Tales of the Tail
A little background on the origins of my infamous queue are often asked of me. So here you go.
I first grew a ponytail my Freshman year of high school after taking a summer drama class at Maine South High School, where my father taught. One of my dad's students, good friend Chris Kraco (I've shown you some of the early promo photos he shot for me years ago) was not only a juggler and big inspiration to continuing to learn juggling and magic tricks, but he was the first person I'd ever seen with a ponytail. I thought it was cool. I thought he was cool. I thought being a juggler was cool and by association, I thought I would be cool if I had a ponytail. It seemed more than a fitting tribute to a guy who meant a lot to me, if not a stereotypical thing to do to be a juggler who had long hair of some kind. lol
My mother was somewhat opposed to the idea at first and I'm sure my dad was as well. I got the typical "not under my roof" types of speeches. Of course, all I really had to do was say to my bald father, "It's just hair," and then look at his shiny dome and then show my mother a photo of my 60s/70s/ hipster/stoner older brother from his high school days. Soon thereafter the ponytail was approved.
At the time I had no idea it would be such a big deal. However it wasn't long before I realized that Chris lived in suburban Chicago where stuff like that wasn't as big a deal and I lived in ultra-rural Marengo, IL where that sort of thing could get you tarred and feathered. After all, if you didn't have a very short, farmer buzz cut, you were probably a major threat to society as a whole.
I was tormented often by folks at school, mostly a$holes who were never really friends of mine to begin with, but are eager to reconnect of Facebook today. Heh.
With that being said, I kept the tail and lived with the abuse, mostly because it was kinda cool and because it was certainly different for Marengo. Of course, it didn't hurt that the stupid thing managed to attract a lot of attention from...GIRLS! I didn't quite realize HOW popular it was with the ladies until after the first 10 months of the tail's life.
After ten months i decided to cut off the thing. Once I did, EVERYONE, and I mean everyone made an even bigger deal about the thing being gone. "Why'd you cut it?" and more importantly, "When are you going to grow a new ponytail?" were the questions I heard most often. The second of the two questions was asked primarily by...GIRLS! I began to humor the prospect of growing another one someday.
Some time later (I will refrain from providing an exact amount of time to protect the embarrassed), while enjoying some rather serious making out, which likely resulted in sex (at least that's how I remember it) in the back of my mother's Ford Taurus station wagon (OH. My. GOD! Really?) the lovely lady foolish enough to enjoy a romp with me repeatedly whispered into my ear, "Grow a tail." NOW the thought of growing another tail was VERY MUCH IN MY BRAIN (the big brain and the little one). Still, long after that girl was gone from the picture I refrained from growing a new ponytail for some time until...
Two weeks before my Junior Prom, I started the tail that has been with me the last 25 years. It had nothing to do with the girl I was dating at the time. I just felt it was time to start another one.
More tales of the tail later in the week.
I'm considering finally removing the trademark ponytail on April 25th of this year. Many have said I should. An equal number have said I shouldn't. What do you think? Post your comments at my Facebook fan page!
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Labels: Andy Martello's Ponytail