A massively useful thing and a hairy crisis

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times)

TIMELY WARNING: Beware, it could happen to you or someone you love, according to the International Ginger Kids Foundation.

Tomorrow’s Hug a Ginga Day has sparked so much controversy that I reckon it might have overshadowed Towel Day on Tuesday.

Towel Day is celebrated every May 25 as a tribute to the late Douglas Adams, author of the Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy series. Fans carry a towel with them to demonstrate their love for the books and the author, because chapter 3 of the first book says a towel is “about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch-hiker can have”.

But back to the gingas. The Edge radio station is promoting tomorrow’s Hug a Ginga Day, with a competition for the best photo of you hugging your favourite ginga and a nice wee video on the etiquette involved in hugging our flame-haired friends.

But, really, isn’t it a case of people needing to grow a sense of humour?

Close Up ran a story on Tuesday with the father of a couple of gingas expressing his anger at the radio station for making his kids targets for bullies (I’m sure his appearance on telly won’t help that cause any) and saying it’s the beginning of a national crisis.

Really? A national crisis? Hey, forget about the recession, boy racers and binge-drinking, rising crime rates and the breakdown of family values, it’s people poking the borax at the colour of someone’s hair that we really need to worry about. It’s the real crisis. On a national level, no less.

I’m blonde. I’m also of predominantly Irish and Scottish ancestry. And I’m a bit on the round side. Oh, and a wee bit of a geek, too. And yes, at certain times of the year my hair develops a certain reddish tinge.

Can you imagine just how many jokes could cause me offence?  But life’s too short to spend it being offended by silliness.

Besides, what’s so bad about hugs?

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