When you've got it, flaunt it

2b

July 30, 2006|By LAURA VOZZELLA

Bob Kokoski is a 74-year-old Ph.D. who works as a pharmacist in one of those sober, independent drug stores that don't sell Cocoa Pebbles or cheap plastic toys along with the meds. He's the guy behind the counter at Voshell's, right by St. Agnes Hospital in Southwest Baltimore. The guy with the gray Mohawk.

Only recently did this grandfather of eight start sporting an outrageous `do. His wife, Patricia, was undergoing chemotherapy and losing her hair; he shaved his head in an act of solidarity. His wife died about two years ago, but at her urging, Kokoski is trying to live the rest of his life to the fullest. That has meant, among other things, taking a trip to Disney with one of their grown daughters last fall. It happened to be Halloween when they were there, and on a whim, Kokoski pushed his still-short hair into a Mohawk. The reaction he got from other park-goers was an instant, incessant blur of high-fives and camera clicks.

"It just attracted attention," he said. "It was an avenue for meeting people - `Oh, I've got to get my picture taken with you!' I had more people come and say, `Like your haircut! Like your haircut!'"

A Mohawk on a younger guy might prompt some people to steer clear. Not so on a man his age.

"When they see that on an older person, they say, `Gee, that takes a lot of spunk to do something like that,'" said Kokoski, who takes an electric razor to the sides of his head every day and uses a little gel to make what's left down the middle stand up.

The reaction has been positive, even among strangers who count on him to dispense their meds. "It lightens up the atmosphere," he said. "We've been trying to look at the joy of life. So if anything gives you a little fun, I think it's good."

Hand the man a shovel

And now, for a special Michael Steele edition of "Connect the dots," which gives me a chance to clarify something about this regular 2b feature.

"Connect the dots" usually strings together items that are unrelated but too short to stand on their own. The headline was meant to play off the ellipses that separate the bits, not any link between them. I mention this for the benefit of anybody confused by the headline. That includes the blogger who railed this week that - by describing a comical car mishap in one item, and offering the Ehrlichs birthday and anniversary wishes in the next - I was blaming Maryland's first family for bad driving. ("Connect the real dots, The Sun hates Governor Ehrlich," the blogger blogged.)

That said, given the splash Steele made last week, I've got a bunch of bits about the lieutenant governor. So, in this case, go ahead and connect `em:

"First, it was the president who used the word yo, as in `Yo! Blair.' Now a politician is describing President Bush as his `homeboy,'" Brian Unger said on MSNBC's "Countdown" the other day. "The political speak is getting way more street." ... The Wonkette blog mulled over Steele's comments on Chip Franklin's show - "The president doesn't want a sycophant in the United States Senate" and "He doesn't want a `yes' man." - and declared him nonsensical. "By `not a sycophant,' he means `someone who calls him homeboy,'" Wonkette said. "By `not a "yes" man,' he means `a guy who'll apologize at warp speed if ever he says something vaguely mean about the POTUS.' I think the Steele team has what it takes to beat the mail order bride-raping guy. Maybe." ... On Slate.com, John Dickerson wrote: "When in a hole, stop digging. This is good advice in life and crucial advice in politics. Unfortunately, no one seems to have shared it with Michael Steele, [whose] slogan appears to be: `More shovels!'" ... At a time when even the president's homeboy is dissing him (on background), George Bush can find one Maryland politico willing to be seen with him in public: Keiffer Mitchell. A Baltimore City councilman and (pardon the redundancy) Democrat, Mitchell appeared with George W. on the White House South Lawn last week for the signing of the Voting Rights Reauthorization Act of 2006. "Congress passed the legislation in part because of the diligent and tireless efforts of my grandfather, Clarence Mitchell, Jr., who was then head of the Washington D.C. Bureau of the NAACP," Mitchell wrote in an e-mail trumpeting his brush with Bush. ...

Don't connect the dots

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