Let me get something straight right now – I’m not homeless. I’ve never been homeless; unless you count my first semester in a West Virginia dorm, where I shared a room with a guy who’s foot odor could force a taliban soldier to renounce his ethos. Nope, I’m just one of those unfortunate guys who looks homeless. One day unshaved is one day too many.
I’ve never had much going for me in the looks department, and I’ve never been particularly vain. Was the absence of vanity because I was one rank above Quasimodo, or did I neglect my average appearance due to my lack of vanity? I’m almost sure my being empirically lazy has something to do with it. What’s the point? How can I possibly compete with a Ralph Lauren model? I mean, we’re not even the same species! As Bugs Bunny (the great philosopher) once said, “Only a fool would go after the Singing Sword!”.
My wife does her best with what she has to work with. Once a month she pays our teenage son to hold me down so she can shave my face. She provides me with clean clothes to choose from. I know she does, because I glance at them every morning while I put on the T-shirt and shorts I’ve been wearing for four days straight.
I once had a flowing mane of average colored hair. I grew it long as a teenager to piss my father off (it worked). Looking back now I can see that it didn’t make me handsome, it made me appear foolish. Good thing too, it gave everybody ahead of me the heads up that a foolish person was approaching. Then my hair began to recede; and by recede, I mean retreat like an army of cowards. I hung on to a pony tail for way too long, way WAY too long. I’m amazed my wife put up with that phase, but looking back I can see that for her, it was just the beginning of a long string of silent resignations to come.
I guess I’m average looking. At least, no one ever skittered from my presence, eyes averted downward – so I assume I’m not grotesque. And I sure never understood the appeal of having cosmetic surgery to make people think that I really am a beautiful person. Nope, I’m the annoying guy that holds the door open for you so that you’re forced to say something polite- and you better say it too, or I’m gonna carry that chip for an hour.
The truth is, I love being average. I never had any sense of shame or remorse about it. I recall getting C’s on my report cards- that was considered ‘average’ (do kids even get grades anymore?). My parents would give me the patented “We’re so disappointed” look. Why be above average I wondered? I never noticed that above-average people were any happier. In fact, most of them seemed more miserable; and they were working on something all the time! No thanks, I’ll be sitting on the bumper of my car, under-age drinking with my average buddies at the park, thank you very much.
I didn’t have to be teased about being special on either side of the judgement spectrum because, well, I wasn’t. I discovered that the middle ground can be a delightful place to be. Besides, I invariably cut myself shaving, every time. Don’t bother looking for me. I’m invisible, and apt to remain so. ~TH~