Friday, March 12 2021

argo, replacement coffee parts, and old hair fads



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Happy Friday. So what have you gotten up to in the last nine hours since we’ve talked? All I have to account for is drinking some wine and watching a little more of Argo with Marissa. Do you remember the movie Argo? It’s that Ben Affleck flick based on the story of how the US government smuggled some American ambassadors out of Iran by pretending they were a film crew for a crummy sci-fi movie. It’s a solid film. The only thing keeping it from being a master piece are the embarrassing things Ben Affleck says when he’s trying to be tough. Trust me, this is what I do. I’m a bad ass. I get people out. I wanted nothing more than for one of the actors to break character and say, “Wait, you’re Ben Affleck. Why would they send Ben Affleck - oh God, we’re going to die!” What makes the movie are the character actors. You get a fiery get me the chief of staff speech from Bryan Cranston and a hilarious, profanity riddled tongue lashing from the guy who played the grandpa in Little Miss Sunshine.

I remembered that I forgot to tell a funny story from yesterdays hectic haircut morning. Skipping the usual writing time gave me an extra half hour before I would have to leave for the salon, and if I couldn’t write I was looking forward to some time to at least silently collect my thoughts. But while assembling the coffee machine, I noticed the little plastic screw-in spout was missing. I had a vague memory of holding it in my hand the night before while putting other dishes away in the dining room. I knew I had misplaced it, probably setting somewhere dumb like on a window sill or a corner of a table.

So instead of sitting quietly and drinking coffee, I used the time to frantically search around my kitchen for the missing plastic piece. I gave up, and in a moment of blind panic I took a seat at the computer and ordered a $10 replacement part on the spot. Marissa would discover the part an hour later while grabbing a cereal bar.

“It was behind the coffee mug, silly,” she said. “It was literally sitting right next to the coffee machine. Do you want to cancel the order?”

“Nah,” I said dismissively. “It was just ten bucks, and after what I went through this morning while looking for it, that’s worth the peace of mind of just having a backup.”

Sip. So how are you feeling today? I just showered, and I’m happy to report that my hair finally feels like mine. Yesterday, I felt more like I was just wearing a really nice, fragrant wig all day. You can go ahead and add not feeling like yourself to the long list of problems that can be simply solved with a hot shower. Not get enough sleep? Shower. Get too much sleep? Shower. Eat too much? Bored? Sore? Sick? Just shower it all away.

My hair feels like mine, but the new fragrant smell is back. As advised, I started applying this sea salt spray to it in the mornings. I can’t believe how easy it is to use - it’s like rubbing water in your hair, but it leaves behind more volume and texture. This stuff is definitely an upgrade from the days of hair gel and styling putty.

You know what? It’s kind of a ramble-filled day. I’m at a loss for things to talk about anyway, how about I just give you a timeline of all the hair fads I remember from growing up. Buckle up, we’re about to talk about some bad haircuts.

When I was really little, I didn’t care about my hair very much. My mom would take me to places like The Hair Cuttery and Super Cuts. You’d think cutting a little boy’s hair would be pretty straight forward, but I remember many occasions where I’d leave the salon with crooked bangs or different length sideburns.

The first time I had any say in what my hair looked like was when my neighbor Doug got a buzz cut. “Touch it,” said Doug. “It feels smooth going one way and prickly the other way.”

Shaving off all your hair. What a fascinating concept! I asked my mom if I could get a buzz cut. I didn’t even care about how it looked, it was just kind of a liberating way to exercise your limited sphere of influence as a kid. Plus, showing up at school the next day with completely different hair was a fun way to get fifteen minutes of fame in the classroom. The buzz look caught on, and for each boy in my class that showed up the next day with all his hair gone, my fourth grade teacher would make a quip about how they lost a fight with a lawn mower or something. I remember the “shaver level” was something of a bragging point - He asked for a 2, but I just went all the way with a 1.

But the buzz doesn’t age well. The hair grows outward at the same length like a chia pet. Weeks later, it just looks like you’re wearing one of those old leather football helmets, if it were made of hair.

In fifth grade, I would discover hair gel. My morning routine was to squirt Dep 9 hair gel into my head and run it straight backwards to make spikes. If I was feeling picky, I’d gather some of the smaller spikes to make bigger ones, but that was tricky business. The goal was to make it look like you don’t care how it looks, and that was actually a lot of work. Additionally, it was hard finding a hair gel strong enough to last through the day. After sitting in a hot school with no air condition and running around in gym class, the gel would mix with my sweat and start to melt. So I tried stronger gel - Dep 10, Dep 11, Dep 12, Dep 12 ULTRA.

Then the swoop happened. The idea was to use hair gel to just fold all your hair forward, then more gel to stand up the ends. If done correctly, your bangs hardened forming what looked like the break of a wave. This was much easier to manage than a whole set of spikes. You could quickly dry your hair after gym class and reshape your bangs. In the morning, my friends and I used to compare our bang swoops to see whose was the crustiest. On its own merit, it wasn’t a terrible look. What was embarrassing is how glaringly obvious it was that everyone was just copying each other.

Seems I’m out of time. I know I had you on pins and needles with this hair fad nostalgia, but we’ll have to save it for another time. Have a great Friday, everyone.