HAIR PAIN

RON’S WISDOM SALONA fictional advice column

Dear Ron,
My problem is this: I cannot get my hair cut right. I tell my barber to stop at the point where it looks to be the right length. Okay. So what happens? I walk outside, catching my reflection in shop windows and  feeling pretty good about the length. Next I go home and take a shower and shampoo. What that does, believe it or not, is make my hair seem a lot shorter than it was in all those shop windows.

And this less- than-hairy look is something I have to live with for the next week or so, which causes my digestive juices to circulate so horribly that I am forever expelling gas. PLEASE don’t tell me to have my barber stop cutting sooner. I did that last time and had the problem of overhairiness, which was just as painful. I don’t know anymore what to say to my barber. (which has caused another problem, but not to go there at this juncture)

Hair Horror

Dear Hair,

Hair can be horrible –no doubt  about it. Why do we have hair at all is the question I have been asking myself since the age of six. I finally found the answer in my 65th year: We have inherited it from our simian ancestors. Apparently it is a way for animals to protect themselves from the elements. Big deal! I mean it’s cold, you jump into a pair of woollen long ones, right? No need to have hairy legs.

The same for the head. Wrap a scarf around it and travel. What in the world is the point of hair? Itches, becomes a snowstorm when you scratch that makes you  resemble Christmastime in a fairytale. Washing it takes forever and you always get shampoo in out of the way places. You dry it, it blows every which way but the right one. Then it sticks up where you don’t want it to and flattens out when you don’t want it to. It changes colour and nobody told it to. And it’s the first damn thing you see when you look at somebody. You are always comparing thicknesses.

If I had the ear of Mother Nature, I would ask her to do away with the pesky problem altogether. Just leave us with a nice smooth surface and be done with it. But She, knowing women, would probably be too busy at the beauty parlour to give me a straight answer. About your problem? I am just too agitated about the wider question to give you responsible guidelines at the moment. My hair is such a mess! Forgive me, Hair.

I know this didn’t help.

DREAM DIARY

I am teaching an Adult ESL class. There are not many students present. Anita is there. She and I are simulating an argument between a couple in order to generate a conversation on this by the students later in English. One of the students, a middle-aged woman interrupts and states that she objects to this exercise and wants to leave. We stop. I think about the situation. I do not have anything else I wish to start and there is about an hour left in the class. I tell her if she does not like it to just go. At this point, other students who were absent show up, including a man I like very much. The woman who wanted to leave suddenly gets very angry. She approaches me and puts a hand on my chest, poking it. I tell her plainly that if she does not stop this she will regret it, but she continues. I grab her hair and see her face actually fall apart into pieces. I am horrified. The dream ends.

DON’T BUY SHAMPOO IF YOU’RE BALD

RON’S WISDOM SALONA fictional advice column

Dear Ron,

Sometimes I think that I am wasting my life. I have this anxiety that I should be doing something with my life, but I am never able to decide what that “it” is. Maybe writing to you will show me the light. Sorry if this is too vague.

Existential Ed

Dear Ed,

You certainly wrote to the right person.  I spent the morning checking the oil quality on various body parts.

Let me pick out some words you employ:  “Wasting. Anxiety. Vague.”  Waste, according to the dictionary can mean many things.( They always list five or six meanings of one word which is annoying . I will go with number three. “To fail to use…” )

Are you failing to use something? Let us say you have a key that you never use. Well, you are wasting that key. It might be for a lock you don’t have  anymore. What should you do in that case? Throw the damn thing out, of course, or give it away as a gift.

Let us say you have shampoo and you are a bald person. Stop buying shampoo. It is a waste. Get the picture? But –and this is a pretty big but- I think I am hearing from you that you are wasting time. Okay. You can’t throw time in the garbage, can you? Or stop buying it. What you can do is to use it. Use it to do something. Get up in the morning and give yourself an objective for the day. Go to the toilet. Have a cracker and some marmalade.

