Lose the combover!

Get rid of the lid, and you will be far better placed to negotiate your way through.

By HAROLD GITTELMON
January 16, 2006 22:03
3 minute read.
olmert good face shot 298 aj

olmert 298 88 aj. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])

 
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Dear Mr. Olmert, Your recent TV appearances, albeit in troubled times, have moved me to write to you on a personal matter that has been troubling me about you for sometime. I too had the misfortune to lose my hair, as is the way with so many Jewish men. I too chose to artfully comb what remained in an attempt to conceal the fact. There were certain angles from which you could view me (usually if you were sitting and I wasn't) where you genuinely couldn't tell that I had lost my hair - or at least, at my most delusional, I could persuade myself thus. However, the combover years were not happy ones. Sport in particular gave rise to much awkwardness, as it gave my opponents plenty of ammunition with which to unsettle me. I often rose majestically into the air to head a football, and then faced the anxiety of starting the Bobby Charlton rearrangements even before my feet had hit the ground. [Bobby Charlton was one of the stars of England's 1966 World Cup-winning soccer team, who lost his hair at a young age and resorted to ever-more-elaborate combover arrangements in a ludicrously vain effort to conceal the fact; readers of American origin might wish to substitute, say, Rudy Giuliani.] A gust of wind was also incredibly unwelcome, unmasking me as it did in front of total strangers. My anguish was put to an end one afternoon, when a colleague at work put his pencil down and said: "I simply cannot sit here a minute longer with your hair looking like that." He took me by the hand and sat me down in a barber's shop with the simple but life-transforming instruction to the man in charge - "Take it off." It was interesting that, phoney as the combover had been, and as much I knew in my heart that it fooled no one, it still took my colleague to force the issue. This took place a dozen years ago, and I have often reflected how deeply I am indebted to my now former colleague; how he released me from such tension and awkwardness. Mr. Olmert, I would like to perform the same role for you. I simply cannot scream "Take it off!" at the TV screen anymore. Believe me, it is a liberating and life-affirming experience. Unafraid of being unmasked, you will have an immediate spring in your step, a key stress release for any politician. You are going to need a steady nerve and clear thoughts in the difficult days ahead, and I would never be so arrogant as to suggest which political course you might steer for Israel. But on this issue I do feel qualified to weigh in. Take my advice. Get rid of the lid, and you will be far better placed to negotiate your way through. The writer, a committed reader of The Jerusalem Post, is the director of a duty-free business based in London.

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