They were curly. They were jet black. They were about 4inches in length when stretched. At the tender age of ten I was quickly able to manipulate their direction by harnessing the power of the Comb; and so, like sheep to a shepherd they obeyed my every command. Back then I could boast having over a billion in my possession. Now I have barely a million left. What happened? Was this some kind of curse? Was this the evil work of my arch-enemy, Genetics? Today the silence is broken as I embark on a quest to discover what really happened to the follicles that once crowned my fertile scalp.
From my second year at primary school I was the Lord of the Afro. I had a few worthy competitors but none could keep theirs as rounded and silky-soft like mine. I understand now why girls spent a long time in the bathrooms. I would admire my curly black locks and think, ‘Mirror Mirror on the wall/ Whose is the fullest fro of them all?’ And my imaginary response from the mirror was, ‘Yo dawg! You sport the meanest, bad-ass, afro on the f***ing planet!’. However, something went terribly wrong in my sixth year. It was an accident at the barbershop and it was an experience that I will never forget.
After school one fateful day I was escorted by mum to the guillotine. How I wish it was my head that was chopped off – that would have been quick and pretty painless. I sat in the black leather chair and watched as the female hairstylist cleaned the clippers she planned to execute my beloved possession. I remember my mum giving her specific instructions: ‘Make it low but not too low’. Ok, perhaps this could be likened to the How long is a piece of string – dilemma. It was a conspiracy and I think my mum and the hairstylist were in on it together. The mirror was so high up that I couldn’t see what the f*** she was doing. She was having some mindless gossip session with her colleague and I just watched chunks of fluffy black follicles rain down before my eyes…and the chunks got smaller and smaller until…my mum eventually came to my late rescue shouting, ‘WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY SON?’ I went from Gary Coleman to ‘Scary Old-man’ in 10mins flat. My mum said it wasn’t that bad but when I beheld the horror in the mirror I looked pretty much like…a dick, to be brutally honest. I found one of my dad’s golf caps and I tried it on to hide my baldness – now I looked like a dick with a cap on.
The next day at school would be a real test of my guts. Could I get away with wearing a cap throughout the day without being confronted by any of the teachers about it? Fat chance. I barely made it through the first hour of Mathematics when the teacher told me to take my cap off. I hesitated. He repeated it and promised to flog the living daylights out of me if I didn’t (and believe me, that guy could flog a dead horse back to life). I slowly reached for my cap and I after I took it off nobody really paid attention to the Long Division Technique on the blackboard. My classmates were jeering and pointing at my perspiring, glowing head. I don’t think I looked at anybody in the face for more than 3seconds that day. I didn’t go for recess, but that didn’t help. Some just stayed back to pick on me even more. I was called all sorts of names. It was the giggling and whispering amongst the girls that really pissed me off. I was a 4ft walking microphone…with arms.
Alas, my tale is far from over. My head would not remain a shiny, opaque crystal ball forever. My hair would grow back like Samson in the bible (and then I‘d push the pillars of my school building apart so that the concrete came crashing down on all those who mocked me!!! – nah, not really). I would regain my crown and join the big leagues again with Soul4Real, Craig Mack, Undercover Brother and The Nutty Professor…