toddler, uncombable hair syndrome
Photo by Meghan Holmes on Unsplash

There are only about 100 known instances of people with uncombable hair syndrome.

Have you ever come across something online that instantly made you smile? That’s what happens when people see Locklan Samples pop up on their Instagram feed. The cute dimple-faced toddler has a rare condition known as uncombable hair syndrome, which results in locks that stick straight up no matter how you try to manipulate them. It also causes the hair to be extremely fragile, so frequent combing can cause it to break off. The syndrome is so rare that Locklan is just one out of 100 people known to have it.

Locklan’s parents spoke with People magazine about how they discovered he was living with this ultra rare condition. Katelyn Samples, Locklan’s mom, explained that when he was born he had a head full of jet black hair, but eventually it fell out and was replaced with peach fuzz. A newborn baby’s hair is often completely different than the hair they end up with by the time they’re toddlers. It’s not uncommon for their hair to fall out in one spot or another, but it’s also not unheard of for their whole head to end up bald while their second sprigs of hair grow in.

Hair can grow back coarser, curlier or a completely different color. In Locklan’s case, his hair went from being jet black to platinum blonde peach fuzz, which eventually grew into hair that stood on end. Locklan’s parents said the color of his hair matched his brother’s hair, so it wasn’t a surprise, but the texture threw them for a loop.

When Katelyn posted pictures of Locklan on Instagram, a stranger messaged her asking if he had “uncombable hair syndrome.” This started Katelyn on a journey to find answers to what was going on with her infant’s hair, and if the condition was something she needed to be concerned about health-wise. Katelyn told People, it sent her into a “tailspin on Google.” Eventually, after climbing out of the Google rabbit hole, Katelyn called her son’s pediatrician to get answers. This turned out to be the first step toward an accurate diagnosis.

Locklan’s pediatrician had not heard of the condition and referred them to Atlanta's Emory Hospital to see a specialist. It was there they got the diagnosis. Katelyn explained to People, “We went to see her and she said she’d only seen this once in 19 years.” The doctor “didn’t think it was uncombable hair syndrome because of how rare it is, but they took samples and a pathologist looked at it under a special microscope,” and confirmed the diagnosis, she said.

He joins the very small club of people with the syndrome. Thankfully, this condition only affects the toddler’s hair and he is developing normally in all other aspects of his childhood. Katelyn revealed she hardly ever has to wash his hair unless it gets visibly dirty as it doesn’t collect oils at the scalp. Everywhere they go people are fascinated by Lock’s locks and ask to touch his soft tresses.

The family documents their journey on their Instagram account, and have found a support group via Facebook, where Katelyn says “it’s cool to see how other kids' hair has changed over the years—for some people it does not go away, and for others it becomes a little more manageable.” For now, Locklan enjoys the attention he gets from strangers, and he continues to bring a smile to people’s faces wherever he goes.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.

Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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