Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Ears On Straight
I know by now that I really shouldn't get my hair cut at a national chain haircut store, but at this point there's no going back. Besides my gnawing, soul-destroying addiction to the blue disinfectant liquid they keep the combs in, my haircut store is like a carny midway. There's the girl with the glass eye and even a midget (or at least there used to be) for your obvious uncomfortable-staring pleasure.

But even the "normal" ones, the ones who are under 500 years old, 700 lbs. and apply their make-up with something other than a trowel, can surprise you with the freak-show nature of their personalities.

The principle reason I had kids wasn't for the companionship or responsibility or even just as a ploy to guilt my wife into procreative sex, mostly it was so I would have something to put between myself and total strangers in situations where conversation is in danger of flaring up. Before I had kids, the hair-cutters, the people in waiting rooms, my court-mandated rehab counselor, anybody who wanted to talk to me had to hear about me. I would tell them I studied history and all of them--to a person--would say "Wow, history. How do remember all those dates?", which always made me start slowly scanning the room for an opportunity to kill myself (ironically the best chances are in the salon with all the scissors and electrical cords... it's harder in some of the other places I've been where they take away your belt and your shoelaces).

Now when they ask what I do, I say I stay home with my kids. There is the outside chance that we might end up on the "Mister Mom" conversation track which always, always ends with me violating the conditions of my parole. But 9 times out of 10 we go down the "Really? How many do you have? Boys or girls? What are their names?" track which is fine. This is the reason I put in all that time going to the OB/GYN appointments with my wife and sitting through the utterly disgusting process of childbirth three times, to provide myself with a means of social deflection. If I talk slowly enough and pretend to be hard of hearing I can stretch it out to the entire length of a hair-cut without much effort.

This Saturday I even brought one--the oldest one--as a prop just in case I got the midget girl again. I needed a point of tertiary focus. His schedule was clear, so I dragged him along.

Sadly, the midget hairdresser was nowhere to be found. It's possible she was hiding since, as we all know, midgets are expert hiders. Instead I got one of the Normal Ones.

We were happily meandering along Child Conversation Track B, What Are Your Kids' Names? My kids all have very traditional names (Indigo, Hiawatha and Roger-Daltrey), so I explained a little about their history and where they come from in my family. Boiler-plate stuff, right off the little preparatory conversation index cards I've memorized.

Madame Hair-Cut, she of average stature and two non-marble eyes, just stared in slack-jawed horror at the idea that anyone might give their children "regular" names that might be shared by any other person. So she countered with Conversation Track B, Tangent Option #7, Why I Cursed My Child With A Fucked Up Made-Up Name. I got the whole thing about how she and her husband wanted to name their daughter "Payton" but couldn't agree on the spelling. I assumed it was some kind of Oxford Debating Society shake-out between Payton and Peyton, but no. She says her husband was insisting that there be an H in the girl's name, "Phayton" but still pronounced with the hard P-sound in the beginning.

Oh how Madame Hair-Cut and I laughed and laughed at the fucking rock stupidity of the moronic bastard she had the misfortune of procreating with! What a tool!

She said they solved the problem (and this is true) by coming up with a list of twelve alternate spellings of the name and having their families vote. I guess I can understand it because we did something similar in our family when we voted to send Grandpa to the nursing home at age 47. He still got around fine, we just none of us liked him much. Kinda dull. And always with the goddamn knock-knock jokes.

Anyways, with great pride and obvious creative superiority over me and my mundanely-named offspring, she announced to me that her daughter's name was spelled P-a-e-d-t-i-n.

No H anywhere to be found. You know what that tells me? Not only is her husband spelling-challenged, he's also an emasculated gimp. If 8 years of marriage has taught me anything it's that if you're going to put a stupid-ass idea out there, you fight for it until you win, no matter how retarded. That's how we ended up with the Pinocchio fountain in our front yard. And a third kid. I'm the man.

So that's it. I can't not go back to that chain haircut store. I can't imagine what's going to happen to me there next. Maybe I'll be in line behind Sasquatch or get stabbed in the eye with a hot roller. Either way I bet I get a long-ass blogpost out of it.

Stop complaining. At least it wasn't Star Wars again.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.7



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