Constrain

Constrain: (v) to compel or force someone toward a particular course of action

I stopped being political many years ago when folks pushed me to join a party. They constrained me.

I ceased being religious when I realized that I couldn’t just love my neighbor as myself, but needed to sit my butt down for an hour-long funny wisdom on words that begin with a Cservice of boredom, which I was supposed to pay for in the offering plate. They constrained me to be a church attendee.

I refused to be super-macho in order to prove to all the men and women in the world that I was worthy of consideration, though the constraint to do so was extraordinarily intense.

My thought has always been, if a candidate isn’t worthy to hold office, advertising him or her as one of your party does not increase his or her value.

Likewise, if God needs my money instead of my heart, then maybe He should go out and get a job.

And if hair on your head, hair on your face and hair on your balls is the symbol of manhood, then I would prefer to languish in the animal kingdom.

When anyone tries to constrain you to do something, using intimidation or threatening that if you don’t, you won’t belong, you won’t be saved or you won’t “get the chicks,” then you should smile and say, “No, thanks. See ya’ later. I have an appointment to talk with myself.”

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Comely

Comely: (adj) typically of a woman) pleasant to look at; attractive.

If you just sit down (or stand, if you like) and think about it, the human race is pretty damn shallow. That’s why you have to be careful, if you’re studying, not to dive in. It’s just not deep enough and you’ll probably end up breaking your neck.

There are basically three things overall that make a woman comely: face, breasts and smell.

Also there are three things that allegedly make a man equally as comely: hair, muscles and confidence.

Now, you can see immediately that after the initial admiration, appreciation and enjoyment of a pretty face, a nice rack of boobs and an adequate sniff, it still comes down to dinner and conversation.

If that is awkward, “comely” quickly becomes “go-ly.”

And if the woman is sitting with a man who has thick hair, muscles and tons of stories to confirm why he is confident of his superiority, after indulging in the
pleasures of his particular prowess for a brief season, she basically ends up with a cab driver who can’t carry his share of dialogue.

For you see, there is what makes us come, and then there is what makes us stay.

And although I must admit, it is delightful to be comely, what you want is to develop the character, the humor and the gentleness to make someone want to remain in your presence for more than just overnight.

 

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Chewing Gum

Chewing gum: (n) flavored gum for chewing

Early on in my life, I decided there were two types of people I did not want to become: argumentative and complaining. I find that anyone who pursues these two qualities always ends up turning off anyone they know and feeling very alone.

So I am not going to be argumentative, nor do I share this story with a complaining spirit.

One night I fell asleep with a huge wad of bubble gum stuck in my mouth and woke up the next morning with it lodged in my hair. (It was
back when I had hair. Lots of it.)

The gum, for some reason or another, had managed to distribute itself all throughout my locks. When I went to a barber to ask what could be done, the suggestion was made that I shave my head and start from scratch.

I was twenty years old. This was unacceptable.

So a friend of mine decided to look up in the encyclopedia (since there was no Internet at the time) how to remove gum from hair.

There were three suggestions. Being barely out of our teens, we decided to try all of them.

The suggestions were to smear the gum with mayonnaise, peanut butter or motor oil. We divided my hair into thirds and sampled all of the solutions.

None of them worked.

Except… for some reason, the peanut butter and the mayonnaise clung to the gum, making, if possible, an even worse mess.

I did not know what to do.

Finally, another friend of mine attempted to surgically and carefully cut the gum out of my hair, leaving behind whatever part of my “do” remained.

After this process, my head looked like crab grass with dried-out places in between, apparently caused by drought.

It took six weeks–yes, six weeks–before my hair grew out and all the gum was completely dispelled from my scalp.

I still chew gum.

But never as a nocturnal practice.

 

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Beard

Beard: (n) a growth of hair on the chin and lower cheeks of a man’s face.Dictionary B

Call it an oversimplification, but I believe the three stages in the life of a man can be summed up as follows:

  1. Birth
  2. Arrogance
  3. Disproven.

The key to success in human life, wearing a male body, is to arrive at “disproven” with a sense of humor instead of disappointment.

So it was well after my birth, in my season of arrogance, that I decided I wanted to grow a beard. For the life of me I cannot remember what stimulated this notion, but understanding my mindset in that season, it had something to do with being sexy. Because being sexy in the arrogant period of macho life is Number 1 on the Top 5 of important goals.

Of course, you know the problem.

Each one of us is issued a body filled with genetic mishaps, and within that body are limitations. As it turned out, one of mine was the ability to grow a decent beard.

I should have suspected this since I don’t really need to shave every day and only do so to keep up with the “Bill Joneses.”

So since I don’t need to shave all the time, it’s highly unlikely that my face is going to suddenly sprout a bush.

And it didn’t.

It grew in various portions of acreage, leaving other areas deserted.

I was unable to grow any hair on my cheeks, so my beard made me look like I was trying to become a Jew instead of a gigolo.

I persisted.

