Dustin’s comment on my last blog made want to clarify my feelings on baldness. I agree; bald is beautiful and it’s so much more.
A couple of years ago when my hair-loss started to increase, I became acutely aware of how bald people are portrayed in the media. Bald fictional characters tend to fall into two categories: The creepy-old dude or the overly-tough dude. Bald characters are often written to resemble Dick Cheney or Vin Diesel, neither of whom I am particularly fond.
Since my mid-twenties I have been keeping a mental list of my favorite bald characters. Everyone needs heroes, and I need them to be bald. So allow me to share my top five.1
Top 5 Bald Characters Who Are Personal Heroes
Yes, Larry David is a hero of mine. His character on Curb Your Enthusiasm constantly speaks to my personal sensibilities. True, he is kind of an asshole.2 But he does have some admirable qualities. He calls out bullshit when he sees it, refuses to apologize when he doesn’t feel sorry, can make people laugh no matter what the situation, and he is often honest to a fault.
Larry is definitely a flawed character, but it is those flaws that make him so believable. While he may not appear very heroic, I prefer to think of him like this:
Growing-up I read lots of comic and my favorite was always the X-Men. As the leader of the X-men, Professor X always seemed to me like the strongest, wisest and most heroic. And all that that was in spite of his confinement to a wheelchair.
One of my favorite bald actors, Patrick Stewart, played him perfectly in the big screen adaptation of the comic.3
His telepathy powers were the strongest in the comic world, and he shouldered a large responsibility because of it. Even his enemies have a great deal of respect for Professor X. He’s the best of the best.
Elisha was a biblical profit from the Old Testament who represented bald men with a fury seldom seen. Check out this passage from Second Kings 2: 23-25 :
“And he (Elisha) went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.”
Damn! Some kids made fun of him for being bald, so he had God send some bears to eat the kids! All 42 of them!
Elisha definitively proved that it is a mortal sin to mock bald men. Not only does this story prove that God thinks bald is beautiful, it also proves another belief of mine. As Steven Colbert has said many times before, bears are soulless killing machines .
Tony Soprano is another deeply-flawed character that somehow has the audience cheering for him. Tony does terrible things to many people, yet we still pull for him every episode. While he may be a murderous thug, he’s also a great leader and a family man. Somehow his flaws make him more human and not less human. At the end of the day Tony is just chasing the American Dream like everyone else.
I am a huge fan of Lost, and it’s mostly because of John Locke. He is the moral center of the entire show, the Island’s philosopher king and warrior rolled into one bald badass package. Locke has his kidney stolen, gets thrown out of a 7th floor window, is betrayed by everyone he loves, and gets shot in the back. Yet he picks himself up and keeps moving forward. Is there anything this man can’t do?
Locke is spiritual and wise, yet down to earth and humorous. Simply put, he’s the kind of man I strive to be. The ending of the last season of Lost was rather traumatic for me. While things look pretty bleak for Locke, I have faith that nothing can keep him down.
1 Dustin almost made the list. He’s a funny guy with a beautiful wife who went through a harrowing year in Loveland that would have destroyed me. However, he’s not a character so he did not qualify.
2 So much so that some vandals spray-paint “Bald Asshole” on his house.
3 And while I love Stewart, I always hated the character he was most famous for playing. He did a good job playing Captain Picard; I just hated Star Trek with a passion. That whole series always seemed like watching the United Nations of the future (i.e. wicked boring). It was too nerdy even for me.