Help someone out. Be a volunteer. That is always satisfying. Knock on your neighbour’s door and offer to do his dishes.  Don’t take no for an answer. If you see a lady carrying a purse that is probably heavy, offer to take it off her hands. You would be surprised at her reaction. Don’t let her give you anything back either. If she objects, just smile and insist.

You mention anxiety. Don’t let her anxiety throw you off. All people are a bit shy about speaking to strangers. At first. Once she gets to know you, it will be different. And never be vague. Tell them exactly what to want to do.  Say, “I want to polish your car.” Or better yet, find their key, get right in the driver’s seat and tell them that you will take them around town.

I hope you are catching on. Once you get home at night you won’t feel like you have been wasting your time at all. Let me know how it all went.

YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO STRETCH YOUR CAP

RON’S WISDOM SALONA fictional advice column

Dear Ron,
My problem fits into the fashion/hair category. I love my cap and I love to wear it constantly in the winter. What happens is that every time I take it off when I arrive somewhere I notice that my hair is flat. It throws my haircut which is giving me all manner of grief.  Do you think I should give up my cap or make peace with my ruined haircut?
Larry

Dear Larry,
My first question to you is: why do you take your cap off at all? You could resolve the issue by just keeping the cap on the whole time, and that way people would not have to witness your flat hair. All the boys are doing it these days, haven’t you noticed? It is “in”, the thing to do. The world is starting to resemble a Passover dinner or the inside of a dugout. You would look fashionable and maybe even meet new people in the process. Try it and let me know what happens.

Dear Ron,
I thought of that, but find it poses a problem of its own. If I wear the cap inside, my forehead starts to heat up causing a band of perspiration to form and eventually drip down onto my nose, making me have to  take the cap off to expose my ruined haircut.  Please! Sometimes I feel like the gods are against me.
Larry

Dear  Larry,
The dripping part is unfortunate.  Couldn’t you fit a little Kleenex in there to sop up the dampness? By the way, of what religious persuasion are you? I don’t know of many with more than one God.

Dear Ron,
The “gods” comment was just hyperbole I used to express my malcontent with my pesky situation.  I mean if there were more than one god, would they really have the time to get together to form a conspiracy against me, Larry? I am not that paranoid, but I am in despair about the cap/haircut problem. Your suggestion that I use Kleenex may be good, but what happens if it falls out and into my soup, for example.  I think I would feel awful if that happened.  It would then pose another problem, wouldn’t it? Would I be able to continue eating my soup?
Larry

Dear Larry,

It would depend on how tasty the soup was initially, but yes, I do get your point. Larry, there are times in the lives of men when a man must do what a man must do: I am sorry to have to tell you this but you are just going to have to stretch your cap. It can be done. Ask any haberdasher. It’s called “propping.” They can push it out so that your hair will have enough room to relax. Good luck and if you dare, let me know how your hair fares.

MY BEDSHEET DILEMMA

RON’S WISDOM SALONA fictional advice column

Dear Ron,

I don’t know what to do about my bed sheets. I wash them, I dry them, and you know what happens? They come out all wrinkled. Now I have to sleep on wrinkled sheets. Not only that. When I look at my sheets I think of my poor face which is starting to look like a prune and I want to heave.  Can’t they make sheets that don’t wrinkle, or is that too much to ask in our age of miracles?

Bedroom Blues

Dear Bedroom Blues,

I can sympathize. There is nothing sadder than wrinkled sheets. A close second I think would be world hunger. Wrinkles are also dangerous  in that they chafe and can even cut the skin if you are unlucky enough to be an active sleeper.

What pops immediately to mind from my bag of advice options is the iron. Yes, it is a chore and cuts down on your shopping time, but it has been known to fight the bumps. You would have to get a large ironing board, though, because the ones we usually  find are too narrow for sheets.  I am not sure where these can be purchased, but common sense tells me to locate a shop which caters to the over weight .

