the side of her neck. She first discovered it about two years ago and promptly yanked it out. It came back ... again ... then again.
“Every month or so my husband will say, ‘Marge is back’ and I go pull her out. But she always comes back,” she says with a strange, almost glazed, look in her eyes. “Always.”
As she talked she rubbed the side of her neck. “You don’t see anything, do you?” she asked and I honed in for a closer look. “Nope, no Marge,” I answered, self-consciously glancing down at my own elbow. No hair there either. Whew.
But I know not to rest on my hairless elbow laurels - I know that at any given moment I can look down and there it will be ... appearing out of thin air ... like Silly String ... mocking me.
It’s comforting to know there are others like myself who suffer from a rogue hair. Luckier than many I have heard about, in an emergency situation I can cover mine up with a sleeve or even long gloves. (Nevermind I don’t actually own long, over the elbow opera gloves.) Some people I’ve talked to have rogue hairs that come out of their forehead, the tip of their nose, the side of their face, their shoulder, their chin, belly button, even their kneecap.
“My husband’s mother has one that grows out of the back of her heel,” another friend confided. “It was so long once it got tangled in the strap of her sandal.”
I was speechless.
There are theories to why these single hairs crop up overnight. One such conspiracy is that they are rebellious hairs that have escaped from your head and are running for their lives away from the constant pressures of hair dryers and constant tugging. This actually makes sense when you think of all the balding men who still have hair on their backs. Hmmmm.
“Have you named yours?” Marge’s owner asked as we wrapped up our conversation. No, never thought to name it, I answered. It’s never around long enough to get attached to.
“You should… is it male or female?” she asked and I secretly wished I had never even brought up the conversation. She was beginning to creep me out.
“Abigail ... or Frances ... or Harry ...,” she said as I began to ease myself away. “Harry would be so cute!”
I think I will suffer in silence from now on ... keep my questions to myself. No need to share such things with other people, really. I’ll just continue to keep checking my elbow and hope I find my rogue hair and pull it out before it gets caught in a door or scares small children.
Gloves. I need long gloves.
Contact columnist Mandy Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.