My friend Randy wouldn’t want me telling you this but he went through a rat tail phase.
It was an unfortunate, trying time for everyone close to him–including me–who simply couldn’t come to terms with why an otherwise reasonable man would choose the official haircut of The Jersey Turnpike Rest Stop. He was a happy kid. With an honorable family who gave back to the community. It was never supposed to happen like this.
As I write this a year later, I constantly fight back the urge to ask him why, but I fear that picking the scab would only spark a relapse.
During the worst times, when Randy’s parents set up mouse traps around the house and replaced the cheese with velcro wallets before threatening to call the exterminator, I questioned whether the relationship with my friend was worth salvaging.
I don’t ask for any credit in Randy’s resurgence, but I will say that if it weren’t for a little tenderly delivered tough love and my favorite Deejo pocket knife, Randy’s 6-8 inch hairy slither of rebellion would still be alive and well and a threat to civilized society today.
I introduce to you the real hero of the story.
The day Randy would leave his old life behind, I showed up to his parents house unannounced with nothing more than my Deejo. I knew I’d get him alone because it was the mid-day on a weekday, when everyone without a rat tail contributes to the American economy.
Randy was in his bed stroking his hairy companion while picking fights with strangers online about the shape of the earth.
I was facing insurmountable odds. Was this a kamikaze mission? “No, stay the course,” I tricked myself into believing.
I knew that in order for me to emerge victorious I would need to familiarize Randy with the tool that would cut off the toxic identity he’s fought so hard and worked so little to maintain.
“It’s first grade 420 stainless steel,” I boasted about my knife, introducing the concept.
He stayed glued to his phone without acknowledging my existence, petting his rat tail with the care of a new mother.
I sat down theatrically on the foot of his bed and was immediately met with an odor that could only be described as “burnt hair” from his unwashed sheets. Burnt hair–I thought, suppressing the urge to dry heave–if only we were that lucky.
“The knife is entirely customized to my liking. Everything: blade finish, weight, handle, blade tattoo,” I said, offering him a feel. “The blade has a mirrored finish and the handle is made from precious wood. This is the 37 gram one, but they also have 27g and 15g available. I brought the biggest to make sure no hair is left behind, that no follicle suffers.”
“I had it customized to reflect our vacations on the Cape. The good days, when things weren’t so hairy. ”
Randy gave the tool his first suspicious look, and suddenly stopped stroking his rat tail. Progress, I thought.
He then reached for the Deejo and held the blade in front of his face, meticulously inspecting it while the mirror finish sent his reflection back at him.
For the very first time, through the light bouncing off the blade, Randy saw himself as I did: A good man buried underneath the weight of a really bad haircut.
Randy slowly handed me the knife back while gifting me a look consisting of equal parts trust and vulnerability, reserved only for the best of friends.
He nodded, turned his back to me, and I actually had to touch the thing. It was disgusting and the only reason I got through it was knowing that if my hand burst into flames, at least I had the perfect tool to sever it.
While holding the tail that anchored my friend to failure for so long, I meticulously brought the Deejo blade down on the atrocity, cleanly swiping Randy’s unlucky rabbit’s foot from the base of his neck. The “snip” sound of the sharp blade meeting the hair follicles was heavenly and I will cherish that music for the rest of my days.
Where is Randy now? He is the President and CEO of Prestige Worldwide LLC, has a strong stock portfolio, a beautiful wife and two young boys with appropriate haircuts.
On his wedding day, I gifted Randy the Deejo knife we used for his re-invention nestled within a custom frame. It currently hangs above the desk of his corner office as an indicator of how far he’s come and he uses it only once a year to open bottles of Napa Valley Merlot at the Catalina Wine Mixer. Randy has made me a proud friend.
A true rat tail to riches tale.
PSA: If you or a loved one is currently struggling with a rat tail but is seeking a better life, give the gift of a fully-customizable Deejo knife for the very best in functionality, durability and design. And let the healing begin.