If that is not to your liking, a cover-up is the next best  strategy.  Throw a spread over it so that you won’t know it is there, and that way it will be out of mind and not cause you anguish. Or shut your eyes before you hit the sack and snap off the lights immediately, of course, remembering to  keep them closed  in the morning when the sheets are likely to be even more wrinkled.

If you are feeling really testy about the matter, I would encourage you to find others who share your problem and band together to harass the makers of those wrinkle-prone sheets with a constant barrage of e-mail, threatening to sue if they cannot come up with a better product.

You might like to cut down on mirror time as well so that you are not as pained by the prune effect. Good luck and let me know once you get the problem ironed out.

MAYBE YOUR PANTS DON’T BREATHE

RON’S WISDOM SALON: A fictional advice column

Dear Ron,
I have a kinda sticky problem. If I am in my car, driving for at least a half hour at a stretch, my behind gets very hot, to the point that I begin to feel like what I imagine an egg must in the process of getting hard boiled. It does not feel too great I can tell you. What can I do about this other than to stop driving?
Baked

Dear Baked,

I have pondered this considerably and have come up with a possible explanation. Your trousers. Maybe your pants don’t breathe sufficiently. Or maybe your underwear is too tight. Try clothes that enjoy breathing.  Cotton is an option.
Otherwise, I would keep the window wide open, and elevate your backside from time to time to invite air contact. One cheek at a time is a good way to do it, rotating each to get maximum contact for about thirty seconds, but carefully watching the road at the same time. Good luck and rotate responsibly.

HOW IT HAPPENED

We sit in opposition
Like cars gearing up for a
Game of chicken.
The wind blusters in your
Eyes, your piano voice comes
In crystals. I feel the years
Between us that have
Fallen off, revealing a hard
Skeleton  of love in place.
But
How  we try each
Other for fault! Your vanity,
my hands cut off at
The wrist. I have no
Stomach to pick through
These remains again or retrace
Plot points on the map
To here. I see it as a
Happy accident that
We have survived
Together at all,
Certainly not any of my
Doing.  Was it the god
Of inertia who intervened,
limited horizons pressing
Against motion?
Were we not brave enough,
and if so,
Has it not taken us down
A step?
Or
Was it something else entirely,
A flame of recognition
That held a mutual gaze
And burned everything else
Away?

==========

SIGNATURE

You wait
And if it doesn’t come you wait some more,
It is something like fishing
Except you don’t do it in the sun.
It is not exactly pleasant
And it is not exactly unpleasant either
And
Why you do it
is difficult to answer.
It has something to do with compulsion
Your having to know that you can,
On that day
come up with something
That will definitely surprise you.
So you court the gods gravely and fervently
Because you know that it is not really
You at all who is going to do the work.
It is rather a chorus of Voices somewhere
Inside your nervous system
that will come to visit you,
Bringing with them words as gifts to you,
Which they offer in muffled tones or
In fits and starts, or in lengthier
Instalments that you take down
At your keyboard you hope in the right
Order.
You want to receive the message correctly
not mishear it,
And you have to learn to trust that what they tell you
Is in fact the truth because you have no way of verifying
It.
Of course there will be at some point an overseer who
tinkers and censors
And deletes
A sort of Father Figure editor
Who must get the package wrapped correctly.
But that is the easy part really because the gift is already
There,
in whole
or in part.

Later, you and others will determine whether it was
A cheap gift or an expensive one.
You will provide your signature,
The Voices will be relegated to obscurity.

But
You know in your heart that you are probably
an imposter,
At best, an interceptor,
And the Voices will not be there to either
Confirm or deny it.

================

HOW TO BEAT AN INSULT

We have all been insulted some time or other in our life. And it is important that one learns to take insults well if we are to retain any measure of self-respect. When someone says to you, “Why don’t you go fuck yourself?” How can you most handily respond to that?

