The Sliding Scale

Cabbages & Kings

"Say," mused my roommate, looking with obvious relish at the top of my head, "you're getting bald." "No," I countered, "that's only the way the light strikes. If you stand here with the lamp above your head it'll look just as bad." We changed places. He looked as bushy as ever. "If I were you," he said, picking up a magazine and running a self satisfied hand through his thatch, "I'd see a doctor. No sense in losing it all." "Don't be absurd," I said and angrily smoothed down my hair. "It looks fine when it's patted down." "Looks o.k. now," he said ominously, and started to read.

"Ever had treatment from a professional before?" asked the doctor, folding his hands behind his head and looking at me. He had a thin, dark face topped with an aggressive shock of long black hair, neatly combed. I shook my head and looked around the office. The walls were lined with photographs of his numerous before-after triumphs. A red bottle, a green bottle and a pale yellow bottle were ranged artistically along his desk, and a brush in a plastic stand took the place of a pen on his blotter.

"Let's see the scalp," he said after the preliminary question bout was over. He motioned me over to another chair under an enlarged version of a stamp magnifier with a built in light. He flipped a switch and began rummaging with the lens and a sharp wooden stick. Thirty seconds sufficed for a complete diagnosis.

"You have what everyone has who loses his hair over a long term period--Sibbores, or dry scalp." It didn't sound very imposing, but he went on building his case. "It's all caused by congestion underneath the follicle layer--he pointed to his overgrown follicle wood. Our treatments will clean out that congestion and revitalize your hair." He walked over to a fluoroscope device on one wall and pressed a button. A translucent projection of amass of blood vessels and a cross section of a solitary, but evidently from his description, healthy hair lit up one wall. Another switch and another drawing appeared, this time a sickly follicle--my type from what I could gather.

"Here," the doctor promised as he flicked away the follicle, "we will restore your weakened hair roots, and your hair." "Are you sure?" I asked. "Certainly," he said. "The treatments will clean our the Sibborea, while the $20 home set--he indicated the tricolored array of bottles--will get rid of the germs." "How much for the treatments?" I asked. "Two hundred dollars," he said easily.

"I'll ask my family. My parking meter is running out."

"I can gave your hair," he called after me as I went out the door.