By Rod Weasel
I am a ginger. It’s something I’ve had to live with all of my life, and no longer is it something I shy away from. Without a doubt, it has been a tough journey, but I have always persevered through the pain. However, even as I write this the situation is becoming more and more dire. I was on my high school’s Speech and Debate team, and in my junior year I competed in an event called Humorous Interpretation. I performed a script entitled “Removing the Hat” by Luke Morgan, which followed the story of a young boy named Luke who was bullied because of his red hair. Of course, this piece was very personal to me. The real alarming issue though was this statistic presented at the end. It stated that by the year 2050, no more gingers will be born across the world. We are going extinct.
My journey started from the day I was born. I always thought my red hair was pretty cool. Many people over the years have doubted the authenticity of my hair color. They believe that I dye it, but I do not. There were few people who never doubted it, such as the little old ladies at the grocery store. When I was a toddler, my mother would take me to the grocery store with her and I would sit in the kid’s seat in the cart. As we circled around the store, oftentimes little old white ladies would come up to us and ask my mom if they could touch my hair. And my mom just let them, I did not consent. I don’t even really know why they had to touch it; you can’t feel the color red. Anyways, it was truly a trying experience for me, and I began to wear a hat every time I went out, hiding my red locks. However, old white ladies were only my second greatest enemy.
Despite my skin being littered with freckles, I have what one could call a pale complexion. Simply put, the sun is not my friend, but is in fact my mortal enemy. Perhaps one of the reasons us gingers are going extinct is because we are over one and a half times more likely to develop skin cancer. So how do we defend ourselves in this never ending battle between two equally powerful forces? My doctor said I needed to use sunscreen. Her recommendation was to put on sunscreen if I was going outside for more than five minutes. I had multiple problems with this. First, five minutes. Second, I just didn’t really like putting on sunscreen. I was already super white but sunscreen just felt pasty. Third, I was allergic to most sunscreens, or at least one of the active ingredients in them. I think it’s Oxybenzone or maybe Zinc Oxide, I’m not quite sure. But basically, I’ve always just had to use kid or baby sunscreen to protect my sensitive skin. The kicker is that the only sunscreens I could use were low SPF so I would have to reapply all the time to keep myself safe, and I didn’t do that. It was always embarrassing to have to carry my own little baggy of special sunscreen around and I just never wanted to pull it out and use it. Although I have grown and matured, I still face the sun everyday, in spite of its UV rays.
Frankly, I don’t know where gingers will be in 2050. Maybe we will be wiped out and people will only have boring hair colors. But then again, I could possibly make millions selling my hair on the black market to make wigs. In the end, you always have to look on the upside of extinction.