First of all, Happy New Year ….bit late but hey ho. So to begin ….
I’m a bald man
Very bald as in “ shave your head “ bald or “severely challenged in a cranially hirsute manner, bald “
I have been this way ever since my barber offered me a discount because of scarcity of subject matter. There seemed very little point in continuing to fight what seemed an inevitable outcome. So on the basis of that I tend to shave the few scarce strands that, rather like a tree in a desert, hang on in spite of every incentive to do the opposite . When you can’t even comb over, what is the point ? It makes a great target for seagulls and hats become a necessity but that it is a look I can cope with.
But now I’m beginning to reassess.
People are killing bald men for the gold in their heads.
No, really, they are.
Well in Mozambique and possibly Mali they are .
It is a real thing , see here https://www.citizen.co.za/news/news-world/news-africa/2978290/bald-mens-heads-contain-gold-mozambique-killings/ and it is not the first time, there were reports in 2017 too .
Somewhere, a myth, a fable, has emerged that bald men have gold in their heads.Whenever someone cries out “Eureka” I now duck.
This is of course bonkers but as a friend of mine who also writes here, Alec Ross, questioned, is there a nugget of truth behind this ? ( See what he did there ?)
Can’t be surely?
Otherwise why was Yul Brynner even allowed out in public and Matt Lucas needs to be careful. But actually like most folklore gone mad there is a tiny element of truth, and we are not talking gold teeth either.
An average 70 kilogram human contains 0.229 milligrams of gold. This would form a cube approximately 0.22 millimetres along each side. I know fuel prices are rising and there is inflation but before you go considering bald bonce farming as an income supplement on an industrial scale, there are a few things to consider.
With gold worth about £42 per gram you can do the maths yourself. Quite a lot of “farming “to make a living and that is without factoring the storage costs of the …… waste materials .
Did I mention it is illegal ?
Having travelled twice to Mozambique it did make me wonder in retrospect if the looks I was getting were purely because in the heat there I looked a bit like a boiled lobster or was it the natty sunglasses? My head was certainly shining but not in the sense implied here .
Overall I have to say it wouldn’t make me think twice about visiting that wonderful country again . Lovely people, beautiful scenery and history that speaks of the strength of human beings to put things right in the face of so many challenging political realities.
I once had the pleasure of meeting President Chissano of Mozambique.
A chance meeting in hotel where I had no idea who he was and we were able to share a breakfast together. The discussion was convivial, family orientated and both enjoyable and memorable. It was only after the meeting when we shared cards that I realised , with a strong degree of embarrassment, that I had been talking to an elder statesman, one of the truly great men of his generation. A wonderful man, an African leader who respected democracy and who won the inaugural Mo Ibrahim prize for excellence in African Leadership. A man who didn’t need the person sat opposite him to know of his greatness.
So many interesting things to report about Mozambique without reporting this story.
But this made me think about bonkers theories in a slightly new light . It is a wide spread myth for instance that there is a market for rhino horn as aphrodisiac in some far eastern countries. The truth is more prosaic and in a sense more sinister .
Rhino horn has been used to deal with headaches, cancer, hallucinations, high blood pressure, typhoid, snakebite, food poisoning and even possession by spirits. All with rank zero proof of effectiveness. People also just like it as an ornament. Meanwhile an endangered species becomes more endangered because of the stupidity and gullibility of ( mainly ) men .
It seems as a species, and possibly as a gender we are drawn towards baseless panaceas.
While we might cast a judgemental and arguably unintentionally racist smile at what someone has done in Mozambique, I wonder how susceptible we are to equally groundless myths? Is it easier for us to believe that if we point away from fact and absorb a myth then we can get the result without putting in the hard work?
We have; Ponzi schemes, South Sea Bubbles and political fables. Bonkers made respectable, new world bonkers.
We also have Bonkers in a Saville road suit . Brexit seems to be proving that point, there was a groundless myth if I ever saw one, but 52% of the population were prepared to believe it.
As someone who believes passionately in Independence for Scotland it strikes me that for those of us who believe in this, we have to make sure that our reality is based on fact, and is solidly deliverable. Some will be true believers and good luck to them but true belief doesn’t run a country or fill a supermarket . As we are finding out the hard way. Ask the rather beleaguered Boris the Myth-Meister-General.
While Boris Johnson’s head is in danger right now, I hope it is purely in the metaphorical sense rather than the physical one .
But back to bald men .
Have you seen a fault in the gold miners’ theory? It is blindingly obvious. We all have that amount of gold in us, regardless of how much hair we have and potentially regardless of gender ( actually arguably women have slightly less gold, it goes on body weight , so you are safer than us over weight male baldies. ) These guys need business advice, they are just not getting the economics of this right .
Meanwhile I’ll wear a hat. I haven’t been in Dumfries and Galloway long enough to know all the myths and fables here, who knows? .
I’ll also keep the article from my wife. “Working from home “ could take on a different meaning . She has sharp knives .
Best play it safe .