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How The Donald Got His Hair: a Just-So Story (with ‘pologies to Rudyard Kipling)

In the High and Far-Off Times, my child, my Best Beloved, long before you were born, there was a boy, name of Donald, who was unlike you or I. Now, there have been many Donalds in the world, Donalds by the millions, I suppose, but our tale relates only to This One Donald and How He Got His Hair.


This Donald was ’scruciatingly vain and ’barrassingly full of bombast and bloat. His head was hot with anger and ’flammation. It produced notions in such ’bundance that they threatened to fill up the known universe. He had one immutable belief . . .


Me! Me! Meeee! Destiny had marked him to become the most famous Donald in history, more famous even than Donald the Duck.


The child Donald had a head of hair, as most boys and girls do. It seemed a normal head of hair, a bit unruly as boys and their hair both tend to be, but nothing to alarm the populace. As the years passed, he came to consider himself a Man of Infinite-Resource-and-Sagacity. There were many who disagreed, but This Donald shouted ’em all down. Thus does The Donald Trump his opponents. Some wondered privately (so as not to draw his wrath) if his head were filled, not with a heavy, soft, squishy gray brain full of deep thoughts and wisdom, but with hydrogen, the lightest thing there is, my Best Beloved, and one of the most ’splosive.


This Donald also was insufferably arrogant, and his skin was ’mazingly thin. He was vainer than the peacock, more devious than the crocodile, more vicious than the black mamba, more ’noying than the mosquito, yet flightier than the gnat. His brain (or his hydrogen) was fertile ground for every quirk, every kink, every figment, every whim, as long as it magnified him.


As the billions upon billions of notions spurted out of The Donald’s head into the aether, they ’roused and ’zilerated all his hairs. These were the Greatest Hairs That Ever Had Been, and don’t you think they weren’t. Finding themselves the Greatest Hairs, et cetera, they went all twirly-whirly and ’gratulated themselves for their Greatness. They were a most ’sclusive bunch, too, these Hairs. Even you might feel ’sclusive if you were the Greatest Something of Anything That Ever Had Been.


Now, Hairs have absolutely no morals, no gravitas. They are creatures of sensation and do not comprehend the consequences of their actions. If The Donald declared a Beyootiful, Beyootiful, Beyootiful Babe the Greatest, they would squeal silently with delight. Fifteen minutes later, after this former Great Beyooty had annoyed him in some small way and he had brought her to tears by yelling, “Stupid,” “Disgusting,” or “Ugly Inside and Out,” they would snigger with even greater vigor. His praise of a dictator or his insults of a whole people or a country seemed to them just sweet, delicious sport. When, as too-often happened, he became more deranged and pugnacious than a crazed rhinoceros, that was the sine qua non.


(And if, my Best Beloved, you never have faced down a crazed rhinoceros, I hope you never do.)


Hairs are troupers, at least The Donald’s Great Hairs were. Like the champion gymnast, the incomparable ballerina, the long-distance runner, they suffered for their art—the curling, clipping, cutting, coiffing, thinning, trimming, ironing, drenching, dyeing, drying, and constant torture from every manner of chemical. In return, the Donald never failed to stimulate them anew every day with fresh outrages. His plethora of insults, his bottomless tumbler of mindless lies and rudeness, his non sequiturs and utter nonsense were like catnip to them.


The Greatest Hairs That Ever Had Been were privy to every fib, every unsavory fantasy, every bit of meanness, every iota of lust, every scrap of sleaze that passed through The Donald’s head. Unaccountably, for one never can tell why a Hair thinks what it does, they loved him for all of it and repaid him with their loyalty. Loyalty became their Religion.


One night of nights in his middle years, The Donald attended a grand shindig of all the Most Beautiful and Gaudiest and Glitziest People. No sooner had he arrived at 8:05 than he scaled the cliffs of Monte Braggadocio and reached its summit in thirteen minutes and five seconds, a record that remained unbroken until he himself ’complished the feat eight seconds faster a few years later.


During the next half hour, he puffed up every one of the other hundred and three guests as “Yuuge!” or “The Greatest!” and then spent the next three hours insulting, degrading, or humiliating a hundred and two of them with verbal jabs and pokes and rants. Braying like a klaxon, he declared his immutable belief in twenty-seven things that could not be true, rejected with equal force forty-three that could not be false, and took both sides simultaneously on nineteen Very Serious Issues. If any one dared to question him, he brushed off the innocent with a rude noise and a snarled “Idiot!” As he left, all the guests cheered him, ’specially the ones he’d ’sulted. He went to sleep a happy man that night.


