Sandy Springs: Good luck blending in as redhead in South

“I’d rather be dead, than red in the head.”

If I had a nickel for every time I heard that growing up, most often said with a deep Southern drawl from a passing car, I’d be richer than Oprah.

It’s ain’t easy being a carrot top.

Granted, there are folks out there that have it so much worse. No one is going to form a task force to protect my rights or keep me from being defamed.

If they did even I would laugh. I said it ain’t easy, but I never said it was fatal.

But growing up with red hair did have it’s drawbacks, and I’m not just talking about the taunts that went with it.

Kids will find anything to razz other kids about. Hair color. Braces. Lack of braces. Clothes. That just goes with being a kid.

But it was hard to blend in when I was growing up.

On Halloween every other kid could pull on a mask and no one knew who they were.

To get that measure of anonymity I would have had to pull a sack over my head. And that has been suggested several times through the years, by the way on days other than Oct. 31.

I learned fast that if someone with red hair did something wrong I was lumped in with the usual suspects.

At one point someone said: “If I ever hear someone with red hair robbed a bank I’ll tell them where you live.”

I think they were kidding, but for the record I’ve never planned a bank job.

Then I read last week that a study has determined that us red heads have a lower tolerance of pain when it comes to dental work.

We need on average 20 percent more anesthetic, and we are most likely to bail on dental appointments.

Well, great. I finally get to play the victim card and that’s what I get. If I ever bite the dentist, I can get a walk. One more good reason why I should never rob a bank.

It hasn’t all been lumpy oatmeal, this business of having red hair.

When I was between marriages I found myself in a Manhattan pub, sharing a libation with four giggling New York girls — sort of a “Sex and the City” posse.

One was infatuated by the color of my hair — hard to believe for anyone who grew up in Manhattan where there is very little one does not see — and kept touching it.

No complaints from me, however. No sir. None at all. It made up for much of that “I’d rather be dead” angst from my youth.

Then again, I just realized my dentist has stopped returning my calls.

Jim Osterman has lived in Sandy Springs since 1962.