FALLING INTO DISGRACELAND 

FALLING INTO DISGRACELAND

Today I want to talk about something really important. I mean, globally paramount, on most people’s minds all the time (literally). I want to talk about ... hair. You know there was that joke that Seinfeld used to do about hair being very pretty on someone’s head, not gross at all, but once that thing lets loose of the scalp, look out! It’s instantly got the stigma of a booger. Or a crusty scab. Ick. Turns out, I feel similarly about body hair. Any body hair. Part of it, I’m sure, is that I’m part Italian. Loosely translated, that means that I’m part hairy. The worst part I think are my arms. Mustaches get waxed, eyebrows get plucked, legs get shaved. But my arms are just out there. Covered with dark fluff (I told you it was gross). And it’s not very feminine. There was a brief period in high school when my constant swim team activities (practices, meets, saving little kids from drowning) in chlorine-heavy water effectively broke off all my arm hair at the root. Then it would back all spiky and itchy. It happened to everyone on the team so we’d sit around the locker room complaining about it; that is, when we weren’t complaining about how many laps we had to swim, what our team sweatshirts looked like, and which boy had -- once again -- peed in the pool during practice. The good part was that with short spiky arm hair, you have nothing to lose when everyone starts shaving their arms for districts. It at least took care of the itching for a few days. And then you could say, ‘For drag. It’s a swimming thing. You wouldn’t understand,” to people who gave you weird looks. But I digress. I recently moved into a new place and the other day I was going through yet another box of needless shit from my apartment when I found these little things called bikini mitts. The bikini mitt, by the way, is a very weird animal. Something I would have never bought without my sister’s ringing endorsement. Basically the bikini mitt is a piece of sandpaper, folded up, that you stick on your fingertips, rub a little on your bikini line, and then watch, amazed, as the hair simply disappears! Quickly! Painlessly! The point is, you sandpaper off the hair. The point is also that it totally didn’t work. And the point is also that I felt like a tool, trying to sandpaper hair away. So I find these little beauties in a box and think, hmm, I should throw these away. But being a professional pack rat, I resist. Maybe they work and I should keep them, I think. I pick one up and idly rub it across my arm as I wonder: should it stay or should it go? When I look again, I have a bald spot smack dab in the middle of my arm. Like many of the newly bald, I briefly consider a comb-over. Not a real one, mind you, but just a general rearrangement to cover up the hole. When that fails -- like so many combovers do -- I pick up the mitt again and rub it on the rest of my arm. The hair just melts away! Quickly! Painlessly! Of course now I have one arm with hair and one arm as bald as a plucked chicken. I look from one to the other and wonder, is this noticeable, decide that it is, very much so, and sandpaper the second arm, too. If you were looking for some social value in this column, unfortunately this week offers very little. But what with Thanksgiving and all, I would like to remind you to be thankful for all your blessings, even the hair on your arms. I’m still waiting for mine to grow back.

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