Act interested . Go, “Why don’t I go fuck myself, indeed?” Have your  fingertip at your lip, your head cocked at an upturned angle while you say this.  It is possible, though unlikely, that the big-mouth will join you in attempting to answer their own question,  Or you could choose to remind them it is none of their business. Your insult to them. But the better course is to stay on the high road and not play tit for tat.  It is possible that the person decides to up the ante with a more direct “Fuck you” or “Fuck off.”

Now you must clarify matters. Explain to the frustrated soul that you don’t wish to do either. Be firm but kind. Remind them that we live in a democracy, that they are neither your guardian nor your stockbroker (if in fact it is the case)  and that you don’t wish to take their advice. Or, contrarily, that you may just do what they have suggested. Thank them for their tough-love manner and wish them well in their day.

If this leads to a physical threat, raise your hand and take on a stance of “Brother, you know not what you do!”  in the style  of Harvey Keitel, admonishing his flock in Martin Scorcese’s old movie, The Last Temptation of Christ.  It is always useful to have a model in mind when you make a magnanimous gesture. It may even get uglier. If so, employ one of Ghandi’s tactics and sit on the ground. Do not allow yourself to be hurt, but don’t resist either.  Do the right thing, a la the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Hopefully, a crowd will encircle you that includes a burly off-duty policeman. If that doesn’t happen, play dead, or convince the person that it is time for your nap. It is always amazing what people will accept at face value. The important thing is to keep them guessing and preferably under the impression that you cannot be bullied, or that you are mentally unbalanced and capable of untold destruction if pushed to it.

The best alternative, however, may still be the flight reaction. But usually it does not come to that. What is the worst that can happen? You die. There are worse things than death,( which I won’t get into at this juncture.) Suffice it say that even if you did die, you would know (how, I have no idea!) that you did the right thing. You did not insult back.  You did not steep to their level. You acted with dignity, forbearance, a smattering of intelligence, bluff. You danced well. You went out in style (whatever that means) Could they say the same? It is more than likely that they will at some point regret what they said or did to you, or they may even become born-again and go on to years of meetings in dank basements with badly dressed overweight people .

You will have changed the person. they might never insult another person again, or at least in the same manner.  You have made a difference!

=====================

WHAT IS THE MYSTERY?


Write about it.

Write about what?

Find an” it” and write about it.

This is it.

Then what can we say about it?

That it’s here

Where?

Right here.

I can’t see. It’s too dark.

That’s it.

The darkness?

Yes.

What can we say about the darkness?

It’s dark.

Yes,… and?

And you don’t know where anything is.

Go on.

And It’s on my shoulder now.

Yes  It’s heavy, isn’t it

It’s gone now.

A little light, then?

Yes but it’s still hard to see.

Maybe you need glasses.

It’s possible.

Which it is it now?

There is only one it.

Darkness?

Yes.

Everything is possible in darkness.

Is it?

It is.

I see.

It’s too dark to see.

I know.

That’s it.

SOLITARY CONFINEMENT

The package wears a bow-tie. He smiles at the clock. He can’t go anywhere or do anything because packages don’t move on their own and there is nothing that moves him. Being self-aware, He observes himself as weight. Gravity is the rule that owns him. Repetition is the game that plays him in a slow, evenly paced drip that marks time. More accurately, it is the clock that changes position, and the smile indicates nothing because it has been pasted on, it signifies no particular emotion. It remains perhaps because it relaxes his face and has become a habit and habit is what keeps him. He notices his chest, a block heaving, and sometimes gets lost in its momentum. In moments like this he goes away and then returns . He returns to the same place, to his body, to the repetition, to the arena of pain. Everything is old, solid, unchanged. He listens to his body, to the noises that wash over it in a functional , predictable sequence- the passages, the objections, the causes and effects, the tedium. He tries to listen for something different and then concludes that it has all been done just the same as it always has, in eternal, concentric stasis . He remembers, he still can remember, the sun, the moon, their dance in light and darkness. The clock moves once again and the past spins out as well with all the unreality of soap bubbles. It could be another mind that invented it. The mind means nothing, can’t be trusted to produce anything reliable. He is his body: Limited. Immobile. Circumscribed, as if spirit has been extricated leaving a corpse that is watching itself. A stone watching a stone, watching the clock move over frozen time.

