May 25, Buenos Aires, Capital Federal, Argentina

            I've been sick for the last several days, some sort of sinus infection, cold, whatever.  I'm trying to remember the Forest Gump line; "ya got the cough do the cold thang??" and I think that's about it.  I guess I'm a little more accustomed to spending the day breathing fresh air on the highway and now I'm on the second floor of an apartment-building in a particularly crowded barrio of a very large city, with an appropriately proportionate amount of road dust and smog from the busy intersections below.  Even with the windows closed there's a fair amount of that road scum that ends up in my apartment.  I don't feel that bad, just a little worn down with that cold sort of tightness in my chest and sinus pain that may require antibiotics if it gets worse.

            May 25th is huge here - it's their 4th of July, or Independence Day, thanks to an Argentinean man of history, General Jose San Martin, who was largely responsible for independence of Argentina, Chile, Peru and several others in South America so I'm sure there'll be many statues of him doing the 'man on a horse' pose.  They usually celebrate these holidays by having family parties instead of large parades and fireworks.  Either way I missed it all and hopefully there'll be something good this weekend.  My camera has been serviced and I can tell a huge difference.  It costs about $40 US and back home it costs more like $90, which is why I've never had my camera serviced in the past.  It was well worth it.  It functions like new again so I need to get out and start pointing it at stuff.  My motorcycle is being worked on and hopefully Monday I'll see a dramatic improvement with that as well...

            Haircut?  I haven't had one since I quit my job and I probably won't get one soon, but a couple of people asked.  I bought a beard trimmer because I don't like finding old food and birds nesting in there.  I would almost consider cutting my bangs and the sides to keep the hair out of my eyes but then I'd be left with a mullet and Dog The Bounty Hunter is one of the only men left who can pull that off.  The other one is Gordon G, soon to be famous author...

            I thought long and hard about the hair-cut thing one day while I was on the road, before anybody asked about my grooming; one of the many "helmet thoughts" kind of days when I think about something long and hard; family, friends, college, different jobs, other peoples jobs, future jobs, past, future, and it all happens when I'm "in the now" on a highway going somewhere between 30 and 90mph depending on conditions.  I remembered two pertinent 'hair' things: a little girl I met when I was a drug rep, and beauticians always say I have great hair.

            The beauticians always told me that women would kill to have my hair and I sort of hoped they meant while it was still on my head, or that they wanted me because my hair is allegedly so great, but they always meant that women wanted hair like mine because it was a great color and very fine but thick at the same time.  They called it strawberry blonde and I always made the same dumb joke insisting that they call it something more manly, like "chainsaw blonde" or "monster truck blonde."  Actually, wait, that joke was brilliant!!

            The other pertinent thing about hair was meeting a little girl at a pediatric outpatient unit I visited when I was peddling insulin as a pharmaceutical rep.  I was waiting to talk about insulin with the medical practitioners in the pediatric diabetes unit next door.  While wandering around the waiting area I almost ran into this little girl and said “excuse me pretty lady”.  She looked angry about that statement and mumbled something about not being pretty.  I couldn’t understand exactly what she said but it was clear what she meant and it stopped me quick.

            She was about 9 years old and I assume she had an appointment with the pediatric cancer unit.  Her hair was mostly gone, patchy at best, and she looked like the true embodiment of fear and anger of a little girl going through chemo-therapy.  I’m usually not very argumentative, especially with people I don’t know and especially with random 9 year old girls, but this little girl really needed a fight, or at least another point of view.

            After she mumbled, whatever, about not being pretty I just looked at her and said “hey pretty girl, I’m in my 30’s which is waaay older than you and maybe even older than your parents.  I’ve been looking at pretty girls pretty much my whole life and between us that pretty much makes me the expert on pretty girls; that’s what I see right now.” 

            She didn’t say anything but rubbed her head and just looked frustrated.  I just said “it totally doesn’t matter if you’re having a bad hair day, or even a bad hair year, pretty girl.”  She just sort of looked at me in a way that I can’t describe. 

            This brief interaction took place while she was on the way to or from something else, like visiting her doctor or going home after a visit and after our brief dialogue her name was called, by her mom I think, and she sort of waved as she left but still looked somewhere between angry, confused, surprised and wondering 'who is this guy in the suit telling me I'm pretty'.  It was only a brief interaction but it was one of the two or three most memorable moments I had as a pharmaceutical rep; immediately after which I found a bathroom stall and wept like a true monster-truck blonde.  I found myself wondering about other things I wanted to say to this little girl to make her feel better, questioning whether I should have stopped her and said more.  But since I knew nothing about her or her situation it was probably best to just wave back and let her go on with her day, so that was it.

            I guess part of the reason I'm thinking about this now is that I recently learned about a friend of mine back from Connecticut, Tom T., who passed away from cancer last week after a 7-8 year fight.  That pretty much sucks because Tom was a great man of integrity and I hate seeing the world lose one of those.  But I remember that Tom got married while he was beginning treatment; he had undergone some exploratory operations and was bald for the wedding but it didn't matter because he married a great girl, Angie, and had a wonderful family and friends there for the wedding and it was a good celebration.  But it's different for a kid, especially a little girl.

            Okay, anyway, as far as my haircut?  I'm keeping it for now because there's this little program called "Locks of Love" and I think there are more just like it - they use the hair from actual donors to make prosthetic hair pieces for kids undergoing cancer treatment that results in hair issues, or have a hair loss disease called 'alopecia areata'.  So sometime shortly after my trip there'll be some kid out there running around with a head full of "chainsaw blonde" hair, hopefully being all happy about it, and that's the motivation for my continued hair growth. 

            It doesn't just have to me mine; anybody with great hair, guy or gal, that wants to make a kid happy - just let it grow!  If you're a Corporate American Dilbert, like I've been from time to time, don't worry about it!  If Human Resources or your manager mention that your hair is getting too long for this particular organization just tell them what it's for, because the "PC" notion of making sick kids without hair happy and more self confident will immediately trump any sort of dress code or grooming standard of any company in America! 

            So go forth and grow!!

            And if it doesn't work and you get fired, buy a motorcycle and ride south 'till the road ends, then turn around and find the best route home...