John Bartus

Deep down, I think I knew this day would one day come.

E-Street Band sax man Clarence Clemons wrote in his book, Big Man: Real Life & Tall Tales, this: “I believe there are 400 men in this country who still wear ponytails. Six of them live in Big Sur, four of them live in Maui, and the rest are in the Florida Keys.”

David Crosby wrote a song he sang with Stills and Nash called, “Almost Cut My Hair.” He never did … but now it’s all white and scraggly and unkempt. David Gilmour (from Pink Floyd) did cut his hair. So did David Lee Roth (Van Halen), Jon Bon Jovi, Trent Reznor, Mark Knopfler, the guys from Metallica … and Miley Cyrus. James Taylor kind of had to, seeing as a huge chunk of his hair deserted him. Probably the less said about Sinead O’Connor, the better.

For more than 40 years, I’ve had long hair. It’s to be expected; I am a musician. Sometimes I wore it down, and sometime around 1987, I pulled it back into a ponytail. And I’ve worn it that way ever since.

But my hair was different in 1987 — really different. It was thick and full, with not a touch of gray or white. It flowed freely, like those carefree days of my twenties back in the 1980s. I played music; I had long hair. All these years later, I still play music, and I still have long hair. But the hair I possess in 2019 has changed. It’s drastically thinner and a lot more gray, and the ponytail is not nearly as full as it used to be. (See the ad in this issue for illustrative purposes.)

So I’m finally going to get rid of it — and you can be the person holding the scissors and the clipper to separate me from my hair … for a fee. That fee is a donation to Presents in Paradise, a not-for-profit that makes Christmas happen for children of local hard-working families. There’s no overhead or administrative costs; all money raised goes to buying gifts for the kids. Presents is a Keys-wide program that will provide Christmas gifts to more than 300 children this season. And they can use your help. (For more information, check out Presents in Paradise on Facebook.)

The top bidder will have the choice of cutting my ponytail (which will be donated) or using the clippers to get rid of the rest of my hair. The second-highest bidder will get to do the other. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to raising some serious funds so that local Keys kids can have a Christmas this year. Seriously — I’m really attached to my hair! So I’m hopeful that the winning bids will be significant (and Presents will gladly accept non-winning bids and donations as well).

Here’s how this will work: go to my Facebook page — www.facebook.com/john.bartus — and scroll to the event post. Then, Facebook message or email me your bid ([email protected]). Don’t be cheap. I’ll message or email the top five or ten bidders that they should be at the Great Hair Loss event on Monday, Dec. 16, 1:30 p.m., at Keys Hairmasters at 5701 Overseas Highway, right next to Iberiabank near McDonald’s in Marathon. Of course, anyone who shows up can still outbid any pre-existing bid, so … be generous. It’s for a really good cause!

So now I have to figure out how to say goodbye to long hair. Knowing that its loss is a kid’s gain on Christmas makes it somewhat better. And there are other advantages: my shampoo and products bill will go w-a-a-a-y-y down… I won’t have to buy any more ponytail holders … hair brushes and combs will be a thing of the past … I won’t have to wait for my hair to dry after a shower … maybe I’ll get so used to short hair that I’ll never grow it back! I do realize that the remaining color in my hair exists only in the ponytail, and that the rest of the new growth will be all white. It’s okay — I earned all the gray! 

Anyway, please stop by even if you don’t bid. Or help by texting PRESENTS to 44321, or making a donation on Presents’ Facebook page. Thanks in advance, and I hope to see you Monday when I lose my hair.

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