=======================

 

NOT A LECTURE

The human mind is relentless

at what it wants to get.

When there is a pay-off, don’t worry,

It will be there in one way or another

To turn over the earth for its desired worm.

Your call will be returned.

You’ll be called “sir”

There will be bells and smiles at your command.

The whole world will tickle your fancy

Till the worm is there in the hand.

Then it will be farewell and good luck

And see you soon, maybe,

Until the next worm is wished for.

Self- interest is a funny thing

Because it makes people into things.

It makes us a hinge on the door

To someone else’s gain.

I’d rather be called something else,

Like friend.

Let’s spend some time together.

Let’s have mutual pleasure.

What’s -in it- for- me

is a nowhere strategy

That subtracts from our humanity.

Let’s be

Animals that care for each other.

Your gain is mine

Mine is ours,

A communism of the heart

In a time when the heart has become

nearly dysfunctional.

It’s possible

To transcend the fear of losing,

Being less

Because you have given.

There are just rewards before heaven.

A life of me and mine

Is less than satisfactory.

So find your generosity.

(This is not a plea from

An ad agency.)

=======================

WHY?

 

I just told someone something

I am sure will kill me.

In the end I will be dead,

But not dead enough to regret

What I said.

Yet what is the good of truth

When you come down to it?

It glares, it smashes your head against

Your most tender parts.

Its reverberations last

Well into the next dilemma.

Making enemies of even the kindest people.

 

I beg for release…

From truth.

Being ground down each new day,

Knowing it will end

End badly, probably,l

I am paralyzed and the only thing I can do

Is laugh…

And worst of alI

I have no idea

Why.

Strange sounds are the last things

I hear

And

Yes,

A groaned

“Why?”

Among these.

 

==================

L ‘WREN

L’Wren Scott

la-styliste-l-wren-scott_4858771

When the bird died

I cried

She was so long and lithe

Hung from her French door.

And the world sighed,

‘Why? She had everything.’

 

Everything is not nearly enough,

There is nowhere to go from there

No real air,

Everything marked up with checks

And squares

To convince oneself this is a life.

 

I suppose we convince ourselves,

We must. Otherwise

Hell meets us face first

To declare the worst.

How to survive?

She tried , but she

Is no longer alive.

Mort-de-L-Wren-Scott-devaste-Mick-Jagger-ecrit-Je-ne-comprends-pas_portrait_w674

=======================================================

UNANSWERED

I am waiting for something,

Waiting for something to emerge

Or end,

For the leaf in the wind

to divulge its secret

In this ground-down residue

Of a failed experiment.

 

At the wheel in restlessness

The signs that pass

Say nothing in earnest

The right books might as well

Have been written in Braille,

There is not a shred of evidence.

I cannot dress up in the past

I cannot rest

Until I find out

Whether all of this

Is not just a nuisance

But a test.

 

Still,

I will not have it burned in

That to love is sufficient.

Is the moment of birth equal to the moment of death?

I am inclined toward this thesis

Death is such a long process.

Will I wake up in the end

Or will I be oblivious?

 

In actual fact, this

is a matter of indifference

As long as I am not made to come back.

It is just that

Success has been less

Than the failure I’ve had.

Though I have no regret,

In the final breath

Failure is all we get.

================================

EGO

Prayer is beseeching

Prayer is supplicating

I

do not pray!

I demand

That

I listen

And

I act,

 

Focussing

On a fiery red sun

Somewhere low

Somewhere central

In an oriental mystery.

To sharpen recall

And destiny,

I command that energy.

 

Anyone anywhere,

Beware!

Your death is closer

If you think

To impose your order,

 

You are a mere impostor.

 

Step away,

You  are already invisible!

 

I  am

That higher power,

 

A  sovereign

Of

 

All  who I need

 

More and more

To see me

To adore me

To see me

For who I want to be.

============================