Friday, July 28, 2017

"To Look Sharp..."

I am not being ungrateful, and banish the inference that I am. 

Here’s the situation.

My last Father’s Day gift was at my – repeatedly – personal request.  So if there is anyone to blame here – and there may actually be no one to blame – which does not necessarily make this an uninteresting story; it may instead be a reasonably worthwhile story with no an identifiable villain – a liability in say, a murder mystery – “It was ‘natural causes.’  Thank you, and good night.” – but, it should be hoped, not here.  I was going to say “hopefully”, but I have recently learned that that is not an actual word.  Though I am not entirely sure why.  Hopefully, someone can explain that to me.  (Ain’t I a devil?)

I have no idea what impelled me make that Father’s Day request.  (A request to begin “Paragraph Two” when it should have probably been included in “Paragraph One”) of an electric shaver.  (Better late than never.)  As I had throughout my life previously only used blades.  With one shot-lived exception.  I had received an electric shaver for my Bar Mitzvah, which I used but don’t have anymore.  That was long time ago.  It might actually have been a gas electric shaver.  Or an electric shaver powered by wood.

“Pour it on, Scottie!  I’ve got half my face left to go!”

This decision was not like when, some time in my fifties, I converted from jockeys to boxers.  That was a deliberate determination.  As the boxers inevitably shrank over their extended duration, they got tight around where the inside top of the leg meets the part directly above it, becoming uncomfortably binding.  I therefore switched to the roomier boxers and I have never looked back.


(Note:  I am listening to an Eddie Izzard CD.  It’s effect may have rubbed off.)

I had few serious complaints about shaving with blades.  Occasionally, I would nick myself on a miniscule mole lurking beneath the shaving cream and bleed for an inordinately lengthy interval, despite applying that “chalky stick” thing used to ostensibly staunch razor cuts. 


Aside from the blood, there was the shaving cream and the mess and you ran out and had to order more of it.  And more razor blades, as well.  (Although they appear to last forever.)  But overall, I had no deal-breaking beefs with the blade.

I suppose I was just ready for a change.  (I bought a new suit recently.  I did not need a new I suit – I have a perfectly good other suit – but when it comes to clothing, you just need to shake things up every decade or two.  If only to patriotically help the economy.)

So I get this electric shaver for Father’s Day, for which I am genuinely appreciative, despite the tone and tenor of this post.  And I am determined to “Make the Move.”

The thing is – and you may well know where this is going –

It’s not as good.

The electric shave is demonstrably – ask your fingertips – inferior to the blade shave.

It’s been almost sixty years since my Bar Mitzvah and, from an essentially “clean shave” standpoint, electric shavers seem to have barely improved.  I mean, they work.  And there’s no shaving cream and no blood, and it’s a comfortable experience, and all.  But in the end, you run your fingers across your face… and you still have a beard.  It’s not a tall one – instead of a “fairway” beard, it’s more like the "green” – but it’s not even close to what it’s like after shaving with a blade. 

Talk about ultimate smoothness.

After a blade shave, you could play hockey on my face.  You’d have to be small, but you could do it.  After a blade shave, Indians come over to feel your face.  A “blade shave” makes babies’ behinds jealous.

A JEALOUS BABY:  “Goo goo.  (But with an envious intonation.)

And it’s not like electric shaves are even faster.  At least, not for me.

With a blade shave, I shave off the shaving cream, and I know that that part of my face has been “covered.”  With an electric razor, it’s like, “Did I do that part already?”  Unable to distinguish the “done” parts from the “undone” parts, I can easily leave the house with an embarrassing “checkerboard shave.”

Of course, I may be talking about “Pilot Error” error.  Quoting a Randy Newman song, in a naughtier context, “Maybe I’m doing it wrong.”  Who knows, maybe I am.  Without the “shaving cream guidepost” I’m like a blind person mowing the lawn.  I could be easily re-covering the same patch.

Maybe it’s simply an unjust comparison – apples and razor blades.  I mean, think about it.  “Best Company to Service Your Shaving Requirements – a company that makes swords (e.g., Wilkinson) or a company that makes blenders (Braun).

I’ll let you in on a secret.  After I have “covered” my face – as best I can – with my electric, I revisit the still stubbly areas with my blade.  It’s like,

SALVAGING BLADE:  “Step aside, Junior.  Watch and learn.”

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me; I could have a natural “blade beard.”  I hope it’s actually the head-to-head comparison.

Somewhere deep down, I take a subversive pleasure in seeing the “modern thing” shown up by the enduring perennial.  Not everything new is necessarily better.

Though I can think of no examples of that other than razors.  Can you?

Well at least there’s one.  And if there’s one…

I have to stop here. 

I am beginning to sound like an optimist.


JED said...

It's not just you, Earl. I feel the same way and every electric shaver ad I've ever seen claims they shave, "As Close as a Blade" and they also imply that they are the only one. Well, they don't and they aren't. As you can see in my blog account picture, I gave up getting a close shave a long time ago and just shave to tame the edges of beard (I'm the one on the left in the picure, our dog doesn't shave at all).

As for another example of this, also using advertizing as evidence, is the dishwasher. Every ad claims that their dishwasher (or their dishwasher detergent) doesn't require that you rinse the dishes before putting them in. That is a lie and they've been telling it for decades.

JAC said...

Of course "hopefully" is a word. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. My defense rests on 3 points.

1. It's a recognized ordering of letters that anybody would know how to recognize and pronounce. Experts (which I am not) in the field of linguistic usage have been heard to say anything which can thought to be a word IS a word, and internet know-it-alls do not, in this case, know squat.

2. The use of "hopefully" in the middle of such sentences as "He looked hopefully at the unopened envelopes" (meaning "with hope") is a long-standing and unassailable usage that (as far as I've ever heard) nobody objects to.* Those who get sniffy about the word are probably thinking of

3. The use of "hopefully" to introduce a sentence, in the sense of "It is to be hoped that..." came into American usage sometime in the early 1960s, as far as I can recall. It didn't have an tradition behind it, and it more or less equates to the German "Hoffentlich...." which serves the same function. HOWEVER, it is a very useful addition to our language, causing no confusion and filling a need that no single word had previously done (much as when "contact" became a verb as well as a noun). Accordingly, it's a very useful and completely harmless addition to the language. Use it fearlessly.

(*"Don't end a sentence with a preposition" is another one of those false "rules" -- or as usage guides like Garner classify it, "superstitions." There's never been anything wrong with it at all.)

Ted Shick said...

Hopefully, you'll get that shaving thing worked out.