Monday, November 07, 2005

Red on the Head...

DAY: Monday
SITCOM IDEA: Sewer Squad! Three sewer workers in New York City spend their days cleaning the filters, grates, and screens of the sewer system. They gather enigmatic objects caught in the filtering system, and solve mysteries connected to them by night. Two women and one man. There should be a love-triangle-sexual-tension thing, and maybe a sewer monster or two.
WISH FOR THE WEEK: For my tooth to stop hurting my face.

In case you haven’t tuned in to the bed head pics, I’ll tell you right now that I’m a redhead. I want to talk a bit about that.

I learned recently that redheads have a higher tolerance for pain than anyone else on the planet. Apparently, the gene that makes us have red hair, also messes with our pain receptors, and lessens the signals of pain to our brains.

I know why. If you have red hair, you know why, too. We need the extra protection from pain because our hair is red. That the gene that turns our hair from brunette to our crazy, fiery mix comes with a defense mechanism for what pain it will cause, is just, perfect, and goes a long way in proving the Intelligent Design Theory.

From the time I can remember being around other kids, I can remember being singled-out because of my hair color. I’ve heard it all: Redheaded stepchild. (wha?) Red on the Head Like a Dick on a Dog. (that’s my personal favorite. Love it.) There’s everyone’s all-time favorite, ‘Red’. That one used to piss me off more than any of the others.


On the playground, did any adult ever call to another child by the color of their hair? “Hey, Blonde!” Nope. Not ever. Let me just tell one story today, about growing up Red.

I was in a fistfight with a substitute teacher in the 6th grade. I punched him in the face several times, after grabbing a handful of his shirt, and pulling myself up to his level. He didn’t tear me off without tearing out some of his greasy hair, either.

He asked me to pick up some social studies workbooks off people’s desks like this; “Hey, Red, go around and pick up the workbooks.”

I sat in my chair. Now, this was the sixth grade. I was 12. I’d had a good eight years of ostracism and weirdness. I’d been called Red and worse, thousands of times by that time. In fact, I’ll sidestep just a foot or two to tell you about the first experience with being fucked-with about my red hair by an adult. It’s a family legend. My dad tells people the story all the time.

When I was six, I went to work with my dad. We’d just moved to Idaho, and he’d just gotten the job. I’m pretty sure I was there to see his new office. He took me into his boss’s office, to meet him.

The first thing the boss said was, “Where’d you get your red hair?”

I answered, “It came with the head, stupid.”

Sounds like a bad joke from the Forties, I know, but it’s true.

So back to Tits. Tits is the substitute teacher’s name. (Sorry, Addy, it’s not about real breasts.) Tits wasn’t the sub’s name until he kept calling me Red. He had a Mr. Name before that. You see, he was a tall man, with a beer belly, and woman’s breasts. You could see his bra. Seriously, through his sweaty blue dress shirt.

But as I sat and seethed in my chair after the first time he called me Red, actually beginning to see red, he stood in front of the class and asked, “Didja hear me, Red?”

More seething commenced, as well as some steaming, and tunnel-visioning on my end, and I sat with my fingers pressed into the sides of the desk staring at him.

“Get up, and gather those, Red, or you’re goin’ ta the Principal’s office.”

I decided to do it. I thought, “Well, he’s my substitute teacher, he’s a freakin’ adult. What can I do?” I got up, still seething, certainly red by now, all over my body.

I snatched up workbooks from my stock-still peers goggling up at me.

Tits said, “Ya better not give me attitude, Red.”
I said, “Oh, terrif.” (it was 1982. I was twelve…)
“Yeah. It means terrific.”
“Oh, I know what it means, Red.”
By now the workbooks were sliding from my hands. All my classmates were silent, bobbing their eyes between Tits and I. I turned to face him. We were about ten feet from each other.
“Don’t call me Red one more time, Tits.”
He flinched. The class murmured, and tittered. I began to shake. I knew what he was going to say. I knew it.
“What did you say, Red?”
I launched myself at him, screaming, “Don’t call me RED!”

I told ya the rest. Pulled myself up and bashed him as many times as I could. He fought back, too. Slammed me around, bedlam ensued.

I was suspended for a week. I think the testimony from my classmates helped, and the fact that I was the Student Body President, and on pretty good terms with the Principal.

But that should show you to what ends being tormented for years about something that’s inherently part of you will do. That dude was as big as my father-in-law, and no freakin’ way would I go up against Tony.

I’m not meaning to whine about my hair. I meant to tell more about it, actually. But this story is a good illustration of being singled-out and persecuted, and I think that’s a timely topic.

My red hair turned to gold for me by the time I turned 16. All the stigma is a good thing, most of the time. And so ya know, most of what you hear about us is true. I’m sure I’ve illustrated my unrestrained temper clearly enough. (And just so you all know, through years of zen-reiki-master cell activation-yogishi-swama-rami training, I’ve reigned in the temper so that I pass as a fairly decent human.) I now use my red haired experiences to come up with sayings for t-shirts, and for snaring wives.

I do want to talk more about my genetic mutativeness, like how I wrote a high school paper on redheads being the possible source for many a vampire legend. Sunlight, not aging, fiery, alluring, etc…(this high tolerance for pain thing fits right in)

And I wanted to explore more derogatory terms for my ilk, like ‘Fire Crotch’ and ‘Burning Bush’—and I wanted to state the simple fact that my hair is NOT RED, it’s copper, gold, yellow, white, black, brown, and rust, but not red—but I’m absolutely certain you’ve had enough by now.

Have some rad days.


Blogger Terri said...

How many wives do you have?

I agree the hair is not red. I always thought that was weird.

Nice blog.

2:01 PM  
Blogger Sheryl said...

Hello Shameless,

I just noticed that you posted a comment in my blog about me picking your t-shirt as one of the best I saw. I somehow missed that comment.

Anyway, funny stuff. Keep up the good work.


2:36 AM  

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