Monday, March 9, 2015

Red all about it

And there I was at the Giant Food, in the dairy aisle, to be precise. A little red-headed boy was selecting his yogurts for the coming week, and I wanted to ask him and/or his red-headed mom if strangers still walk up to redhaired boys and run their hand through their hair for luck.

And then it dawned on me that not only do people not rub their paws in the hair of another person without certain permission from the rubee, it would be really weird to just ankle up and do that to a kid.

But people used to do that!  Any redhaired man over 30 can tell you that.  Total strangers just before kickoff at a football game! Your uncle, just before midnight on New Year's Eve! A kid named "Howie" who sat behind Francis X. "Reds" O'Hoolahan in Algebra when Mr Dittmar was passing out the tests!  All of these indignities were visited upon redhaired men.

An auburn-tressed buddy of mine once told me that a total stranger once asked him to remove his baseball hat, the better to muss that hair.

Incidental info: In all other towns across the US of A, redhaired boys are nicknamed "Red," like in Skelton, or Schoendienst,or the guy in Shawshank.  In Baltimore, they are called "Reds."

And no one knows why.


But besides the bit about rubbing their hair, redheads have to deal with being called "ginger," being regarded as jinxes, people thinking that they all have fiery tempers or are natural targets for bee attacks, and, most ludicrous, during the Spanish Inquisition, the Spaniards killed redheads by the hundreds because they thought that redheads were witches who had stolen the fires of hell, and therefore were to be burned at the stake.

As someone who was born with blond hair that later became brown and of late, quite grey, I never had to deal with this sort of torment.  Of course, in a world where people are so foolishly assessed on the basis of the color of their skin, it's just a leap for the judgemental to rule on others based on their hair color, too.

Being 6' 5" and being asked to grab a quart of prune juice from the top shelf at the BuySumMor is nothing, compared to that.

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