Ever been at the zoo, and you start tormenting the gorilla with taunts such as, “Hey, hairball!”? Suddenly, he turns around, and you realize it’s Doug, your next-door neighbor, the one with the excessive hair problem.
I don’t have to tell you how embarrassing that can be. I usually scoot out from under some of the shame by saying something incredibly witty such as, “I bet you don’t think I know it was you, huh, Doug? Well, I did. A gorilla has a lot more hair than you, Doug. Ha, ha, ha!”
After he beats me severely, we both seem to feel better. Still, guys like Doug are probably troubled by this excessive hair thing. I bet they lie awake at night, wondering what type of genetic abnormality has caused the problem, and whether that’s the pillow under their head, or just a neglected clump of ear hair.
Luckily for guys like that, help is on the way. And not a moment too soon, according to their significant others. Many say they are growing just a teensy bit weary of having to clear the bathtub drain with a weed-whacker every morning.
From the Associated Press: “New York—Scientists have located an abnormal gene that makes some men so hairy, they have been called werewolves, a finding that could be a step toward new treatments for baldness.”
The findings were released in a recent edition of Native Genetics, a magazine that deals with the genetic and molecular structure of life itself, which once turned down my proposal for a cartoon entitled “My Wacky Chromosome.”
The story says that only about 50 documented cases of the most severe form of superhairiness have been reported since the Middle Ages. (For those of you who spent your days during history class goofing off, the Middle Ages came between the Left Ages and Right Ages.)
“Some people with the disorder have been displayed in circuses, and called ‘dog men’ or ‘ape men,’ as well as ‘human werewolves,’” the researchers said.
Oddly, they said, there is no record of such put-downs as, “Hey, I bet when you brush your teeth, you really brush your teeth!”; or “Whew, pretty hot day to be wearing that raccoon coat, huh, buddy?”
The condition is known scientifically as “generalized hypertrichosis.” Nearly all victims are men. Animals such as collies and grizzly bears may also be affected, I believe.
For men, the affliction can cause great difficulties with day-to-day activities, and can add a lot of time onto the most routine tasks.
Man without generalized hypertrichosis steps from shower, dries off, brushes teeth, gets dressed, goes to work.
Man with generalized hypertrichosis steps from shower, blow-dries back, loses toothbrush in leg hair, starts combing hair, workday over, goes back to bed, fluffs up ear hair, goes to sleep.
Researchers say the gene responsible for one documented case “lies within a particular portion of the X chromosome.” A chromosome is one of the microscopic strands that carry genes, or the silver stuff that makes your car bumper real shiny. I forget which.
Scientists said that further studies of the genes might give clues for treating baldness. Currently, as you know, the available treatments for balding are limited to:
• Wearing the hair of another man that has been shoveled off a barber’s floor. This is called a toupee or hairpiece—or, “Look Mom! That guy has a weasel sleeping on his head.”
• Wearing a baseball cap, backward. Advantage: It’s cheaper than a toupee, and looks more like your own hair. Disadvantage: It can cut off circulation to the brain, your mind goes blank, and you tend to overuse words such as “dude” and “fer sure.”
• Having a “doctor” drill holes in your head, and stuff other guys’ hair into the holes. Drawback: You frighten young girls who think your head looks just like their Barbie doll’s scalp.
Personally, my favorite solution is that black-colored hair spray with the miniscule fiberglass fibers.
Consider the source here, but I always prefer the solution that creates the biggest laugh. Doug agrees.
Bye for now.