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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Guest Post: Enlarge Thy Baldness as the Eagle

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Dustin Peterson lives in Houston, Texas, with his supermodel wife and three extroverted kids. His days are consumed at Rice University molding the malleable minds of college students and preaching the doctrine of leadership development. His work focuses on becoming more authentic and self-aware, leading more effectively, and helping people figure out what to do with their lives and careers. Dustin enjoys changing diapers, eating bacon, and tending to his fourth child,, where he searches, ponders and writes about self-development and the art of leadership. You can contact him directly at thenewtonapple at Read Dustin's other guest posts here, here and here.

In Sunday School this past week we discussed the resurrection. As usual, the teacher began his lesson with a prompt, asking what the resurrection means to each of us. A few people shared insights about seeing loved ones again or being relieved of chronic pain, but my mind immediately went where it always goes – the day I get a reseeded dome. As a bald man, these lessons on the resurrection often mean more to me than to the average Gentile. “Not a hair of your head shall be lost” (Alma 11:44) brings hope to an otherwise shiny pate – in fact, I can almost feel my scalp tingling now as I think about it. Sure, no more scars or wrinkles, a reconstructed shoulder, and a realigned pinky (old Church ball incident) will be nice upgrades to the old corpus. But the true reward of the resurrection will be topside, where the sun shines brightly on my glowing peak.

I come from a long line of receding Danes. My grandfather used to say that he knew he was going bald when he didn’t know when to stop washing his face and start washing his hair. I, too, remember teasing my Dad, who was always good-natured about his glowing melon. When my time came, I initially felt insecure, but quickly got over it when I had children. My daughter has a heyday acknowledging my baldness and asking me rhetorical questions like, “do you enjoy not having any hair on your bald head, Dad?” You learn quickly to let the commentary roll off, like water on a slick surface (pun intended). I also gained comfort in my baldness when I realized I was joining an army of successful prophets, businessmen, and athletes, including the likes of Bruce Willis, Stephen Covey and Elmer Fudd. What’s more, vicious animals tend to side with bald men. Recall the story in 2 Kings of our ancient bald-headed leader, Elisha, who was departing Jericho on his way to Bethel when several boys from town followed him, harassing poor Elisha with jeers of “go up, thou baldhead,” repeated twice for emphasis. Two she-bears promptly appeared out of the woods and “tare forty and two children of them.” Baldheads: 1, Children: 0.

Despite my comfort with my lack of hair, I still long for the resurrection. I often ask my wife if she will be able to find me in the next life when my flowing, golden locks are replenished. Will she still be attracted to me when I’m curling my celestial mullet under and tending to my new mane for several hours a day? She often says that she loves me as a bald man, and may not want to have the hair restored. I’ve got news for you dear, the follicles they are a quiverin’!

But the real miracle of the “no-hair-left-behind” principle of the resurrection lies in the science of it – and herein lies sweet redemption for bald Saints the world over. You see, losing hair is a natural process that everyone experiences daily as a way of keeping your mop shiny and fresh. In fact, the typical person will lose 50-150 hairs per day! From birth to death, that could mean more than three million hairs restored to their former glory ... unless you’re a baldhead. We bald men have likely only lost around 900,000 hairs over the course of our lifetime. So when our hairs are replenished to the tune of a thick one million strong, the rest of mankind will be suffocating under the weight and sheer magnitude of more than three times that amount of hair. Like unshorn sheep, our hairy counterparts will be stumbling around the kingdom, disoriented and clumsy, while we formerly-bald men sit proudly on the hill, heating our manes in the sun, and calling out “Go up, thou bushy-headed!"

So be weary, my friends, of making a mockery of baldness, for “with what measure ye mete, it shall be meted unto you” (Mark 4:24). Between animal attacks in this life and scarce real estate on your dome in the next, you will find no glory in pitying the follicly-challenged. And to my fellow baldheads, who persistently cling to the hope of our creed in Alma 11:44, remember the words of my wife's grandfather: “God only made so many perfect heads; the rest he covered in hair.”

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