daily preciousness

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

draft of letter

Dear Mrs. Garrison,

It’s so hard to write a letter like this. I feel so embarrassed about what happened at your house this Thanksgiving.

What a shame that I have to send a letter like this during the holidays! But my counselor, Duwayne said that it’s important to get it out to you as soon as possible.

What happened at your dinner table was unacceptable behavior and I deeply regret my actions. As a health care professional, you might have known that trichotillomania affects about 1-2 percent of the U.S. male population. (I must be lucky.) In trichotillomania, hair is most often pulled from the scalp, resulting in bald patches. (Ew. That would be unattractive.) But, as in my case, it can also be pulled from the eyebrows, eyelashes, beard, torso, armpits, or pubic area. The hair may be pulled in short repeated episodes or for hours at a time. (That’s why I was in the bathroom that morning.) Hair-pulling is often accompanied by other actions, including chewing on or swallowing the pulled hair, called tricophagia. (You can probably see where this is heading.)

It is important that you know that my battles with trichotillomania and tricophagia have been long-standing and hard-fought. Knowing this, I hope that you can forgive me for my inclusion of finely minced hair in the Waldorf salad.

According to my counselor, Duwayne, something about the preparation and insertion of hair into recipes has been linked neurologically to distinctive patterns in my glucose metabolization. (I don’t really know what that means, but, the doctors at Johns Hopkins have written about me three times in just the past two years, so it must be impressive!)

I deeply regret any pain or embarrassment I may have caused you, Aunt Viv or Aunt Lois. I hope that Aunt Viv’s heart isn’t giving her any more trouble. (After Aunt Lois’ trip to the ER that afternoon, I can truly say that I never want to get my stomach pumped! It doesn’t look like very much fun.)

Warmly,

Jeffrey

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