Monday, March 25, 2013

The Hair Plays A Part

As I was blow drying my hair this morning, I realized that it has undergone many great difficulties through the years. It occurred to me that I should lavish it with expensive shampoos and conditioners. After all the abuse it has suffered, Lord knows it deserves some pampering.

The first hair disaster happened when I was four. I wound a comb into my bangs so tightly it had to be cut out. The first couple of times I wound it up I was able to easily unwind it. Great trick, wait till I show mom. It was the third winding that didn't go as planned and mom wasn't as impressed as I had hoped when I came crying to her with a comb hairball bobbing from my bangs.

When I was nine, my mother and I were visiting her friend. Her garbage disposal was clogged and she asked, since I had the smallest hands, if I would rummage around to see what might be stuck. I was able to extract a half ground stalk of celery and held it up. Then she asked me, without using my hands, to look over the drain with a flashlight and let her know if I could see anything else. I reached over and flipped the disposal switch on. The blades whirred and shot our a clump of greens that went splat on the top part of my forehead and made my bangs stand straight up. She and my mother laughed until they peed their pants. That wasn't the first time I made them laugh that hard.

When I was fourteen, I was at the mall with a friend. We always enjoyed going into the pet shop to see the puppies. As we passed a cage that housed two squirrel monkeys, one of them quickly reached between the bars and grabbed a handful of my hair. I stopped short. My friend and I gently tried to pry his fingers open but we were afraid of hurting him if we tried too hard. The monkey didn't seem too concerned with his effect on me. He refused to release my hair. The pet shop owner had to be paged as a crowd of people gathered to see the girl with a monkey in her hair. You will be relieved to know that no animals were harmed in the creation of this embarrassing moment.

My hair has been bleached, permed, dyed, cut, teased, lacquered, torn out at the roots by a childhood nemesis and burned. No wonder it suffers from post traumatic hair symptom. It's a wonder I have any hair left at all which is why I am turning over a new leaf. I vow never again to wind combs in it, walk too close to monkeys or hover over garbage disposals. I will pay the extra dollar or two for the right shampoo and conditioner and I promise to moisturize at least once a week.

Sorry, hair.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Dr. Bennett and Me

In my ongoing quest for self-betterment and mental health, I am actively following suggestions set forth by my psychiatrist, Dr. Neil Weakly. The following transcript documents the session I had with Dr. Anthony Bennett, a well-know physicist, and Nobel Prize winner.

Dr. Bennett: So, my friend, Dr. Weakly has sent you here?

Me: Yes, he believes my brain is functioning at an extremely slow rate. Because I am at such a low learning level, I am in what is known as the ‘drone zone.’ He says, if it is left unchallenged, my brain may turn off altogether. (quivering voice) The idea of this happening to me is terrifying.

Dr. Bennett: (gazing at me as if I were a behind a microscope) And you would like to find the optimal state of challenge, stretch your brain, and ultimately be exhilarated by a sense of accomplishment?

Me: Yes!

Dr. Bennett: On the other hand (holding up his left hand), if we tackle learning that is too much of a stretch, you will be in the ‘groan zone’. (His smile flashes like a vintage flash bulb, minus the pop).

Me: Is there some type of IQ test that I can take that will find the right level of challenge in terms of pace, level and precision?

Dr. Bennett: Forget about IQ…it’s bogus. I would like to begin by addressing your reptilean brain.

Me: Excuse me?

Dr. Bennett: There is a center in your brain that carries the legacy of our evolutionary past, with emotions such as fear, anxiety and passion. Depending on which emotion you are tapped into, you can speed up or slow down your learning to a Worm Lizard’s pace.

Me: Oh my God! I had no idea.

Dr. Bennett: Well of course you didn’t. That’s why you’re here. Let’s begin with the theory of the universe.

Me: Really? That’s a stretch. You don’t think that’s a bit advanced for my reptilian brain center?

Dr. Bennett: (giving me a look of disgust) who is the Nobel Prize winner in this room?

Me: You are.

Dr. Bennett: Exactly. (assuming a more comfortable position) If the universe was created from nothing, then nothing has potential that you have never dreamed of before. This brings us to the idea of you.

Me: Okay.

Dr. Bennett: We cannot see two points because they are at zero dimensions. But, if you make a line between the non-points, then there can be a relation between them. Imagine this now.

Me: Does it make a difference how fast the line is going?

Dr. Bennett: It takes no time for the universe to travel from one point to the other. You would have to reduce the speed infinitely, which translates into eternity. (appears bored) Perhaps Dr. Weakly’s suspicions about your brain shutting down are well-founded.

Me: Wait…can there be a negative speed that I don’t know about?

Dr. Bennett: There is a way, through reducing the rate of the line at which potential information can be received; and in this way essentially, have our whole uneaten pie while enjoying a piece of it because we are continually creating the pieces. Do you understand this hypothesis?

Me: (staring blankly) Where did the pie come from? I thought we were talking about lines. Now you have introduced something circular. It’s hard to wrap my brain around two theories at once.

Dr. Bennett: Of course it is, my child. I’m talking about two, zero-dimensional points creating a single dimension. Your question of how it is done is, by way of time reduction, or in other words, is nothing more than stalling. It is not a velocity-dependent line. Time, slowed down, is the sole determining factor of conscious reality. Avoiding my question most likely reveals some emotional disorder or mental illness.

Me: What kind of pie is it? Fruit or cream?

Dr. Bennett: What is so difficult about imagining a cycle? They have beginnings and endings much like the four seasons; and do they not keep repeating themselves?

Me: I had a gift certificate for the Four Seasons once but it expired before I had a chance to use it.

Dr. Bennett:  Discard the notion of seeing in the literal sense. If you could see absolutely nothing, it would be the same as if you could see everything simultaneously. With this perspective, creation would require no beginning or ending. Thus, the straight line can travel in any direction, don’t you see?

Me: I have a question.

Dr. Bennett: (looking perturbed) Yes?

Me: When you say reptilian center, what species are you talking about? I mean, there are snakes, lizards, Gila monsters, turtles and crocodiles. And aren’t certain species endangered? Maybe you mean the already extinct reptiles like the, Tonga Ground Stick, or the, Yunnan Box Turtle. Do you? I’m not so sure that I like the idea that a part of my brain is cold-blooded or scaly. I mean, I was just wondering.

Dr. Bennett: Just because there is mental activity going on in your head doesn’t mean that you are thinking. Thinking is hard work. Having a thought doesn’t mean you are thinking either. We all have thoughts. In your case, I would say you are merely rearranging your opinions. Everyone has an opinion, as well as a naval, but it takes a special talent to think properly.

Me: I heard that Alfred Hitchcock didn’t have a naval.

Dr. Bennett: Have you ever had a brain scan?

Me: Yes, but it was inconclusive.

Dr. Bennett: Your brain is a physical organ. It is significantly affected by your physical condition and surroundings. The concept of the line and the relation between two points is still in question. Have you formulated an intelligent answer?

Me: So, do you think I should enroll in a line-dancing class?

Dr Bennett: (Staring at me as if I had two reptilian centers) let’s just hope your feet have a mind of their own.