Today is National Redhead Day. I’ll bet you didn’t know we redheads have our own holiday, but we do. And it’s an important day.
Because countless redheads throughout history fought so that we, as a nation, could observe this holiday in freedom. Our ginger ancestors died protecting precious rights that many of us redheads enjoy today.
Such as the right to wear orange or burgundy; the right to be cast as the little orphan Annie in the school musical production of “Annie”; and the right to get free beer on Saint Patrick’s Day.
You probably know a redhead in your life. And speaking as a genetic minority, we ruddy complected persons could use your support right now.
Because redheads are disappearing.
That’s right. Modern research shows that the number of those carrying the recessive gene causing red hair are declining.
The percentage of redheads has dropped steeply within the last few years. At one time, the earth’s population of redheads was about 19 percent. Today it’s down to 2 percent. That’s barely enough to form a jayvee basketball team.
We are diminishing in huge numbers each year. And each time we die, we take our genetics with us.
If this trend continues, by the year 2100 there will be approximately 3 redheads left including Willie Nelson.
I am a longtime redhead. My hair turned strawberry in my teens, but I was born with hair the color of Ronald McDonald.
I was also a jaundice baby, which means my skin was the color of sickly urine. My mother said I was also born with a pointy head. “You looked like a No. 2 pencil,” my mother recalls.
My mop of hair, however, was the main attraction in the delivery room. The first words of the nurse who delivered me were, “You know what they say about redheads and preachers…”
Unfortunately, nobody ever learned what they say about redheads and preachers because the nurse dropped me at that exact moment because she started laughing.
Although to be fair, it was all my fault. I was the one who came out looking like a tiny Carol Burnett.
Growing up redhead was difficult. Discrimination starts early for gingers. If you’re a ginger, you were likely freckled and it looked like your mother had rolled you around in paprika.
You were always being shown impartiality by your friends during games of makebelieve. “No!” the other kids would shout, “you CAN’T play Superman, you have RED HAIR!” “No, way! You can’t be the Lone Ranger, you’re a GINGER!”
So a redhead’s playtime roles were mostly restricted to playing Archie, Little Orphan Annie, Opie Taylor, Danny Partridge, or Judy Jetson.
But behold. I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all redheads. For on this day, right here in America, scientists are discovering new, incredible facts about redheads which they did not know before.
Recent studies at McGill University investigated whether redheads experience pain differently. Results suggested that redheads are less susceptible to pain.
The same study found that redheads could tolerate more electric shocks in sensitive regions of their body than persons with different colored hair.
Which is exactly the kind of academic test you’d expect to be conducted by brunette researchers. I can just imagine the scientists in their labcoats, choking back laughter as they approach a random redhead on the street: “Excuse me sir, would you mind being part of an experiment?”
“What kind of experiment?”
“We are going to deliver painful electrical shocks to sensitive regions of your body.”
“Because you are a redhead.”
Science has also discovered that redheads, when exposed to the sun, generate their own vitamin D faster than people with other hair colors.
I, for one, am not remotely surprised by this. As a redhead, I do not need nearly the amount of time in the sun as others.
When I was a young man, for example, I would often go to the beach with my friends, where they’d all want to frolick in the sun for hours, throwing frisbees and drinking Ovaltine. Whereas if I spend over .003 minutes in open sunlight, I resemble a boiled soft-shell lobster.
Something else researchers have discovered is that redheads are more popular on TV. One report found that 30 percent of televised commercials during primetime feature a redhead. At one point, CBS was showcasing a ginger every 106 seconds.
But somewhere in my life I finally realized that being a redhead wasn’t a curse. It was a gift.
If you are a ginger child, I want you to know that being born a redhead makes you part of a worldwide fraternity. We are a special group of persons who have something truly unique to offer this world. Something incredibly exceptional and uncommon. Wilma Flintstone is only one example.
So happy National Redhead Day to all my brothers and sisters. We will take our free beers now, please.