Thirty years ago, when the doctors told me I was genetically out of whack and would lose my eyesight, I told them, “Well, that takes my mind off losing my hair.” Everyone chuckled, but their punch line, “There is no cure,” fell flat. After a decade watching that dim prognosis become dark reality, I was sick of the joke. I wanted a cure. That’s when a friend told me about the holistic herbologist who had done wonders for her maladies.
I called the doctor’s toll-free number. He told me his six-week course of oral medication had restored vision in people like me. I sent him a check for $799.95 and, when it cleared, my miracle cure arrived at my front door.
I followed the treatment regimen religiously. Each day for three weeks, I sloshed down eighteen horse pills. They were huge, brown and smelled like a barnyard. These pills, promised the doctor, would remove toxins from my body. I figured anything tasting so vile had to be good for me, the same logic I used as a teenager trying to drink beer.
For the second phase of the six-week program, I ingested twenty small, odorless pills per day. These would resurrect the dead cells in my retinas. The ingredients included bovine eyeballs and leftovers from the rendering plant. Stuffed with horse pills and bovine eyeballs, would I whinny and moo along to “Old McDonald Had a Farm?” I wouldn’t mind, just so I could see the barn.
My miracle cure for lost eyesight lasted the better part of a bitterly cold winter. As weeks passed, I felt a bumper crop of hair sprouting from my scalp. Friends christened me, “the Woolly Mammoth.” Was this simply protection against the frigid temps or had the barnyard feed brought out my animal nature? My furry head was a boon to my vanity. I fluffed it. I moussed it. I showed it off. Write me up in Ripley’s Believe it or Not. I’d join the circus. Move over, Bearded Lady.
The day I gulped my last bovine eyeball pills, I ventured a glimpse in the mirror. I stared. I squinted. I put down the mirror and picked up the phone. “Doc, do you remember me? I’m the guy who called about my vision loss. Well, I’ve finished the pills and I have good news and bad news. The good news is I have a full head of hair; the bad news is I can’t see it.”
I didn’t give the doctor a chance to reply. I didn’t demand my money back. I hung up the phone, rubbed my furry head and laughed until tears rolled down my cheeks.
When spring arrived, the fertile ground that spawned my head of winter wheat turned barren. Had going cold turkey from the barnyard drugs or the return of warm weather caused the Woolly Mammoth to lose his wool? I didn’t call the doctor for his opinion.
Now and again, a vision comes to me: a sleek, white yacht slicing deep blue Caribbean waters, the retired herbologist at the helm, sipping Dom Perignon and lighting Cuban cigars with $100 bills — all proceeds from his miracle cure for baldness.
[Copyright 2009, The Rockford Review. Used with permission.]