So, Dr. Rassman, it’s the day after my surgery and I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep for a few days. No, it’s not because of any pain or discomfort; rather, what you and your team did today will forever change my life.
As you know, my journey began in late 1993 in Beverly Hills. One scalp reduction and two 100-graft sessions later, even I could tell my â€˜Master Plan’ at the time was bunk, BS, a no-go situation. And I’m no doctor, mind you.
Because I was still losing hair and now my large grafts began to show, I entered the world of hair systems ala Hair Club for Men two years later in the fall of 1995. The cover charge for entry into Sy Sperling’s party was a steep $2625.00, however, and that took me by surprise. Funny thing is, I now look back at those photos from that period of my life, and the hair looks shiny and oh-so-fake. Kind of like a horse’s tail. Maybe it was? No, that’s too harsh. I’m sure it was farmed from ladies in the far east, stripped of its cuticle and dyed to my hair color. It just had this otherworldly sheen to it and in no way did it appear real. Man, I wonder how many people knew?
Flash forward to the year 2000. I joined the Directors Guild of America (DGA) that year, was making union wages as an Assistant Director, and then stepped up a notch to a Richard Farrell hair system. Farrell reminds me a lot of you. He blows the lid off the hair replacement industry, and has a completely transparent salon. His systems are indeed the best, but no matter how much they appear to be growing out of your scalp, they are not. Further, they never will. My first two systems in August 2000 were just over $3000.00, reasonable for the quality I was getting. Since the lace bases were very sheer, they eventually ran their course and were replaced. In 2005 I did just that, except the cost of two systems at that time was $5000.00 (inflation of course). So, that’s $8000.00, excluding the monthly servicing, coloring, hair additions and haircuts I received. When you include those items, I spent $16,2000 from August 2000 through January 2006. OUCH!
Of course, the sad truth is I work in the film industry on set as an Assistant Director. I had the good fortune of working with Scorsese, Coen Brothers, Clint Eastwood, and directors of that caliber who attract similarly-accomplished crew members. I was unfortunately busted wearing a hair system by the hairstylist of a prominent Hollywood actor by none other than George Clooney’s personal hair stylist, a guy named Waldo Sancez. He is a cool cat, and he personally didn’t make fun of me or even let one that he knew (a class guy). He simply relayed to me that the entire hair and make-up trailer was abuzz because they were convinced I wore a hairpiece. When I was in the dressing from, he looked at my hairline the entire time, and never asked me if it was true. Conclusion: They all knew. OUCH!
Don’t get me wrong, if I were an accountant, mortgage broker, etc, I could have gotten away with a system of Farrell’s quality. It’s a completely different story, though, when you are standing eye-to-eye with an Oscar-winning hair and make-up artist giving warnings to the actors sitting in the chair getting ready for set.
After Waldo’s revelation, I was never the same AD. My self-confidence deflated like the proverbial balloon. I wore a ballcap every single day on set since 2000. All the while paying thousands of dollars to upkeep the systems that were supposed to allow me to NOT wear a ballcap. Irony anyone?
Flash forward to today, Feb 23, 2006. NHI is the real deal! You are every bit as caring and accomplished as any doctor I’ve met. I’d even hire you as my primary care physician if you moonlighted on the side. Bottom line: Your patients come first; your company’s earnings are secondary to the end result (and safety!) of those who enter 9911 Pico Blvd. looking for help.
I CAN NEVER THANK YOU FULLY for what you did for me–hell, and my career, for that matter–today. I am in the queue for a HUGE movie later this fall, and I know my confidence will be at an all time high. You can’t put a price tag on that. It’s about value, and what you’ve done for me far exceeds the “price” of what I paid NHI yesterday.
This fall, I can’t wait to knock on the trailer door, look the hair department head in the eye and proclaim, “Camera will be ready in 10 minutes. What’s your best guess on having actor _______ ready?”
I edited this letter before publishing it here, because it contained things that should not be the focus of such a letter (even for humor). I always believe that if you have nothing good to say about someone/something, best not say it. This man was a delight to work with and we bonded in a very special way (I always seem to develop a special bond in this strange world of the hair transplant repair process). Many repair patients have a unique type of pain that they live with, a type of pain that fortunately does not happen much with the modern techniques used today. The bonding requires building trust where none existed because of the history of the bad experience, well defined by this patient. I was humbled by reading his letter as I am every day working in this field.
William Rassman, M.D.