I used eyebrow pencil to fill it in for a long time, before finally one day I looked in the mirror and pitied my poor efforts.

As it turns out, I can grow a mustache and a soul patch.

I call it a beard. This shall satisfy my need for arrogance as I continue on in my understanding of being disproven.

 

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Aquarius

dictionary with letter A

Aquarius (n): the eleventh sign of the Zodiac.

“This is the dawning of the …”

The next part of this lyric from the song in Hair is “…Age of Aquarius.”

I happen to really enjoy that production and the tune, even though I grew up in a religious environment which believed that all astrology was “of the devil.”

Yes. Leave it to Satan to come up with a practice where everything is left to chance and the moving of the stars.

So as a kid, it was difficult to sing the song, share the song or even refer to the song around grownups. They would warn me that I was welcoming in dark demons, which would later infest me with horrible attitudes like failing to pay my electric bill.

It was difficult–because truth is much like water. It tends to come from everywhere and surprise us with how similar it is, considering its divergent points of origin.

Some water comes from the mountains through melted snow.

Some from the sky.

Some from wells from deep within the earth.

But pour it in a cup, drink it down and it’s refreshing.

I have to be honest with you–the off-Broadway musical, Hair, did more to enlighten me, generate social consciousness and make me compassionate than any sermon I ever heard in church.

It was raw, a little silly and laced with too much hopefulness.

But without that kind of childlike faith, we all become cynical growling adults. And deep in my heart, I wish there was an Age of Aquarius. I dream of how wonderful it would be if the stars would shift, Jupiter would align with Mars and attitudes would improve.

But I think I’m stuck with the symbolism–or maybe I’m Jupiter and my brother is Mars and the truth of life is still stuck in the closet somewhere … of the seventh house.

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Alopecia

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alopecia: (n.) a condition in which partial or complete loss of hair occurs from areas of the body where it normally grows; baldness

I think I’ve finally found a word that’s worse than “bald.” I just don’t believe I could bring myself to tell folks that I suffer from “alopecia.”

It’s hair.

I have to admit that having hair is a very positive experience.

Somehow or another I knew even when I was in my early twenties that the hair that was visiting my scalp had no intention of staying over for more than a summer vacation. Yes, by the time I was in my mid-thirties I was fairly depleted of hair, although I made a few vague attempts to cover up my lack.

There was even a spray that you could squirt on your head, and if you matched the color just right, from a distance it appeared as if you still had your pate covered with some sort of hue. But it was messy, ugly, and after a while people became aware that it was available so they would ask you embarrassing questions like, “Is that hair, or have you just been sprayed?” (You realize, there is no dignified answer for that question.)

For a season I wore hats, which made it appear that there might be hair growth underneath, but kept it a secret so as not to age me or make me feel vacant.

I cannot tell you that I wear my baldness with pride. But sometimes, I am grateful. Honestly, you don’t have to wash the top of your head nearly as much as you do your hair. Most of the time, I just don’t notice.

Yet I must be honest–if there were a cure for baldness that didn’t make a ridiculous appearance on the top of your bean that looked like a miniature golf course turf, I might consider doing it.

I’m not sure.

But I have avoided getting a toupee, though on occasion I have threatened to do so.

I realize this article is very scattered–all over the place with different thoughts and emotions.

Think of it as symbolistic of my sentiments on hair loss. 

Afro

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

 

Afro: (n) a hairstyle with very tight curls that sticks out all around the head, like the natural hair of some black people

James was black.

Nothing truly significant can be ascertained without this fact. I do not bring this up because his skin color made him superior OR inferior to anyone else. It just gave him different hair.

James worked for me for a while–matter of fact, lived in my house. It was a rather communal setup, so we shared food, toothpaste, and even hair products.

James was very gentlemanly. It was several weeks of quiet displeasure on his part before I noticed his disgruntled spirit.

I was a bit perturbed so I asked what the problem was. His response was standard.  “Nothing.”

Of course, he knew that his “nothing” was really NOT nothing, and he hoped that I would pursue his “nothing” by trying to find something out. So I did.

“No, no,” I continued. “What’s up?”

After a few more overtures of encouragement, he released his burden. He explained that his hair was not like my hair, and that my “white people” shampoo and conditioner was killing his follicles. I produced a quizzical look, as paler brothers often do.

He asked me to feel his hair–and I discovered it was rather bristly and dry. He explained in vivid detail that his afro, which was very fashionable for the time, needed to be conditioned with the kinds of oil that I would probably find to be greasy, but his hair found necessary.

I think he thought I would be critical, since the idea of purchasing additional products would be expensive, but stepping out of my Anglo-Saxon world and putting down my mace and Viking horns, I agreed. Matter of fact, he took me with him to the store to purchase his items, and even though they tallied up to quite a sum, they made James happy. They also gave a tremendous shine and bounce to his afro.

I learned a lot that day. Even though afros are not as prevalent as they were when James and I were working together, I understood–and I understand now–that what’s good for one person’s do is a don’t for others.