the greatest depression

Wolf Boy: America’s New (Hairy) Face of Hope

Arthur Sulzberger II

There’s a lot of terrible economic news today. All of the leading leading indicators are down: The Labor Department has reported that jobless claims are at a sixteen-year high. The Dow, which dipped below 8,000 yesterday, lost 200 points at the open. Building has stagnated. And here in New York, Mayor Bloomberg dug in his heels about the controversial $400 rebate checks for homeowners, because “we have no money.” He also has decided to turn the heat down in city buildings. “Wear a sweater if you’re chilly,” he said. What a dick, we thought as we read that, and then commenced wallowing in worry and self-pity about how we may not be able to afford our overinflated lifestyle in the future, which is essentially what we’ve all been doing since the financial crisis began. (“People seem to enjoy telling each other how bad its going to get and working themselves into a frenzy,” UBS analyst David Bianco rather sagely observed today. “It’s just becoming silly.”)

It is silly, we realized, especially after we read the life-affirming tale of Pruthviraj Patil in the Post. Wolf Boy, as the paper calls him, is an 11-year-old from Mumbai who has been undergoing treatments at Columbia for his hypertrichosis, or, “werewolf syndrome … which causes a thick coat of hair to grow over every inch of his body except his palms and feet.”

Despite the fact that he looks like a cousin of Alf, Pruthviraj is surprisingly pragmatic about his condition.

When I look in the mirror, I see that I have hair on my face and no one else does. Why is it only me?” he says. “My greatest desire is that the hair should go.”

And yet:

“We all play cricket together and the hair doesn’t stop me running or catching the ball, so it is not a big problem,” Pruthviraj said.

If Barack Obama’s noble face inspired a wave of political change in this country, we think Wolf Boy’s might inspire us to change our economic behavior. Because it will be ok. Because at least none of us have uncontrollable amounts of hair growing all over our bodies. Can we wear sweaters? Yes, we can.

Wolf Boy Miracle [NYP]

Related: Are Werewolves the New Vampires? [Vulture]

Wolf Boy: America’s New (Hairy) Face of Hope