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Mind the map
When baldness occurs in the shape of somewhere that might be bombed

March 25, 2007

The bald patch on the back of my head resembles the shape of Iran. It's a patriotic patch, I tell my doctor, that reflects my worries over the prospect of war. She’s not convinced.

"Am I going to die?" I say. I want her to say “no” but she doesn’t.

"Death", she mumbles, "our final adventure."

In my head I make funeral plans – the hospitality will be such that the guests will forget they have buried me.

I’ll go totally bald if they bomb Iran.

“It’s not stress,” says Dr Fleming.

But I am sure it is. What can I do to stop the war -- dress up as Batman, strap myself to the gates of Buckingham Palace? No. Don't want to be machine-gunned for peace dressed up as an American super-hero.

The doctor wants tests. It’s cancer of the blood, no doubt.  

"Could it be diabetes?" I say to cheer myself up.  

"We can test you for that," she says. Sure. She'll test me for nut allergy if I ask her to. But I know what’s wrong, why a bald patch would follow a map. I run my finger against it. I feel Baluchistan to the east and Azarbaijan to the north. My country is intact. It's on my neck. No one can attack it. If it gets bombed my head will go with it. And if Britain joins in, it will split.

My friend Laura’s two-year-old daughter, Claudia, lost four fingers the other day. She was playing with a few other children in the garden, and one of the boys shut a door on her fingers and they came off. Laura would not wish that on anyone else's child in a million years. But it’s safe to assume that the fact that it was her child made it particularly painful for her.

It’s the same with countries. I couldn’t have been more against the attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan, but they were not mapped on my skull.

Claudia’s fingers were sewn back on. Laura e-mailed me a picture of her face. It's the cutest, roundest little face. She looks rudely interrupted. “I’ll carry on with my childhood if that’s alright” her eyes seem to say. Hold on. She’s lost four fingers, I’ve lost some hair. Perhaps I should learn from this two-year-old.

“It’s probably alopecia,” Dr Fleming says. Is this when baldness occurs in the shape of somewhere that might be bombed. I leave the medic and on the way home, there are, as usual, the free papers strewn all over the Tube. “Iranians seize Royal Marines,” screams one headline. I check my head to make sure I have dutifully begun to lose hair in the shape of the British Isles. Not quite, but I can definitely feel the M25. Comment

-- Stand-up comedy: See Peyvand Khorsandi in Berkeley on April 14, 2007
-- Blog: Soul Bean Café


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