White Hair

Contributor: Christopher James

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Day one.

A white hair.

“Hello, you little bugger. What are you doing there?”

White hair is removed.

Day two.

Two white hairs.

“Oh, I see. I suppose you think you’re being funny. Well, two can play at that game.”

White hairs, plural, removed.

Day three.

Four offenders.

“Christ. This is getting beyond a joke.”

Offenders taken out back and shot.

Day four.

Eight glaring reminders of old age.

“You’re like the dragons in Dungeons and Dragons. Except you’re hairs. I should warn you. I was a dab hand at D&D, back in the day.”

Eight glaring reminders of old age, lying in a row in the bathroom sink.

Day five.


“For fuck’s sake.”

My wife – “Stop pulling them out. Every time you pull one out, two more grow in its place.”

“You’re right.”

Sixteen white hairs removed.

Day six.


Not going to pull them out today, no matter what. By end of day, after a few close shaves (bittersweet pun intended), thirty-two hairs remain. Hopefully the situation will not develop.

Day seven.


“What the hell?”

My wife – “You’re getting old.”

“Getting... something.”

Stare in the mirror for a long time. Face looks worse than it used to. Grow frustrated.

Sixty four white hairs removed. Countless brown hairs are innocent casualties in this senseless war. We mourn their loss, more than they will ever know.

Week two.

A short fortnight after hostilities began, devastation has been wreaked. Every brown hair on my head has been replaced by white. People at work are ignoring me. Work is going to others. It doesn’t go unnoticed that the people being asked to write reports that I used to write have coloured hair. I’m embarrassed to buy dye from the chemist, so I ask my wife to. Then I’m embarrassed to use it.

Week three.

Fallout has reached a critical stage. Without work, I’m reduced to aimlessness. Far too much time to ponder old age. Will work replace me? This is the curse of white hair. Can feather it no longer. Dye hair. Have to put up with a few jokes, but effect is overridingly positive. Feel better. Reports are coming back to me. This is a good week.

Week four.

Dye doesn’t work. White hairs return. Work and self-esteem fall away. Try different dyes – none of them are strong enough to fight the white. This calls for drastic measures. Someone on internet recommends illegal product, only available through illicit manoeuvres. Manoeuvres undertaken. Product arrives.

Week five.

All hair gone. Destroyed by product.

Called into meeting with boss next week. He may sack me. Bald. Bald. Bald. This is terrible.

Have never felt so low.

Week six.

Single white hair returns.

Brings with it... hope.

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Christopher James lives in Jakarta, Indonesia.
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