Thursday, January 13, 2005

Grey Hair - A Cautionary Tale

My nose hair is turning grey.

Chest hair too. As a 35 year-old man, I find this a bit less disturbing than nuclear war, but somewhat more disturbing than peanut butter and jelly in one jar. Suffice it to say, I am in a state of disturbment over the matter. So disturbed was I, that I resolved to procure an electric nose-hair trimmer. I had long resisted machine driven nose hair trimming, instead rolling the dice with a small pair of scissors, and risking the painful and bloody inner-nasal laceration. Still desperate times call for desperate measures, so I proceeded directly to my “Gold Box”, the source of many wondrous and steeply discounted household items. Joy of joys, the trusty Gold Box provided just the ticket – a steeply discounted motor driven “Wet n’ Dry Personal Trimmer”.

Upon receiving my Gold Box-supplied nose hair trimmer, I inserted a couple of AA batteries, stuck ‘er into a nostril and threw the switch. What happened next is almost too painful for me to recount. Instead of performing its advertised “trimming”, this fiendish device located, grasped tightly and wrenched in a spiral motion all hairs rooted between the tip of my nose and the surface of my brain, dropping me at once to my knees, and bringing forth from me a manly tear that has undoubtedly scarred my eldest son for life.

Having firmly and forever ruled out machine-based trimming (I have a Pavlovian tearful response to most buzzing sounds now) I have resorted to the admittedly barbaric but strangely pleasing practice of simply yanking nose hairs out one at a time with my fingers. The trick is to grasp them as hard as you can, gather your resolve, and thrust your hand forward and slightly skyward, ending in a pose that might suggest to some that you are about to say “Alas poor Yorick”...except that, with any luck, you have a nose hair in your hand and NOT a skull (note: if you have a skull in your hand after this procedure, it is safe to assume it is your own, and something has gone dreadfully wrong – see your doctor.) Assuming you have emerged victorious, you have a nose hair in your clutches. Two things about this are fascinating. First, it is often my experience that the sheer length of the hair is delightful. Some are so long, I would swear that if I could capture the plucking maneuver on high resolution, high speed film, as I pulled skyward, you would simultaneously see a single hair sucking into the top of my head, disappearing into its follicle like a strand of spaghetti into the mouth of a voracious Italian, and reemerging (backwards) from my nose. Second fascinating note, I find that the tiny nugget of nose that is generally still attached to the end of the nose hair, in terms of its adhesive qualities, rates right up there with the most tenacious post-it notes. I have performed highly controlled, double blind experiments (neither the post-it nor the hair know they are the subject of a study) and found the nose hair to remain stuck to my computer monitor LONG after the post it note has fatigued, fluttered down, stuck ever so briefly to my shoe, and been deposited somewhere between my desk and the coffee machine. Sadly, my wife does not share my love of sticky nose globules. This has caused an inverse correlation between nose hairs harvested in her presence and her presence. Alas, I am relegated to office plucking. Nonetheless, I heartily commend my system to you. You might even be able to make game of it! Stick them to the window! On the fridge! Alone or in pairs! Then show them to your friends and claim that you think your house is growing cilia!

Happy plucking!