Face Bristles 2

One side of the shaving spectrum is a cut-throat razor. The other side is a beard, which has become some kind of beard-as-talisman, complete with beard oil.  These two ways meet in a single point called insanity. 

The down side of shaving is not only the time (manageable), and the blood (there's this thing called styptic), but also the cost.

I started shaving in 1973 with one of my dad's G.I. Gillette double-edge razors. Those blades were quite an innovation. They are so thin they save precious steel and are easy to sharpen. They are produced from strip, which is the fastest type of factory process.  Wait, those are benefits for the manufacturer!  What good are they to the user?  Well, the angle where it meets the face is just about perfect.  They ARE very sharp, and stay that way for about two shaves, which for some guys is one day.  Okay that's an up and a down point.  They can be pretty cheap, as little as 5 for a dollar, so if you don't shave twice a day too many times, your blade cost can be less than a dollar a week. Some users complained about the short handle on the G.I. razors; you can now get longer holders from various suppliers, including the Seki AS-DS2 from Amazon for  "only" $166.67 (!).  Down sides now.  Since the razor is bent across the top of the holder in order to create the perfect cutting angle and impart more rigidity to the thin blade, the holder must be very strong, and most are metal; if you shave with very hot water, the metal holder is hot enough to cause skin damage -- and if you do not use very hot water, the contraption won't cut worth a damn, and you won't be able to clean the soap and whiskers out of the gaps. Yet the double edge razor has a mystique among the young.  Can you blame them?  The G.I. Gillette beat the Nazis and Imperial Japan.  Bottom line: blades are economical; consider the blood and discomfort penance for your sins.


Face Bristles 1

I tried having a beard.  Years ago.  It is difficult but not impossible to be both well groomed and bearded.  I say beard, but I mean all manner of facial hair subsets right up to and including a little Charlie Chaplin mustache.  Hitler mustache?! Did you say Hitler mustache?  I've only been back one minute and already somebody is bringing up Hitler! That didn't take long.

Anyway I had the beard. Did the trimming. Shampooed my face. The whole thing.  On the plus side, you don't have to shave. That's x number of minutes less that it takes to prep for the world every morning. Also once it gets long enough it isn't scratchy. Ninety-nine percent of the time I end the day with Velcro face, and I don't mean the "loop" side.  Mrs. Crowndot does not complain aloud, and neither does she mention the just-shaved 1%, but when I had the beard back in our first decade together, she didn't complain (much) about that either.  (Just not a complainer, I guess.  Which may have something to do with why we've almost completed our fourth decade together.)

Where was I going with this?  Oh yes: Razor Blades.

But first, the minus side of the beard.  Why I Started Shaving Again And Have Been Clean-Shaven Since Some Time in the 1980s.  (Blogger's spell check thinks there should be an apostrophe in "1980s." There shouldn't.  NOT "one nine eight zero apostrophe ess." No apostrophe needed, unless you are talking about something like music, in which case it would be "one nine eight zero space ess apostrophe space rock hyphen and hyphen roll" which is practically a contradiction in terms anyway, except for "Africa" and a few others, but I trigress.)

It wasn't that the long whiskers were something that infants and toddlers grab onto while wrassling with dad; I could take that.  It wasn't the bother of cleaning up the area after a trim; small potatoes compared to the daily chore of shaving.  It was sour cream.  Specifically, the monstrous pile known as the Burrito Supreme.  When a mixture of guacamole, salsa, melted cheese, frijoles refritos, and sour cream gets squished out of a tortilla fissure and extrudes down your chin or up toward your nose, there is simply no way to feel clean again using anything less than a pressure washer or equivalent.  Even if there wasn't visible Burrito Supreme residue in the facial hair after application of a number of paper napkins, it just didn't FEEL clean.


True Love Till Death

It's February 2020.  Yet I keep seeing people's favorite quotes running around the internet, and they don't seem to change much. There are motivational and de-motivational posters.  There are colorful Don't-Worry-Be-Happy thoughts and dark foreboding This-Is-My-Sad-Face thoughts.

The elusive nature of Love is the target of many of the quotes.  Winning or Losing.  Promising or Leaving (or Being Left).  Fling or Forever.

Right. When it happens to you, having the one you love get up and leave you is The Deepest Pain.  Understood. Yes, that hurts.  Breaking up is hard to do, and all that.  Corruptio optimi pessima -- what is the worst is the corruption of what had been the best.  But even as a subset of loss, that isn't the worst loss.  The lovelorn heart is not the one that knows the deepest anguish.

So far as I've made it through this life, the worst pain I've encountered is this:  the one I love is hurting while I am powerless.  A sick child.  A parent with cancer.  When someone I love is fighting a battle that I can't substantially help them win -- to me, that is deeply painful.  A pain beyond memes and posters of people on the edges of cliffs.

At times like that all you can do is hold them.  Sometimes that means in your arms.  Sometimes it can only be in your thoughts and prayers.  Hold them in the security of promises kept and vows honored.  Hold them in the small daily things that are all we can do.  Even if that means only remaining quietly nearby. 

I acknowledge (but try not to dwell morbidly on it) the approach of the end of life for me and for others in my life.  One of the consequences of True Love Till Death is, well, Death. 

When the time comes, I figure the holding will still be the best course to take.  Because if love was the right thing to do in the first place, it is still the right thing to do in the last place.