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Paul Turner: Combing through nominees for Inland Northwest Bald Man of the Year

July 15, 2018

Let’s hear from bald men and a few of those who remember the moon landing this week in 1969.

First, here’s a glance at some of the nominees for the title of Inland Northwest Bald Man of the Year.

You have to admire Paul Hammersley’s no-nonsense attitude.

“Bald is how I wear (or don’t wear) my hair. It’s part of me. It doesn’t define me. I like the way it looks.”

In response to a question about whether bald men had prom pictures of themselves that proved there are worse looks than baldness, Jerry Sciarrio had an answer. “Of course,” he said. “It was 1976, after all.”

Memorable things people have said to you?

Gene Johnson once glanced at an attractive woman in a Safeway parking lot and was greeted with, “Not in your dreams, baldy.”

In the matter of making the decision to shave off one’s remaining hair, Mike Storms shared this. “My male pattern baldness, instead of making a nice horseshoe shape, looks a little like mange. So I buzz it all off.”

Robert Fairfax got encouragement from his brother – “Also enjoying the genetic gift from our parents” – after that sibling had begun shaving off the leftover hair. So Robert tried it.

“I was hooked,” he said. “I’ve never looked back.”

Respondents were asked what they would give to have their hair back.

“I don’t want it back,” Roger Clouse said. “I might scare my grandkids.”

He added that it would eliminate his ability to tease them by telling them Grandpa will cut their hair like his.

I asked if baldness made these gentlemen feel more substantial and less superficial.

Bob Johnston had an answer. “As Tevye (“Fiddler on the Roof”) would say, it’s no great shame, but it’s no great honor either.”

A couple of readers had the same response to the question about what they thought of the president’s tortured attempts to mask his own obvious baldness: “Sad.”

I said last week that a panel of bald men would choose the Inland Northwest Bald Man of the Year. But I didn’t get my act together in time to assemble such a panel, distribute nominations, et cetera. So I had to make the selection myself.

And so I am naming Spokane’s Paul Campbell the INBMOTY.

Paul said the best thing about baldness just might be that it prevents him from even considering having a man bun.

Remembering Apollo 11

Here’s a small sampling of readers’ recollections of that week 49 years ago.

Norm Scott was in the Navy, stationed in California. He and his wife celebrated their first anniversary on July 20, the date of the historic moon landing.

Larry Plager was a Marine in Vietnam. Some village children who knew a little English were visiting with the Americans. “We told the kids that our country had landed on the moon.”

The skeptical children essentially said, “Yeah, right.”

Nancy Kiehn remembers family friends purchased a color TV expressly for the moon landing. There was a bit of laughter about that later, as the U.S. flag on the moon was just about the only thing that showed any color.

Tara Leininger was 12. Her family was visiting the Grand Canyon. “I am a child of the space race and the moon still makes me think of the Grand Canyon.”

Marje Peterson was at a sleepover at a friend’s place.

Harold Dixon was in the Army, in Turkey.

Jennifer Eliason was in Deaconess Hospital with her leg in traction.

Patricia Garvin remembers changing a diaper as Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon. “Yes, an ordinary event juxtaposed with an event which astonished the world.”

Jane and Ron McDonald were putting the finishing touches on their wedding plans that week.

Chuck Gay worked for a contractor that contributed to Apollo 11. He remembers his feeling of confidence in the mission.

Jacob Laete remembers turning to his dad, wondering if his father would have anything profound to say about all he had seen in his long life and perhaps about this big moment. “And instead found him fast asleep in his chair as Armstrong stepped down on the moon.”

John Hancock and some other Boy Scouts were huddled around a tiny portable TV at a campground in Indiana. “Unbelievable and unforgettable then, and even now.”

Nancy Bauchwitz was in France with a group of college students. It was a time when not all the French were enamored of Americans. But on the day of the moon walk, all sorts of people wanted to buy them drinks.

“It became a huge party with everyone congratulating us.”

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