Friday, May 24, 2019

"Only When I Tilt"

(Or, parodying a Warner Brothers cartoon title – “Hair Today; Gone Tomorrow.”


Okay.  Let’s get lofty.

It is said that the revered Jewish scholar Hillel was asked by a prospective convert (who was apparently in a hurry) to explain the entire Torah, standing on one foot.  To which the balancing Hillel replied,

“What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor.”

You will agree that’s pretty good.  (Barring a truly terrible neighbor, wherein all bets are off.  Though, feeling the same way about you, they might react angrily in kind, so watch out.)

Challenged by this possibly apocryphal pronouncement, I shall now deliver a post, conceived while I was standing in one place.  (Though, admittedly, not on one foot.)

The place I am standing is over the sink in the Master Bathroom.  What I am doing there is brushing my teeth.

Okay, here’s my first “correction”, or at least “clarifying adjustment.”

I am not exactly standing over the sink, brushing my teeth.

I am, in fact, bending over the sink, brushing my teeth.


And here’s my first embarrassing confession.  (Of, I believe, a total number of two, but it’s early.  There could easily be more.)

I bend over the sink brushing my teeth, due to a genetic, malfunctioning lower lip. 

Though hardly an expert in that area of the face, let me credibly report from personal experience.

Top lips are decorative.  They don’t actually do anything.  Oh, they cover the top teeth all right, but that’s nothing to brag about at labial Thanksgiving.

“What are you up to, my boy?”

“I cover the top teeth.”

“Ah.  (INSTANTLY SWIVELING AWAY)  “And what are you up to?”

“Covering the top teeth” is no towering achievement.  It’s not even “protection.”  A hard punch rattles those teeth, while the bleeding top lip looks on weakly and goes “Whoa!” 

The bottom lip does stuff.  Along with covering the bottom teeth, it has the exclusive duty of keeping the stuff in your mouth, until swallowing, inside your mouth.

Mine doesn’t.

It hangs loosely, as things inevitably fall out.

Including – specific to this narrative –  


So – salient to the point – if I do not bend over the sink while brushing my teeth, the applied toothpaste drops from my mouth, bleaching – being, among other things, whitening toothpaste – the area of my shirt it gloppily lands on. 

Trust me.  You cannot get that stuff out!  I have numerous shirts, few of which are actually wearable.

Ergo, to strategically avoid sartorial carnage, I bend over the sink when I am brushing my teeth.

Triggering a surprising (and, as mentioned, embarrassing) discovery, I would not have discovered were I not bending over the sink brushing my teeth.

To my startled chagrin, there, sitting forlornly at the bottom of the sink, is one isolated wisp of hair, a recognized refugee from the top of my head.  (Being identical in color to the hair still, thankfully, attached.  (I shall not dwell on that color, for fear of ruffling the feathers of contemporaries with hair-color more age-appropriate than my luxuriant brown, a genetic anomaly I would happily trade for sturdier heart valves.)

Anyway, there it is – a personal hair sample, adrift on a sea of alien porcelain.

Why did it suddenly fall out?  I have no answering idea.  There is no hair in my morning granola.  No telltale strands, decorating my pillow.  It only happens, it seems, when I bend of over the sink brushing my teeth.  And then, o
nly one – or at most two – displaced specimen at a time.

I run the water in the sink – the “evidence” swirls down the drain, reuniting with lost friends, the new arrival fused to the fraternal clump.

“Is this heaven?”

“No.  It’s Earl’s plumbing.  Rapidly clogging as we speak.”

The whole process perplexes me.  It is not like I am dancing a vigorous “Frug” over the sink, my head, bopping to the pulsating beat.  I casually bend over the sink, and

“Oh, look!  There’s a hair!”

How lightly must it have been affixed to my skull, if casual bending made it suddenly descend?

Triggering this culminating dilemma:

If I brush my teeth in a vertical position, I risk mutilating my shirts.  But if I bend over the sink,

I watch myself balding,

One follicle at a time.

I know there’s a third option:

Brushing my teeth shirtless.

But then I’m cold.  Daubing runaway toothpaste off of my chest.

That’s my post, conceived standing in one place.

He said, lingering at his desktop,

Imagining applause.

1 comment:

JED said...

Life is just too complicated.