Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My Hair is Fortified


My hair is fortified, or so says my shampoo bottle. And this is no bullshit kids’ fort.

My fortified hair is perched ever so delicately atop a steep promontory, besieged by the crashing waves which threaten to wash it away at any instant. Erosion, calamity, devastation, misery, the optimism of the mad; you name it, its here in no short supply. Resources dwindle and are replenished, hope ebbs and flows, disease is kept in check but nobody is foolish enough to doubt its ultimate victory in some form or another. But the fort must be defended, in order that the fort may stand, in order that the fort may continue to be defended.

My hair is fortified. My neck a parapet, my eyes embrasures for the mysterious “pill box” they belie, its starved inhabitants trembling together in the dark. Oxygen is low and the air stifles the most wizened, but evacuation is not an option. My stern reserve a defensive curtain, my lean sobriety so many sandbags piled against the siege-works which daily aim to reduce my steadfast bastion to the mere stuff of couch cushions. Archers, to the parapets! The enemy approaches!

Roland Barthes famously noted that according to advertising argot, linen possesses depth. Then he was killed by a laundry truck. Having yet to be hit by my proverbial laundry truck, I am left to foolishly question the utility of considering my fortified hair in something that I once foolishly called “something that I once foolishly called ‘the scheme of things’”. As the popular American philosopher Carey Bradshaw would say, “I couldn’t help but wonder:” Is every unexpected gift a secret vessel for unseen invaders, laying in wait to strike when defenses are weakest? Should the seething hot oil be spared on those below who beat against the gates for relief? Should hunger be chosen over commerce with those unknown, and deemed foes by this very fact?

My hair is fortified. Something tells me that this metaphor leaves something to be desired.

[Originally published in Death Panel Literary Digest III.]