Regular readers of the daily bloggage at this site probably saw this item about an encounter with a new, appallingly young, and gloriously stacked hair stylist. Even her hair was gloriously stacked; Texas may be the home of "big" hair, but the true skyscraper 'do seems to have originated in some place like Kenya. (Yeah, I know: Marge Simpson. But she's pretty gloriously stacked herself, don't you think?)

Commenters seized upon my admission of having taken no change from a twenty on a $12 cut and decided it had to be one or the other: either she did a spectacularly good job, or I was posting from the deepest shadows in the Crush Zone. In an effort to stall for time, I made the only response I could: I declined to respond. And there's a semi-sensible reason for that, too: I have no idea what I thought.

How can this be, you ask? Take one individual with more than his share of deep, disturbing doubts. Add a tendency to suppress those doubts, and extend the suppression to cover a wide range of human emotions. Place inside unattractive container, shake vigorously, stir hardly at all. The result is discomfiting, even discouraging: sometimes I want to gawk as shamelessly as the next guy (and believe me, the next guy loves to look), but the moment I let myself do that, the brain's delivery service hands me an unpaid shame bill, and I have to turn away. Which explains much about the darty eye movements I seem to exhibit under these conditions: I'm trying to commit as much as I can to memory before the system shuts down entirely.

Perhaps needless to say, this is not what anybody would consider an endearing trait. And my usual excuse, variations on the following theme, can be counted on never to impress anyone:

Think of the sun. No greater light exists on Earth. And yet it's impossible to look directly at it: half a second and I'm blind, half a second more and I'm brain-damaged. With you, it takes a little longer — but only a little.

Women, it's probably safe to conclude, don't want anything to do with someone who can come up with something that prodigiously lame.

For the most part, I'm resigned to being stuck in this, um, rut. I do not have the sort of Zen Master control over myself to make sure I never, ever stare; the standard biological functions will continue to manifest themselves, generally as inconveniently as possible, affording the maximum level of embarrassment in the process. Not that it matters to anyone, of course.

The Vent

1 July 2003

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 Copyright © 2003 by Charles G. Hill