Alas, this tour-de-force had pushed the Hairs beyond even their superhuman capacity. They were over-stimulated to the point of madness, and you know, my Best Beloved, how dangerous that can be. Existing small tensions among them developed into rivalries. Those became factions and then ’scalated into fierce disputes. It was practically civil war. These adoring subjects had listened to him too long and heard too much. They thought they, too, could do anything and everything they wanted. During the few hours when The Donald slept, some of the Hairs grew and grew, as much as a foot per hour. Others refused to grow at all. Some went straight, some sideways; some wrapped curly left, others twirly right. Some headed north, others south, and most took off in all directions at once.


The Donald awoke. Something was terribly, terribly wrong. He scrambled to his gold-framed mirror in disbelief. Where was his face? The Hairs enveloped The Whole Donald in a chaotic mass that resembled the unwanted offspring of a bramble bush and a weeping willow. He threatened them. He pleaded with them. He swore ferociously at them. They merely giggled silently or snickered or chortled; some just raised their eyebrows and shrugged their shoulders. He screamed violent oaths at his own Greatest Hairs That Ever Had Been, though he dared not call them “Losers.”


He would have to go into hiding. It was time to call his million-dollar-a-day Greatest Hairdresser in the World.


When the Greatest Hairdresser in the World attempted to coax the Hairs into familiar patterns, they got in his eyes, they tickled his nose until he sneezed, they choked him. When he tried to cut the Hairs, his scissors broke. They swallowed up his brush. He washed them and dried them and drenched them in pots of pomades to no effect. He had failed. He knew, too well, what came next.






“You’re fired!”


The million-dollar-a-day, Greatest Hairdresser in the World left broken-hearted and fled to a barber shop in Grimes, Iowa, where he mans the second chair to this day.


The Donald went to the mirror again and addressed the Hairs savagely. “I will cut you all off. I will shave my head.”


They laughed and laughed and laughed, silently, of course. They knew he never would, that he never could, that he and his Hairs were wedded for life.


The next day, The Donald called in his two-million-dollar-a-day hairdresser, the Greatest Hairdresser in the Known Universe, and said, “Fix this!”


The Greatest Hairdresser in the Known Universe knew what to expect, so he collected his two million dollars first. He circled The Donald, surveying the wreckage with a barely perceptible sneer playing around his lips. After many polite clearings of the throat and hmmms and other signs of sagacity and esoteric learning, he detailed his findings: “Hopeless!” As he left the room, he tossed out over his shoulder, “Try reasoning with them.”


“Humphf!” said The Donald, two million dollars poorer. He never had reasoned with anyone in his life.


He stood before his mirror, peering out from between his mass of hairs, and spoke to them, “OK, let’s make a deal.” Something like a whisper rippled over his head. “You come up with a plan that makes us all Very, Very, Very, Very, Very Greaaat, or else! 8 a.m.!” He did not specify “or else!” what. Then he sat down and tried to write his memoirs all day long in a large notebook full of lined paper. Not even that helped.


The Great Donald, the newly blighted Donald could not sleep. Never before had he suffered such a setback. At last, he did fall into the fabled arms of Morpheus. At 4 a.m. the Hairs held a great palaver. They argued and bickered and jawboned, but when he arose at dawn and faced the mirror once more, expecting rebellion and bloodshed, they surprised him.


“Whatcha got?” He looked like a Brawler, a Scuffler, a Howler in a Howling Desert.


His ’pulsive bluster, his brutish prose, his mouth gaping open so wide that it seemed to fill up three-quarters of his face thrilled the Greatest Hairs to their very roots. Their love for him was complete, their proper role restored. Lacking voices to express their ’zuberance, they worked as one to do what they knew. They untangled so ’speditiously that The Donald went dizzy. They swept themselves in waves and curls and swirls, they played at arabesques. They aped the cunning chameleon, but their purpose was to magnify and glorify The Donald, not to hide him. So the Hairs clad themselves in his favorite radiant gold, in silver, fawn, yellow, bronze, delicate orange-tawny, and a thousand other tints he could not so much as name.


All the untangling and waving and curling and swirling and glamorizing took only seventeen seconds. Then the order spread at light-speed: “All together now, one, two, three!” The Hairs swooped back and up and spun skyward into a glorious edifice of More-than-Oriental Splendour, firmly cemented onto The Donald’s Head, like Nothing the World Had Ever Seen.


He tilted his head this way and the other. He leaned back, forward, then struck a pose. He scrutinized every ripple, every fillip, every gleaming wave more closely than he ever had looked at anything in his life. The hairs’ little hearts throbbed as one. Then, to their ’zultant delight, he spread his arms wide, cackled, and yelled at his reflection, like the braying of the Devil’s trumpet, in the meanest, most brazen, most ’zaggerated voice even they had ever heard: “Great! Greaat!! Greeaaattt!!! The Greeeaaaattteesstttt!!!!”


And that, my Best Beloved, is the true and ’stonishing story of How The Donald Got His Hair.


Copyright©2016 Laurence McGilvery