Understand this: Hands are the enemy. All hands. I never realized how often people touched each other until I stopped being bald. My sister thinks I should have known about the touching part . She thinks I should have known a lot of things.Hair has changed me. I won't deny that. Women complain that I don't close my eyes during sex. They want me to relax, to cherish the rake of their nails across my scalp.
I want to tie their wrists to the bedposts. My secret is guarded well. Since procuring my first hairpiece 28 months ago, the only people to see my pate in all its shine and glory are the gregarious fitters at the House of Maurice in downtown Akron, Ohio. I'm determined to keep it that way.
Understand something else: I am well aware of the pettiness of my vanity. There are problems in this world much greater than my fear of discovery. Ask the cosmonauts up on Mir. Ask those kids running from machetes in Africa. Ask Julie, my anorexic sister with the gray teeth and hands like ice. She can tell you about problems.
4 OTHER LESSONS MY HAIR HAS TAUGHT ME:
1. Surprise is bad---avoid it at all costs.
2. Wear ball caps on windy and/or rainy days.
3. Avoid rebounding duels with aggressive basketball opponents.
4. Decline all invitations to parties that include a reminder (usually in friendly, rounded cursive) to bring swimming trunks.
Julie will tell you all fault for my obsession lies on the head of Earl Godfry, the man who set me on the path to wigdom. Earl is a broadcast headhunter, the best in the Midwest, and he's the person I sent my demo reel to when I first tried to make the jump from Akron to a bigger market. Earl said he liked my tape, that my relationship with the camera made up for my mush-mouthed delivery. He also said my forehead looked like it stretched to the backs of my heels.
"TV's a young business," he told me. "Especially sports. You need to look young, virile. How old are you, anyway? 33? 34?"
I told him I was 26.
The piece was Earl's idea. Say what you want about him. Say, like my sister, that he's no different from a crack dealer handing out freebies to a 7th grader. Say he manipulated my basic need to be hairy. But note this: In the two years that followed Earl's review of my demo reel, I've moved from hosting "Prep Round-Up" at Newscenter 8 in Akron to anchoring weekend sports in Little Rock, Ark., to where I am now: the youngest weekday sports anchor in the Denver metropolitan area. If you ask me, I owe Earl a lot more than the Super Bowl tickets I've promised him.
3 OTHER PEOPLE MY SISTER BLAMES FOR MY INSECURITY:
1. Leonard Adler, my father. Divorced Mom when I was 11. Moved to Montana when I was 13. See him once or twice a year, but it's like having dinner with an Amway rep.
2. Marjorie Adler, my mother. Never remarried or, as far as I know, had sex again.
3. Angie Reidhimer, Kappa Kappa Gamma. Said my large forehead made me look "distinguished," then dumped me for a TA with hair like Jon Bon Jovi.
I'm waiting in the sports office for the 5 o'clock promo when the newsroom buzzes in with a phone call. It's my sister in Columbus. Julie and I talk a lot more now that she's been admitted into the Eating Disorders Clinic at Parkway Hospital. Or, as she calls it, Auschwitz. "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here," and all that crap.
I can tell right away Julie is excited about something, despite the sedatives they're giving her to encourage weight gain. Julie tells me she has gained 1 pound, 12 ounces in the past week, but she says that's not the exciting part. What's exciting, she says, is that the Nazis have returned her VCR privileges and she's finally seen the tape of the show I did during sweeps week, the one where I jumped from a Cessna 150 strapped to the underside of a skydiver named Gunther.
"I can't believe it," she tells me. "Even the Nazis were laughing. They kept saying, `I can't believe that's your brother.'
"I've done some outrageous things on camera. I did an entire show while water skiing; I sparred with a boxer named Bonecrusher Smith; I stood perfectly still while a world champion dart thrower pierced the cigar sticking out of my mouth. But this latest stunt, billed by the station as the "world's first midair sports broadcast," is without a doubt my finest to date. A sky-diver with a camera bolted to his helmet captured the whole plunge. He hovered in front of Gunther and me like a window washer and I could see my teeth flashing in the lens of his camera while I shouted lines like, "When I left the plane, Greg Norman held a four-stroke lead over Phil Mickelson in the World Series of Golf."