Continuing the Hirsute Pursuit

Jeff Kramer won’t give up on his plea for hair

What a town this is! There are walks and runs for every imaginable malady and cause. There are pancake breakfasts, fish fries and bake sales. High school kids stand on corners, hawking car washes to pay for band trips and sports programs.

Yet when it comes to one lonely voice crying in a deforested wilderness of follicular impairment, Central New York’s response is barely concealed indifference.

We’re two weeks into my campaign to raise $8,500 for a life-altering anti-baldness procedure, and the grand total pledged locally stands at . . .  $30.50. That includes $5 from Terri, who works at the baldness clinic, and an $8.50 oral commitment from a waitress at Kitty Hoynes.

Way to step up, Central New York. Next time you need someone to rate gas station pizza, go ask Wayne Mahair.

Come on, people: You’re better than this.

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to get a consultation with the Great Dr. Kim of East Syracuse, and the news was good. Dr. Kim asserted that he could transplant 1,000 follicles from the back of my head to the top, using an amazing hand-held device that harvests the follicles individually.

In this way, the back of my head wouldn’t look like Route 20 through Morrisville, and my rebuilt hairline would have a pleasing, naturalistic look, bearing almost no resemblance to a Chia monkey. Confident, empowered, taller, I would stride into stockholders’ meetings and A-List parties, and I would own the room.

Me: Are you not seeing my replanted hair, Senator? We need an IKEA in Syracuse, and we need it now!

Senator Schumer: Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Jeff. I’m making it my top priority.

To prime the pump of giving, I offered readers — that means you — a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. For just $8.50, you could buy one of my transplanted follicles, and you could even name it. It would be like buying a star or commemorative brick, but deeply discounted. Fayetteville Free Library, for example, charges $50 per brick for its greenspace walkway.

Who walks away from such a deal? Imagine the buzz you’d experience if you ran into me and my luxuriant, smartly groomed new head of hair at one of my usual hangouts — the opera, the library or the Everson Museum of Art.

Ironic that a few out-of-towners seem to get it. One of my high school pals from Seattle combed through the fine print and didn’t waver.

“I’m going to sponsor one follicle, and name it Spartacus,” he announced on Facebook. He asked if he could pay the $8.50 in monthly installments. Sure thing, Dwight. Balders can’t be choosers.

C.P., another West Coast friend who is even more ravaged by The Scourge than I, pledged two follicles on the condition they be named “C” and “P”. He asked for updates on each. Was “P” showing “stalwart upward projection”? Did “C” look liked a “diseased salt potato sprout”?

Yet right here in my own backyard, where pride of ownership would be most deeply rooted, the response was sparse and gray — or completely dead.

“Might be cheaper to buy a hat,” one local reader, Bob, cruelly suggested.

Thanks, Bob. I hadn’t thought of that.

Better to focus on the few bright spots. A special shout-out goes to Andy Watkins, owner of Lakeland Winery, who pledged two follicles. Andy’s kind heart and generous spirit can be tasted in every delicious bottle he vints. It’s no surprise that he is among the tiny grove of benefactors waving in the chill winds of alopecia apathy.

It’s also no surprise that Lakeland Winery (and I apologize, Andy, that you’re just hearing about this now, but deadline snuck up on me with the long weekend) will be hosting a Follicle Fundraiser on my behalf. Haired and bared alike will come together to sip wine, share stories of anti-bald discrimination and pour cash into this important cause: reversing (my) male pattern baldness.

Unlike the follicles on the top of my head, I’m not giving up.

Sponsor a Kramer Follicle HERE


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