A few days after the election of a smarmy conman to the presidency of the United States of America, I looked in the mirror and realized my hair was in need of a cut. No, I thought, resolutely. I will not cut my hair. Not until he’s gone. I wasn’t sure why I made this decision. Had my inner hippy emerged? Was I letting my freak flag fly? What possible difference would it make to anyone that I wasn’t cutting my hair?
Then I thought of a poet named Sparrow who fasted on Fridays to protest the CIA. When I learned of his private protest, I was pretty sure that the CIA could not care less whether or not he ever ate, and yet this need to remind oneself and those close to us that there are people and institutions up to no good made perfect sense. That, I realized, was the point of letting my hair grow. I wanted a constant reminder that there was someone rotten in Washington, a reminder for me and anyone who knew me.
*Excerpted from a longer forthcoming essay.