Brenternet (The World as seen by Brent Moore)

Trying to appeal to the highest common denominator. I can't give you 110% effort, but I will give you 107.4% effort. If you're a spammer and leave me a comment, I will make fun of you. I use twice as many semicolons compared to most other bloggers

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Location: Smyrna, Tennessee, United States

As the title implies, I am Brent K. Moore. I married MariLynn Simons on Sept. 25, 1999. we attend Stewart's Creek Church of Christ. We have five pets, a dachshund, Slinkie, a malamute, Juno, and three rabbits, Ebunny and Ifurry, and now Houdini.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Hair Today, Gone Tommorrow...

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Instead of talking about why I haven't made a post in a long time, I'll save that for another post...

It was a spring day in 1994. I was a junior in high school, and a day near the end of the school year I had been looking forward to for a while. While the rest of my classmates spent the day at Cedars of Lebanon State Park, I spent the day with the rest of my family in the waiting room at Vanderbilt for something more important.

Lets go back in time even further. I'm quite sketchy on the details because I was so young.

When Barry, my brother, was a junior in high school, everyone knew he was smart. I had heard that when his high school math teacher was sick, Barry could fill in and teach the class. However, during Barry's senior year, he was the one that was very sick.

One of the first signs of trouble was a lump that emerged on the side of his neck. You could see it in his Senior class portrait. Barry had Cancer. It was Hodgkin's Disease. My family and I were living in North Texas at the time, and while I was young, being a kid, Barry and the rest of my family spent a lot of sleepless night at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

(Side note: If you're vaguely familiar with Hodgkin's Disease, It's a cancer of Lymph Nodes. Perhaps the most famous recent person to have it is NHL star Mario Lemieux.)

Not only was Barry very intelligent, he also had a gentle spirit.

You've heard the expression, "It takes a rocket scientist to figure this out." Barry was smart enough to be a rocket scientist. However, his human frailty prevented him from finishing his undergraduate Physics degree from TSU. I believe his dream job was to work at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For fun, he studied Computer Programming LISP, which works with Artificial Intelligence.

He always had a calm, quiet demeanor. He was always sensitive to the thoughts and needs of others, even though he was the one that always needed physical care. He never judged anybody based on their outward appearance and to him, it was only the inside that mattered. He didn't have to have the fashionable and newest clothing styles, but only valued things on its functionality.

After many chemotherapy sessions at MD Anderson, and later Vanderbilt, the cancer went into remission for a while. Most of the time he spent at home. While he spent much of his time at a computer, a large part of his day was sitting in a chair, just thinking.

Growing up, I probably knew my other older brother, Scott, better. Sharing a bedroom for seven years probably had something to do with it. Barry was so quiet, that I almost completely missed out on knowing him. Fortunately, I eventually took some initiative and got to pick his brain with lengthy conversations ranging from Star Trek to Libertarianism.

Then, one day in the spring of 1994, he didn't wake up. He was rushed in an ambulance to Vanderbilt, where the prognosis wasn't good.

As far back as I had remembered, he had always lived with cancer; shouldn't he able to keep going on? Grandparents are the only ones who die, not brothers! Why does it sometimes seem that the ones who are taken away too soon are the ones that we need more of on Earth?

That was 14 years ago.
Barry and I were 14 years apart in age.
That means that now I am the same age he was when he died.

2005 was the first time I had ever considered growing my hair out. It's something different. I wanted to see what it was like. Then I lost my job, and I had to keep my hair more presentable for the upcoming job interviews I was going to have. After spending some time in a temp job, I got another real job in November of 2006. From there, I let my hair grow. I didn't start out with a goal in mind, i just wanted to see what it was like.

I forgot exactly who was the first person who told me about Locks of Love, but it was a little less than a year after it started growing. Mothers and Daughters tend to be more familiar with the charity, but some of you may not be familiar with it. They take long hair donated from regular people and turn it into wigs for children whose own medical condition (perhaps requiring chemotherapy) has left them without hair. It's ironic, because Barry wouldn't have wanted a wig, because he didn't care what others thought of his physical appearance, but I do think he would have approved doing this for children.

Before it can be donated, it has to reach a length of 10 inches. Just to make certain, I waited until my hair got to a length of 11+. A lady at church had told me that her daughter went to GreatClips and they'll give you a free haircut and take care of sending the ponytail to Locks of Love. Today, I did the same thing.

Growing up in a conservative family and attending a conservative church, I wasn't sure what people were going to think of a guy with long hair. Perhaps five years ago, I could have had negative thoughts of men with long hair, but things change. My parents thought it was strange that I was growing out my hair at first, but just last week, my mom told me that she'll miss it when it's gone, and that meant a lot to me.

I figured that most of the people that liked my ponytail would tell me to my face and those that didn't like it would talk behind my back. I heard a couple of reports where people told me that others told them that "it's not good for a man to look that way" or "men shouldn't go to church looking like that." Honestly, it doesn't bother me; I think it's funny. A couple of people asked jokingly if I was going to portray Jesus in a play or something. I prefer to think that I was being Samson - I didn't lose all of my strength when my hair was cut because I didn't have that much to lose in the first place.

I'd like to take a moment to thank all of you who have given me well wishes over the last year, as well as those of you who said they liked my long hair, even if you didn't know what I was still growing it for. Each time someone said something nice, it helped me to keep going. I'd like to publicly say thanks to my wife, MariLynn, for helping me along the way. she's the one that had to comb out the rat's nests as well as seeing everyday that I never mastered the female art of making a ponytail.

Most people that know me know I like taking pictures. For once, I am the one being photographed by MariLynn. Click on any photo to enlarge.

First here are some "Before" pictures before the hair was cut.

And now, for some goofier "May be used for blackmail" pictures. In the first photo, what it would look like if I was portraying Jesus (if Jesus had glasses and a Daytona Beach T-Shirt). Picture 2 shows me in with a 80's girlie "fountain" hairstyle. Picture 3 is why men don't do "Glamour Shots." I was trying to be silly but I actually like the way it turned out. Picture 4 is a fake mugshot. Which one is the most blackmail-worthy? Talk amongst yourselves.

This next batch is of me getting my hair cut.

Finally, this is what my hair looks like today:

Having the hair gone has given me mixed feelings. For the last year, having the ponytail has been part of my identity. I feel live I have established that I am who I want to be and not who other people want me to be. From here on out, I'm glad that I'm not going to have to spend 10 minutes blow-drying my hair, wearing a hat all the time and keeping up with those manly hair scrunchies.


Blogger Will C. said...

Wow - all this time I thought you were just "being Brent" (see also, "being Eric") so I never really wondered much why you were growing it out. I guess it turns out that you were just being Brent - just not the way I thought.

I only really met Barry once or twice, but I remember when he left. I also remember that you were wearing a necktie at the funeral - a rarity in and of itself.

By the way, if you hear of a program where I can donate a bald spot, I'm working on a good one.

1:29 AM  

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