"Dear Dan: Why are your entries so full of nothing?"
Because I was once told that a writer should write what he or she knows.
I thought things would be different by now, but they aren't. If anything, I think I've actually been losing ground over the last few years.
If you think I can explain this, you're missing the point.
And if you think I'm not going to try to explain it anyway, you must be a first-time reader. Lucky you!
Let's take something I have with me all the time, something I've always had with me, yet am just becoming more and more confused about with each passing day.
I'm referring to the human body.
What the hell is up with that?
Let's take just one small part of it.
No, no - not that part. Let's take a part that's long and wide enough to actually be seen by the naked eye.
I don't understand hair at all.
I've been told that all mammals have hair - even that hair is one of the defining characteristics of mammals - but it doesn't make me feel particularly mammalian. Instead, it makes me feel like a freak. Why? Because when I go to the zoo or watch nature specials on TV and see a mammal, I think, "Wow. That mammal looks exactly like it's supposed to!" But when I look in a mirror, I think, "Egads! What a mess!"
Because of hair.
The hair of every other mammal looks appropriate. Color, length, styling - the hair of a zebra always looks perfect to me in every way without fail. I never glance at a monkey and think, "Geez, buddy - get a hair cut!" Whatever just is, is just right.
I, on the other hand, can stand in front of a mirror all day long with a comb in my hand and still look like an unmade bed.
Even putting that comb to head does little to change this.
And yet I still sometimes hear the claim made that we're at the top of the evolutionary ladder.
It must be that the ear hair I've started sprouting for no good reason the last few years has interfered with my ability to hear things correctly.
Or maybe the person making the claim just can't see the evolutionary ladder clearly for all the hair hanging down in front of his or her eyes....
Anyway, if anyone can tell me why animals never need haircuts to look presentable, let me know.
Preferably not in a series of mocking hoots, yelps, and chest-thumps.
Call me crazy but with the start of a new year, new century, and new millennium, I've been thinking that I just might have attained the level of the average animal without even knowing it.
To test this wildly optimistic hunch/hope/delusion, I've been letting myself go.
No more combs.
No more mirrors.
No more shaving.
Ok, so any run of the mill gorilla still has me beat, but the word from my wife is that I just might be mistaken for a rain-soaked baboon by old people who have misplaced their glasses when the full moon is right behind me.
I personally think I look a bit like a Jesus who has forgotten how to turn wine into Grecian Formula, but it ain't helping me get served any faster at Wendy's.
I confess, if there was a third alternative to shaving or not shaving, I would seize upon it with both hand and at least one foot, but there isn't. Electrolysis is expensive and painful, and people who should know have cautioned me against nuking my face with Nair, so I'm stuck with either rubbing my skin raw to maintain that stubbly appearance that's a fine visual substitute for ipecac or just letting nature take its course until local health authorities intervene.
Oh, for the intelligent-looking leathery muzzle of a great ape....
Beards aren't popular right now. I know this. My wife reminds me daily. I go out and fail to see any other bearded men. I cannot think of a single beard on national TV save for the occasional passing Islamic terrorist. The long-time anchor for Dayton's CBS affiliate has recently grown a goatee and it looks for all the world as if a rabid chipmunk has him by the throat. Surveys reveal that 7 out of 10 women would prefer to be stranded on a desert isle with a big dog rather than a bearded man.
I don't understand. Certainly for millions of years of human history, men had beards just as surely as women had breasts. How did a sign of masculinity as natural and long-standing as a beard ever become unpopular? Can you imagine breasts ever becoming unpopular? Ok, so one cannot succor one's young with even the longest of handlebar mustaches. Beards still serve some purpose, don't they? The more food caught in 'em, the better a provider its owner - right? The thicker the growth, the less likely there's gonna be a frost-bit face that'll have to be amputated with a caribou bone - right? The longer a beard's length, the older and wiser its owner probably is - right? Right??
Maybe if I read at least once about a single chimpanzee having to shave so much as once a year, I'd feel better.
We do share some 95% of our genetic material, don't we? Who decided that it ought to be the chimp who was excused from all these problems??
EXACTLY WHAT DID THE CHIMP EVER DO FOR MOTHER NATURE TO BE GIVEN A PASS HERE - HUH?! HUH!?!? ISN'T THAT AGAINST THE LAW?????
Yes, I admit it - I'm insanely jealous of chimpanzees. Happy now? Fine.
While you're at the zoo admiring their wonderfully smooth faces, I'll be using my better eyesight and manual dexterity to demonstrate the one thing I'm sure I'm better at than they are:
Getting into the liquor cabinet.
Viva la difference for me tonight when you get back if I can't....
Back To A Hair-Free Entry
Forward To Another Close Shave
(©Now by Jester - no, Dan Birtcher. These furry-faced cohabitants simply
MUST start wearing name tags before I confuse them sometime when it really matters!)