Hair Daze

The other day I woke up, looked at myself in the mirror, and said to myself, “Is this going to be yet another bad hair day?” On a more typical day I would have simply gotten my hair wet and wrestled it into something resembling a hair style. I’m not sure why, [EDITOR’S NOTE: Maybe because your girlfriend– who would have done everything in her power to stop you– was out of town at the time.], but I decided on the slightly different approach of completely shaving my head.

Before I go on, I need to explain the nature of my hair. For reasons I don’t completely understand, my hair doesn’t succumb to the traditional forces of gravity. If I don’t get my hair cut once a month it gradually transforms into a big, fluffy, brown afro. While this style looks good on some people, I also have to deal with my genetic disposition for a receding hair line and male pattern baldness. So while things could be a lot worse, I just have to accept the fact that, just like Richard Simmons, the world is not going to love me for my hair.

While my mother has above average eyesight, she has recurring visions of me with wonderful curly hair. One explanation involves her confusing me with some famous “nice hair” actor such as Hugh Grant or Fabio. The only other reasonable cause for this behavior involves my mom receiving information from a parallel universe– exactly like ours, but with extensive advancements in the area of hair genetics. When I visit her, she always says I should “grow out my curls.” This usually leads to me bringing out my senior picture as a visual aid for my rebuttal. In addition to the obligatory suit and tie, the image shows me with fairly long frizzy hair– not a curl in sight. When presented with this evidence, my mom politely looks away and goes back to her fantasy world.

Once I made the decision to shave my head, I gathered together all the tools needed to complete the procedure. Much like a skilled surgeon, I didn’t want to have to drive to the grocery store in the middle of the operation. I placed everything I needed on the bathroom counter: a pair of office scissors, hair clippers, shaving cream, and a new razor. To provide motivation, I taped images of Telly Savalas and Charlie Brown to the mirror.

I picked up the scissors and started cutting large clumps of hair from my head. I watched as they fell into the wastebasket I placed in the sink. Things were going well until I started looking in the mirror to decide where to cut next. That was when the concept of “mirror image” started to sink in. I would move the scissors in exactly the opposite direction since left and right are switched around. Soon questions started to pop into my head along the lines of, “Why is left and right switched, but not up and down?”, “Are mirrors like this in the southern hemisphere?”, and “Should I rent ‘The Dirty Dozen’ after I’m done shaving?” I considered sitting down at my laptop, pointing my web camera at my head, and looking at the image on the screen to improve my aim with the scissors. In the end I decided A) I didn’t want hair getting stuck in my keyboard, and B) I don’t have a web camera.

When most of my hair was gone, I put the scissors down and picked up the hair clippers. In the past I had only used them to trim my beard. I wasn’t sure if they would be powerful enough to shave my head, but I was already well past the point of no return. In retrospect, this was the easiest step in the whole shaving process. Being careful not to shave off my eyebrows, I quickly finished phase two.

The last step was for me to get in the shower and get a nice close shave. I don’t know the “best” way to shave, but I prefer the shower to standing in front of the bathroom mirror. In the twelve or so years I’ve been shaving, I’ve never been able to develop the technique I see on razor commercials where the model takes a single swipe from his ear to his chin in exactly 0.3 seconds– revealing perfectly smooth skin. If I shaved anything like that I would puncture my skin and expose a large portion of my jaw bone. Since this was the first time shaving my head, I stuck with short and deliberate strokes of the razor. This ensured that my scalp remained on my head and not on the floor of the shower.

After I finished in the shower I stepped in front of the bathroom mirror and thought to myself “Wow– I can’t see anything with all this condensation on the mirror.” So I went into my bedroom and looked at a mirror that wasn’t all fogged over. Despite a bit of razor burn, I was pretty happy with the outcome. I spent a lot of time thinking about it and asking everyone’s opinion. In the end I realized its just hair, and I’m pretty sure its going to grow back.

Being bald isn’t really as different as having hair. This is mostly due to the fact that I never really spent much time thinking about the stuff on top of my head. The biggest difference is that everything seems a lot cooler. [NOTE TO SELF: Solution to global warming?] I also save a total of thirty seconds each day since I don’t have to shampoo or comb my hair. Of course I lose about ten minutes each time I shave my head, so I guess I’m not really saving any time.

What does Kristin think of me now? When I would talk about shaving my head, she would always have five or six reasons why I shouldn’t do it. She even suggested I buy this “Cosmo” CD-ROM that would let me see what I would look like with different hair styles. Needless to say, that idea never got off the drawing board. She was in Florida when I did the deed, and not too happy when I told her over the phone. Despite all her protests, concerns, and delaying tactics, she likes it. A lot. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Grrrr!]

I still haven’t decided if I’m going to keep my head shaved or let it grow back. Once the weather cools down I might feel the need for more hair. But at the moment it’s still quite warm and I live in a house without air conditioning. But until then, think of me as a modern day Cujo. Or maybe I’m thinking of Kojack. Whichever one has less hair.

