Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Grey Matter

My wife and I were married around thirty-two years ago and that was also the last time I sat in a barber chair. It wasn’t that I couldn’t afford a barbershop haircut, although it was close. Shucks, I’d been getting barbershop haircuts since I was old enough to sit on the board Mr. Ennis would put across the arms of the barber chair at the Cove Barber Shop in 56’. I still remember him pumping that chair up with me on the board so his back wouldn’t spasm during the procedure. You want to talk about self-esteem?! Try getting pumped up on a barbershop board in front of ten patrons. But, I must say, the Cove Barber Shop was also the place where you could improve on your prepubescent vocabulary by listening carefully to the guys who didn’t have to sit on the board. I always felt like I had a lot less hair but a lot more flair when I left ol’ Ennis’s barbershop.

Yes, thirty two years ago we were in love and I’d learned about all I could from sitting on the board, which was a lot because I was small and had been sitting on that thing for a while. Well, she was also in love with my hair. I suppose she saw it as something that was temporary and therefore needed to be loved and cherished. Of course there’s always the possibility she saw the value in saving on haircuts. I figure we’ve saved around three thousand dollars in these last thirty-two years. I haven’t actually seen any of that money but her closet is full of shoes and very few pairs are flip-flops. She’s always been smarter than I when it comes to turning a shortfall into an excess. But that’s another story. What woman, if given the chance, wouldn’t convert her husband’s haircut money into shoes? Sure, there’s labor involved here, but I bought the scissors. Plus, it used to take her about thirty minutes to get the job done. Now we’re done in the time it takes a squirrel to eat a nut.

I know this because I watch them as she cuts my hair on the deck. Have you ever watched a squirrel eat a nut? Don’t blink. Well, these days she fakes it in an effort to make me think she’s still having to put forth maximum effort in the trimming and of course still cherishes these “weeds” that resemble hair. So I hear ridiculous comments like, “Oh my, there’s a new one up here” or “It appears to be growing faster on the starboard side than port!” Sure. Like this stuff is coming back and Katie bar the door, buy some big boy clippers and pomade! Will you please!? Can we not just slip away in dignity? Head slick as a wick and if not for eyebrows extending to the forehead, there would not be a shred of forestation near the peak. Not to mention the fact that she cannot wait to see it blown off the deck and into the back yard, which bothers me just a bit. How times change. And yes, some days I feel as though I’m ten and still sitting on the board as she takes this opportunity to inform me of everything wrong in our lives and the lives of everyone we’ve ever known or read about. She subscribes to People and that’s a lot of folks. You’d think she’d be spending her time collecting what’s left of my “grey” matter or at the least, sucking it into a vacuum cleaner for some future display on a mantle. I learned a lot sitting on that board and for sure, nothing lasts forever. But looking on the bright side, in dog years I’m still only around ten, still sitting on the board.

Medical Research of the Outer Rim

Did you know that there is a spot on one’s rear end that can only be seen by someone else? A place so hidden away only medical personnel or someone in the government with top secret clearance may have access? It resides just next to the tailbone on the back inside (medical term) and unless you are truly "gifted" you will not be able to find it. And the larger your rear end, the less chance of even catching a glimpse of the outer rim of this place which in my case contained an abscess. 

This thing came on me like a foreclosure and I couldn't sit for four days, preferring to lie down or stand in an effort to get some relief. I tell you this because I cannot be the only person in the world having had this condition but if that's the case, I welcome those who may be in medical science who are looking for research topics. In the end, I couldn't see it but I knew it was there and after a visit to a free clinic (bless you all) in Florida, I became intimately familiar with my new friend. I knew I had a problem when I'd try to sit down and something back there would quietly throb, "no”. A low throb it was but still very insistent and perfectly clear as it said, “There will be NO sitting today, or tomorrow and in fact, NO sitting at all until I feel like being sat upon.” 

It was the visit to the clinic that gave me a clue as to what was speaking to me from my rear. By the way, this "voice" from the rear is not a recent phenomenon, as we've heard it from politicians most of our lives because they speak out of it all the time. But I digress. Enter Sonja, the Las Vegas “showgirl”. She was about 35, tanned, dark hair, blue eyes and when she said, "Good afternoon Mr. Harmon, my name is Sonja and I will be your P.A. today", I practically swallowed the tongue depressor. Then I heard this ridiculous statement, "Take off your pants and let's (as in let us both, knowing I couldn't) see what the problem is. I'll be back after the nurse takes your vitals." The nurse took my vitals and asked if my BP was normally 170/100 to which I replied, "I'm still here am I not?" I'd like to think it was simply the pain of Mr. Throb but the combination of waiting for the "event" of me being bare butt naked in front of a Las Vegas “showgirl” and fear of the unknown probably had something to do with it. After all, I hadn't been to "Las Vegas" since the last time I ran for congress, if you get my drift.

 Evidently this thing I'd been hearing from was large enough to be seen from an advantageous angle because, instead of the dreaded "Bend over this will only take a second" guys hear from the family physician, all I heard from my showgirl was, "My this thing must hurt!" "No, I said, only when I'm awake. Then he speaks to me in a strange, throbbing Middle Eastern slang." "Turn over, she said, after positioning me on a slab, and take a deep breath." And I still do not know what went on back there because I don’t have a security clearance for that area. I have to say, as I write this, I'm feeling much better and whatever she did must have worked because I don't hear voices anymore telling me I cannot sit and Lord knows, at this age, sitting is an Olympic sport. The bottom (excuse the pun) line is, I have no idea whether these things originating in an area that can only be seen hopefully by that someone with a top secret clearance are going to be covered with Obamacare; but if they're not they ought to be. It's one intrusion I will gladly permit.