Saturday, June 24, 2006

Male Pattern Baldness

The blind old seer gurgled and sloshed the tea in her mouth. Then hawked and spat a glob of creamy grey into a tin cup and wiped away long gooey strands of saliva from her mouth.

She looked up and proffered the cup to me held in her skinny brown hands, like a prize catch caught between a raven’s claw. She said in a quavering voice, “Minum, nak, minum nih bagus” – drink this son, it’s good.

“Take it, go on. It’s only tea”, said Karin, my fiancee who was sitting beside me and had recommended this “treatment” for my gradually eroding hairline.

I looked at Karin, incredulous, saying, “You gotta be f***ing kidding me. I’m not taking a sip of that shit. Tea my arse. You drink it!”

“Michael, either you take it or we go. And you can watch the last few strands of your hair fall off”

“I am not drinking that shit”

“Nobody’s forcing you Michael”

“Oh. Right. Nobody’s forcing me. Quite right Karin. Is this the carrot or the stick now? I don’t drink this antidote from Master Yoda’s sister, I end up with a nice shiny pate. I drink it, I either end up with a mane David Hasselhoff would envy or – I still end up with a shiny pate”

I pointed at the old seer and asked “Does she give a money back guarantee? Could you pretty please ask her that Karin? - seeing my Behasa Melayu’s not quite up to scratch”. It was a rhetorical question of course. Karin knew that. She also knew I was not drinking spit from some hundred year old blind crone, even if it was just tea. No way. Not even for all the uh .. tea in China.

Karin looked at me for a moment, her eyes looked tired and I could see she was not amused with my latest outburst. She turned to the old woman and spoke to her in Malay, and the witch doctor nodded slowly, her cataract covered eyes betraying nothing though her mouth slowly pulled back into a sneer as if she could divine some unfortunate circumstance befalling this difficult client in the very near future.

The old seer swished the tin cup around, put it to her lips and tossed the contents back down her throat. Oddly, that reminded me of a Milo ad I saw on TV as a kid where lovely and healthy looking family members were downing hot cups of carbo filled cocoa to some upbeat, catchy tune. I’m not 100% on the health properties of local tea and yellowing spit but I am glad the old fart finally drank it herself. She wiped another skinny arm across her spit encrusted mouth and muttered something to Karin.

“It’s thirty ringgits, Michael”, said Karin, holding out her hand. “And Mak Cik’s very disappointed with you, to say the least”.

Great, I’m in the old woman’s bad books now. Not exactly making new friends amongst the old and infirm am I?

I fished out thirty bucks from my wallet and gave it to Karin saying “Here’s a thirty plus a five dollar tip. The old fossil could use it to buy a new pair of dark glasses. Tell her they’ll make her look cool and also hide those eyes of hers. They give me the creeps”

Karin gave the old seer the money, uttered a “Terimakasih, Mak Cik” and we were out of her hut and into the hot afternoon sun.

“You could at least show some respect for Mak Cik. She’s been at this sort of stuff since she’s a teen and she does know her magic”, said Karin as we walked up to her BMW parked under a shady Banyan tree.

“Magic, shmagic, who the hell cares. I can go bald, it’s not so bad. We’ve tried every remedy both scientific and traditional but time to face facts Karin; like my father and his father before him, I think we Wongs are destined to be bald and beautiful by around our thirties”

I pulled down a vanity mirror in the car and ran my hand through my thinning hairline. So little left and I’ve only just turned thirty one. I wonder if Vin Deisel had the exact same problem. I’m a big fan of the man.