The Balder Side of Life
March 27th, 2014 by
Every year a neighborhood bar that caters to celebrating German heritage in New Orleans hosts a special event. This event is one of caring and hope. The participants all sport identical hair cuts. The floor is littered with a variety of browns, blacks, and yellows in various hues. It is in this hallowed hall that St. Baldricks takes place each March.
St. Baldricks is a charity organization that raises money for children’s cancer research. They have raised over $127 million for research by doing a different kind of charity work. St. Baldricks doesn’t ask its participants to walk, sell candy, or do anything physical. All they ask you to do is take a seat in a barber’s chair and allow a volunteer to shave your hair off in solidarity with all the kids that lose their hair due to cancer treatments.
I have participated in this event for four years and helped raise several thousand dollars with some of my closest friends, two of which have been with me each year. Geoff Gauchet was the first to tell me about this wonderful organization and invited me to participate. And although I was a bit hesitant at first, I fell victim to the age old dare of “I’ll do it if you do it,” from one of my closest friends, Jacob Mayer.
I have asked these two friends to explain why they participate in this organization.
What made you want to participate in St. Baldricks?
JM: Peer pressure! OK, that’s only part of it, but I knew some friends who had been doing it for a while and some more friends who wanted to get involved. The more I learned about the organization, the more I wanted to be a part of it.
GG: My boss at one of my past jobs did it every year, and so one year I decided to give it a shot.
How long have you have you been participating?
GG: This will be my 7th year. I get knighted as a Knight of the Bald Table this year, which is an honor for anyone who’s given 7 years of a service to the organization.
JM: This will be my fourth year! I think.
Your team name is Hairy Shearers, what’s that about?
GG: It’s a reference to The Simpsons. Harry Shearer does a large number of voices on the show, and in one episode there was a barbershop named Hairy Shearers, a pun on cutting hair and his name, obviously.
JM: Since Shearer is a voice actor for the Simpsons, that make this joke so meta. So meta, y’all.
How do you get the word out about your participation in this event? Do you utilize social media or do you have a specific method for raising funds?
GG: I use social media almost primarily. I post my donation link about once per day. As it’s been 7 years, I’ve learned the key times of the day to post for maximum visibility. I also print up a flyer and post it on the fridge at work, and usually email family members.
JM: Any way I can: Facebook, Twitter, emailing my coworkers, bugging my family, etc.
How do your friends and family react to your shaggy appearance prior to the event?
GG: My parents love the event not just for the cause, but because my hair is usually ridiculous right before the event. I wanted to keep my beard at first, but my dad donated extra money on the spot to have them shave it off, so now I do the whole thing. Friends and coworkers usually don’t recognize me for a second. It freaks me out when I catch myself in a mirror.
JM: It’s literally the first thing my family and coworkers mention when they see me in the month or so leading up to the event. “HEY WHEN YOU GETTIN’ DAT MOP CUT OFF?” or “HEY SHAVE YOUR BEARD, YOU GROSS WEIRDO.” You know, stuff like that. But they’re all very supportive of the cause and sympathetic to my disheveled appearance.
Please join Geoff, Jacob, and myself at the Deutsches Haus on March 29, 2014 at 6:00pm to watch us once again lose our hair for charity.