It seems my immersion in front-line activism led me into an accidental invention of a new style.
No more awkward middle-length hair, no more hair cuts, masking my immense bulging bare forehead, or trying to “add body” to my wispy-thin, easily-oily hair. Never before have I had a dread, nor ever do I need another option for this dead stuff that emerges from my skull.
A novel solution for male pattern baldness, combined with not wanting to cut one’s hair often, is a top knot one never takes out. As with the vow of the Bodhisattva, or the life of a samurai, there is no going back. As with an awakening moment, of seeing one’s purpose in the blink of an eye—
I decided to put my hair up and sleep in Zuccotti park. I did not plan on what happened next, this growing antennae, ‘hippie horn’ or “beaver tail.” I slipped a feather in the hair-tie I kept there, one finds many on the sidewalks of Manhattan once one is looking and the feather stayed there too, still with me to this day.
There lies Zuccotti Park, a flat otherwise unremarkable plot right betwixt the Casino of Futures (Wall Street’s stock exchange) and the Panopticon’s Hoax (the Orwellian named “Freedom Tower”) being built at break-neck speed to replace the asbestos-ridden World Trade Center complex, with perpetual falling water left behind so we must “never forget” that some forces at the top found it necessary to sacrifice over 3,000 Americans and a million Iraqis to make this whole expensive Terror War believable— where we gathered in protest of such corrupt deception by the über-powerful.
I brought quite a few items of import with me into the community that perched itself as close as it could to the Powers that Be. My massage table. The Alex Grey poster of Gaia for which I built a custom frame. Statues of Green Tara and Kuan Yin. Portable chairs, a quality backpack, camcorders, art and so many items of relevance and potence in communicating the impossibly obvious. MLK’s “Where do we go from Here, Chaos or Community?” A little handcloth I would lay out on the cement before doing a headstand. Once my dread had formed, I found that I didn’t need it anymore— I had the cushion for my scalp and a portable mop for the sweat which so quickly forms and flows into my eyes or down my face, or else ends up on my sleeve or some disposable Koch-produced waste product that was once a forest or other woody habitat, typically. This thick patch of hair already proving useful…
When I first started residing between the stone benches, just under Joie de Vivre, I had just enough length for my strands to meet in the middle, near the pinnacle crown of my cranium. By the end of our nearly two month’s together, all of us who lived there were forever changed. Many of us affirmed in our life’s mission, to be part of a great Correcting Course, which must happen for humanity to survive much beyond this generation. The patterns of action we participate in are crucial, in setting the tone and tempo, making possible what must come to be, in order for those who come next to know how to proceed. The world is coming awake, aware of itself as an integral whole, and it is happening in our lifetime. OWS was an undeniable emergence of this global culture of compassion, truth and one human family, transcending the barriers, false binaries and staged battles that have kept us from our Destiny.
My lasting physical reminder of that time in the eye of the storm is this mono-dread of hair, now four years in length. Much thicker and more fun than what I have to work with otherwise. Little children, instead of pointing and saying “He’s Bald!” have much more pause and joy in their eyes, which often widen. In the past few years, I have had more people (mostly younger girls) come up to me and say, quite sincerely— “I love your hair!” and “That is the best ‘do I have ever seen!” It is rather hard to get people to admit they are looking at you, walking down the streets in NYC. But when I go with no top-covering, the full dread up in a loop or otherwise sticking up and prominent, I turn heads. Hipsters in clubs saying “Nice hat, man!” before realizing the actual situation going on up here on my head. Even a few older fellows looking as though they were wagering whether they could pull off this unique look themselves.
Now it tucks alongside my beard or folds discretely back when not in a more prominent placement. It has served as a means to hold and wrap as I go about life as the Nomad Professor, and I offer it as a practical playful solution to an otherwise “less than” attractive or ideal situation many men find themselves in.