When you're 13, the things that happen to you, or that you happen to, or that happen around you, stick. Forever. With Gorilla Glue.
I mean, sure the things at 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 help make you who you are, and the stuff you're a part of at 14, 15, 22, 27, 34, 41, 53, and 65 all influence how you turn out, but 13 is full-on there. Always.
So it should be no surprise, at least to any 8th grader who attended Novi Middle School in 1981, that I am driven by my hair. That I define myself at any particular moment by the quality of my "hair day". That I don't really believe people when they compliment my hair. That I still fantasize about scalping Kate Jackson and pasting her tresses over mine.
Actually, the truth is, it probably would surprise many of my classmates. Maybe most of them even. Let's face it, part of the reason 13 sticks is because we are so supremely self absorbed. I KNOW everyone was constantly observing and ridiculing my hair; I have lost countless hours of sleep over what was being said behind my back about the Brillo pad growing from my skull (no matter that these taunts were only occasionally actually said in a manner in which I could hear them; I know, KNOW they were a near constant topic of conversation).
After having been re-immersed in 8th grade culture for a decade, however, I'm also pretty sure that all of the rest of the class of 1986 were, in 1981, positive that something weird or abnormal or creepy about them was the main conversation in the lunch room. This adult understanding however, absolutely doesn't diminish the hold my hair maintains to this day.
So, you wonder where crazy obsessions come from? They come from 13.