Saturday, July 18, 2009

close shave

Drab vinyl tile meets sterile white walls with a kiss under pale fluorescence. Studying the flecks of brown that break the ocean of white, where my hard blue plastic chair rests, my mind devised hidden pictures in time with the metronome beeping of the heart monitors. Legs numb from waiting and lost circulation, much like the hands of the clock that move slow and without feeling. Time crawls across the floor and back again between seconds, begging and answer to all the questions in my head.

One day I will teach the boys to shave, not today. If they started shaving now that's another decade of tediousness. Can't wait too long though, Barry taught me that in the forth grade. Taking matters, and a razor, in his own hands, he lathered his head and was left without eyebrows, for months. Painted on caterpillars only reminded him of the lagging delay, with each passing mirror.

Wait too long and the answers have already cemented themselves in place, old gum stuck to the bottom of desk, left by well meaning friends. Or exploded in their faces, like gasoline in a pop bottle and a t-shirt fuse, through experimentation. Better they figure it out on their own, tongue in the cheeks of our responsibility evading minds. Institutionalizing them, our saving grace comes in the form of the gym teacher in a trailer scratching Cincinnati Been -gals in white across the green dusty board, a fine education in the fairer sex.

Incompetency, like so many layers of paint, to cover incompetency. To be a man, you must first be a boy. You learn, you play, you question. Never a stupid question, only answers of my own stupidity along the journey to manhood. Do as I do, not as I did. Say "I love you" and mean it. Cry as you need, as we talk it through. Smell the flowers, preferably before you rip them out by their roots. Keep the flames low, cook the steak all the way through, leaving it pink and tender inside. Rinse the blade between strokes, to keep the shave close. If it cuts, we can always repair.

One day you will be a man, for now enjoy the waiting.

16 comments:

Baino said...

My son learned himself! Mind you he's far from hersuite and tends to use MY blades but he didn't have a dad to show him. Actually he learned lots of things himself from pulling motor bikes apart and putting them together again to assembling his sister's wall unit yesterday. I admire his resourcefulness. He even made an alun key drill bit so that he could use his drill to put the thing together. Quite inventive!

Cinnamon said...

I wondered what you were waiting for in the opening paragraph- sounds like you are waiting for someone to come out of surgery..? Very well described; how the world suddenly shrinks in such situations and you find yourself staring at tiles.

Boys are very impatient to grow up. The sprouting of the first facial (and pubic for that matter) hair was announced with great pride and excitement in our house!

otin said...

I was embarrassed when I had to start shaving! Don't ask me why?

lakeviewer said...

This is such a tender- sweet moment in the life of boys. You captured it beautifully.

John said...

Very interesting,you have a way of wording it.What are some of your favorite books. or Authors? Have a Blessed Sunday

lettuce said...

theres nothing much as stuck as old gum

Candie Bracci said...

This is so nice Brian!What a wonderful dad you are!Have a nice day!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Kids aren't kids for long are they. Most of them can't wait to grow up! I know my Amy is just the same.

CJ xx

Beth said...

I love this post. Your boys are lucky to have you. My boys had to suffer through me teaching them how to shave. It was hilarious!

JML said...

That was way rad! My dad never taught me to shave, I'm kind of glad, it would have been rather awkward, but that's just because he did teach other things. Oh well. Great post!

Lorraine said...

You're a good dad :)

Tom said...

As a father you think humdrum things like shaving are common sense... believe me, even the simplest of things can take on a whole new meaning with teenagers...especially boys. Lol. Live and learn? Take your chances!

Brian Miller said...

@baino - sounds like quite the resourceful young man. imagine there are many thinhgs you have shown him along the way.

@cinnamon - wrote it in the waiting room at the psych ward the other day...work, not pleasure...boys want to be men before their time. i think that is our curse.

@otin - that just begs the question to come out...

@lakeviewer - ty. smiles.

@john - right now i am reading zz packers "drinking coffee elsewhere", re-reading erwin mcmanus' soul cravings, anne lamott's plan b, an uncommon grounds history of coffee. for other favorites just check out a few of the commentors here.

@lettuce - indeed

@candie - i try..if i could just get more glue..

@cj - i imagine she is...smiles.

@beth - i imagine they were happy with your lessons. smiles.

@jml - sounds like there is a story there. funny even though some were never taught i still see so many noses still in tact.

@lorraine - some days.

@tom - we, boys, can make the most simple into a wonderous adventure. actually i blame dukes of hazard for us trying to figure out how to blow up the glass jar of gasoline...

Maggie May said...

enjoying the waiting before adulthood is something my 15 year old son cannot do...at all

The Retired One said...

Oh gosh, I hope you someday father a daughter, too....
the thoughts of yours regarding their maturing would be fascinating...
very wonderful post. Loved it.

Wings said...

Definitely! I tell my youngest the same thing. Enjoy the now, the simplicity of life. It will too soon be gone.