Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Lock Of Love Is In My Eyes

Horrible story. Sixty-eight-year-old lady, name of Lee Redmond, was in a terrible high-speed accident and was thrown clear of her SUV. Tragedy ensued. She broke her fingernails.

She was a world-record holder; each nail was nearly a yard long. In the pictures, she looked like a neatly coiffed giant sloth. There's an interview with her on the web, right next to an ad for fingernail polish, although I think someone missed a bet by not advertising one of those Japanese toilets that do everything but read you the paper.

Because if you look at the pictures of her "before," it's hard not to immediately come up with some everyday tasks that would be just about impossible with those giant claws. That's right--there's no way she's ever going to be able to pull off those arpeggios in the Chopin C-minor Etude. In fact, the entire enterprise of nail-growing seems like a pain in the ass. Nevertheless, although she admits that life after the accident got a lot easier in many ways, she was never tempted, in thirty years, to do away with them. These sorts of ventures get a life of their own, becoming their own justification. I think of it as the Vietnam Escalation syndrome. If you've already lost twenty-eight thousand "boys" over there, the case could be made that it's time to wrap things up and bring everybody home. But that's not the way people reason. If we don't sacrifice twenty-eight thousand more, the first batch will have died in vain. Same exact thing with fingernails. You're thirty years into the thing, you're not going to stop no matter what.

I know how she and Lyndon Johnson felt. I can't cut my hair off. My hair is totally annoying to me, but I've got too much time invested in it. I could cut it off and give the strands to the Locks of Love to be made into wigs for bald children. For that matter, Locks of Love could probably do fine work with one or two weeks' floor sweepings. My hair is all over the place. It's on the floor, it's on the carpet, it's turning into felt in the folds of my recliner. It clumps up and bounds across the bathroom floor like tumbleweeds.

The vacuum cleaner is gagging, and wants to know if John Deere makes anything for the home-appliance market that could roll the stuff into bales. Rogue strands sail silently through the air looking for casseroles to hole up in. The drain in the shower has begun to make that same sustained horking sound that usually precedes the cat getting punted off the bed. The native dust bunny population, cowering under the furniture, is in danger of being overrun.

Some strands never even quite make it off the mainland. I routinely extract hair out of crevices on myself that they didn't originate in, and that I wasn't planning to floss anytime soon. These are likely to be a deal-breaker for Locks of Love.

I know I'll be happier just as soon as I whack it off into the thin, sensible old-lady Prince Valiant bob it wants to be. But unless I have a serious mishap with my bicycle and a nearby weed whacker, I may never get around to it.


  1. Long finger nailed lady totally creepy!! Long hair? Totally different...but if it's buggin' you? Start slowly...and say no to Prince Valiant... maybe a Princess Di do ;>)

  2. Take off 3 inches at a time until you don't even realize it's gone! No one's brave enough to chop all that off at one time. I admire your tenacity - or stubbornness!

  3. This might be TMI, but I used to find Mika's red hair sort of wrapped around Yurtle's back legs! Other hair-related thoughts: in Tanzania, if I answered the door with my hair down the villagers would ask if I was sick, or had maybe lost a loved one (they still have the "she's come undone" connotation of loose hair). Also: do you think the birds' nests around your house are about 50% Murr hair?

  4. I think you are so cute in short hair! I loved it short. I would be glad to trim yours if you like (only as short, or long, as you specify). ' Course I am not a professional barber, so if you want a real STYLE, don't choose me.

    I know about long hairs getting in the way of daily living, which is why I am keeping mine up, since it is now long enough to do so, but sure I will get fed up with mine sometime and whack it off, too, but for now, I am just enjoying HAVING hair. I would keep mine short, if I just didn't have to trim it so often.

  5. Ah, Susan! Great idea, inasmuch as people are always mistaking me for Princess Di. And Sara, we have in our possession the cutest ever chickadee nest that we cleaned out of their house, and it does have my hair in it (of course), and we're thinking of planting different colors of nesting material around every year and saving all the nests in one art piece. And Mary Ann, you've actually nailed it. I'm too cheap to get my hair cut more than once every, uh, ten years.

  6. Murr, I think that this is clearly a case of Hair Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, relating back to the time in 1967 that Harry Tuell (r.i.p) ran his hand the length of your long hair, smiled in a creepy way, and said, "I've always wanted to do that. It just looks so slick."
    Had you accepted his awkward compliment more graciously at the time it was delivered, poor Harry would not have been driven to pick up some rough trade on a Saturday night in 1976, and end up dead. The newspaper reported that his white Thunderbird convertible was found before his body was found, a detail that has always puzzled me.
    So if you'd spend a little time on the therapist's couch, you could get all of this out. You could make peace with the fact that you precipitated the tragic decline of our English teacher, and stop fretting about cutting your hair.
    Now, if you want my input on the matter, I rather liked that expensive, exquisite Vidal Sassoon cut which you sported in London in 1973. But we have to remember that was the same year that peachy-orange eye shadow was considered shucks, leave your hair long and celebrate the fact that you've still got it!

  7. Gaaaah! No no no, you aren't pinning Harry Tuell on me. Poor Harry. Although...if I'd KNOWN he had a white Thunderbird convertible...

  8. How about just a few inches at a time over a year? Nothing drastic. And before you realize it, you'll be a Princess Di lookalike.

    I love your long hair. The best thing about long hair is that you can make it disappear with a banded braid, ponytail, or clips. It's MUCH EASIER than this short cut I have that needs a blow dry and style every day along with three different products.

    Those fingernails...ridiculous. I sit next to women at the nail salon with inch long nails and wonder how they manage ANYTHING.

    You're a hoot.

  9. I wouldn't change a hair on your are beautiful and clever/funny as hell.

  10. Aw, shucks, that does it--don't make me take out the "anonymous" option! Who the heck are you?

  11. Murr and Anonymous, sittin' in a tree,

    My contemplative friend John was trying to figure out why women all wind up hacking off their hair (his wife still has a gorgeous long 'do, and looks beautiful, as do you). In my case, I just didn't want to mess with it any more, and once it was released from the weight it began to poof up around my face in ways that were more flattering and pleasing to me than the iron-flat profile it had always had. I did it in 2000, as a sort of millennium celebration, and haven't looked back. I get it cut every two months, and am glad to drop $20 each time. I think hair gets expensive when people get it cut and colored. I choose to look at it as replacing the gold highlights with silver.

    The sloth lady, who wins Creepiest Human--was she driving? Uh, couldn't the nails have contributed to the accident? Has anyone figured out how Dolly Parton manages to fret her guitar with those claws? Bleh!

  12. Hmm. k.i.s.s.i.n.g. I just realized Anonymous is probably Greek, maybe ancient. Unless it's Anonymous Bosch. Still, this might work.

    I had a buzz cut for years ($$) but if it gets a little longer, it's seriously flat. This was a good thing when I was thirteen, which is the only time it really matters. Incidentally, some of my silver highlights are being replaced by plain skin. But I don't miss my hormones.

    And heck--I don't even know how Dolly Parton reaches her guitar! Bonus DP joke: know why Dolly Parton has such a slim waist? Because hardly anything grows in that much shade.