The Dog Days of Summer

Every now and then I wonder what my life would be life would be like if I got married and had a couple of kids. The only thing I know for sure is my television viewing habits would not change too much. If any of my future children want to spend countless hours in front of the television set I’m going to make sure at least two-thirds of their programming options revolve around World War Two documentaries on the History Channel. Since my days of matrimony and reproduction are not in my near future, I have recently experienced the next best thing: Spending a week with two dogs in the house.

I currently live in a house which, on average, contains one dog. This dog, named Henry, belongs to my roommate, named Scott. One of Henry’s most unique physical characteristics is the fact that he has two different colored eyes. Scott, on the other hand, has two eyes that are, for the most part, the same color. Total strangers often times come up and ask about Henry’s eyes. Rarely do they ask about Scott’s eyes.

But enough about my roommate’s chromatically symmetrical eyes– this is a story about the dogs. Henry has long beige hair that is in a constant state of renewal. While I haven’t submitted the following theory to the rigorous process of the scientific method, I strongly suspect that on an average day, Henry’s body sheds more hair than the local Great Clips. When Henry and I are alone in the house he generally sleeps in the basement all day long. Every now and then, just for a change of pace, he walks up the stairs, looks at me blankly, and then proceeds to lay down next to the kitchen table before falling back asleep. His overall interest in Scott and I only peaks when he needs to go out side, be fed, or be taken on a walk. Henry and I get along quite well this way– we don’t expect a whole lot from each other.

This brings me to the second dog– Murphy. Belonging to my girlfriend Kristin, this dog is half Greyhound and half Black Lab. While her shedding habits occur on a much smaller scale than Henry’s, she does have her own list of peculiar habits. Most notably, she is very skittish. It is quite natural for animals to be scared of things like sudden noises, unfamiliar places, and the actor known as “Carrot Top.” Murphy, however, is pretty much scared of everything that isn’t Murphy. For example, I took Murphy out one night and she ran as far away as she could on the leash from the slight rustling noise produced by a series of plastic flags on the “for sale” sign on the house next door. On another outing she was overcome with fear because a tumbleweed was a few feet away from the sidewalk. I suppose I would have had more sympathy for the dog if the shrubbery in question was actually moving in any way.

Another quirk about Murphy is that she doesn’t want to be more than three feet away from Kristin or myself at all times. This makes walking with Kristin and the dog quite a chore. While Kristin generally refrains from spastically running around me in tight circles, the same cannot be said for the dog. Murphy always wants to be at the exact midpoint between Kristin and I while at the same time running around in circles. The interaction between the three of us is analogous to Luke Skywalker’s two-sunned home planet of Tatooine (but on a much smaller scale.) That would, of course, explain why Luke’s mother and stepfather had such difficult time harvesting crops.

Each of these dogs, by themselves, is generally calm and well behaved. So I figured that bringing Murphy over to my place in Loveland while Kristin was out of town for a week wouldn’t drastically alter my lifestyle. Unfortunately, I didn’t take into effect how the two dogs would interact with each other. The most immediate effect I noticed when I brought Murphy home was what I call “The Canine Cold War Mentality.” It usually starts out with both dogs sleeping peacefully on the floor in the main living area. This is known as Defcon 5 (or mauve, if you are using the new Homeland Security color coding system). If the dogs were the United States and the Soviet Union, this situation would be analogous to the first few months after World War Two or the eight years Bill Clinton was in the White House. This state of peace and quiet is inevitably shattered by a strange noise outside, one of the dogs sneezing, or the random motion of air molecules in the room.

Once this happens, one of the dogs will look up, causing the other dog to look up. (Defcon 3) Not to be outdone, the first dog stands up. (Defcon 2) This escalation procedure continues until both dogs are frantically running around the house barking at the top of their lungs. (Irreversible Intercontinental Thermonuclear War) After a few minutes
they calm down and eventually go back to sleep. (Analogy breaks down here.) While most people would consider this to be a minor inconvenience, I find it quite difficult to lay down on my couch and concentrate on the afternoon episode of “Trading Spaces” with such a racket going on in the background.

Another issue I’ve discovered with Murphy is how she goes to the bathroom. Like human females at nice restaurants, Murphy cannot go do her business alone. Being a smart dog, she knows where the backyard is. Being a smart person, I usually leave the back door open so both dogs can go outside whenever they feel the need. It seems like a simple enough solution, but whenever Murphy’s bladder fills up, she will run through the house until she finds me. Then she sits down and starts whining frantically until I walk with her outside and watch her pee. Which is exactly what I want to do at two in the morning. At least I’m not asleep yet.

Despite these minor issues, we all got through the week without any major problems. Eventually Henry and Murphy
both realized they were going to be living in the same house together. My threats to send them to Tatooine for the summer must have done the trick.

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