Symmetry, cheekwash and medicine

I drove out to Deadwood, the overrated gambling town in the Black mining Hills of South Dakota, last weekend, because I had too much money in my checkbook apparently.   I didn’t get lucky or get lucky.  But I did get to hear some cool things on Public Radio, one of the few stations you can get while driving between Bumfuck, South Dakota, and West Bumfuck, South Dakota.  They were talking about symmetry, and how some guy became popular back in high school when he parted his hair on the other side, after being roundly shunned by the cool kids before.  They also interviewed a guy from Australia who travels around with his specially designed mirrors, which, I guess, are made up of strips of mirror sections joined at perfect 90 degree angles, so that you see yourself as others see you, not as a mirror image.  The most common comment from people who stand in front of it is “I look like a (bleep)ing monster in your mirror!”  Of course, I had to try a modified version of it when I got home.  You can do it; just take a smallish wall mirror, cram it up against your bathroom mirror, and tilt it inward slightly from 90, till you get 3 images.  The two on the right won’t be directly at you, of course, but it’s close enough to see what you sort of look like to others, plus it’s fun to hold your finger by your left eye and see that, wow, that is really my left side of my face over there on the left side of that freaky-looking person who’s (almost) looking at me.  I wouldn’t say monster, so much, except that I’m less and less impressed by my mirror image, especially the wrinkles and the eye-bags, holy fuck.  I used to be pretty freaked out by the 3-viewed dressing room mirror, all profile it seemed.  Or all John Elway-style-grinning-idiot-profile if I smiled.  I really don’t think changing the part in my hair is going to get me laid more though, since it just shows my bald spot region even more.  They encourage you to look up their website,, under their “symmetry” section, which shows what Abe Lincoln looked like to himself in the mirror, and to others in real life.  The live audience on the program oohed and ahhed over it, but I didn’t really see much difference.  He was physically a freak either way.

While eating enough omelet to feed an entire Somali extended family last weekend in Deadwood, I was reading a scary article on swimming pool safety, and there was one thing that I could have gone to my grave not ever hearing.  It seems that one reason that swimming pools are not as clean as we’d like them to be is a phenomenon known as “cheekwash”, which, of course, is, um, when the water in the swimming pool rinses parts of people that may or may not have been perfectly clean before.  Yup, that’s right: “Cheekwash”.

After not getting lucky, again, I was thinking, again, of the difference between “singles” and the “coupled-up”.  (For simplicity, we’ll just say married people.)  Since the grass is always greener on the other side, us singles think that all married people: a) have their soul-mate to talk to at the end of every day, b) are rich (2 incomes, one set of bills), and c) they get lucky every single night.  But, of course, the reality is that, every night at the dinner table, they really are thinking, in mid-chew, “Would I like to torture my spouse and then kill them, or just end their life quickly?  Hmm, there was that thoughtful thing they did that one time; I guess I’ll make it quick.  My God, look at how they chew like a cow.  I’d love to strangle him/her.”

I get a big kick out of reading comments on Youtube.  Think political discussions or some blogpost comment threads are nasty?  Think again.  From a comment about singer Adele’s weight issues:  “Why don’t you two fattys share a box of doughnuts get off my nutz fatties.”  The average level of civility, and tolerance for other people’s opinions about posted music videos, isn’t really much better than this (fictional, I think) comment:  “You raging butt-fag, you don’t know anything about real music!  Someone should lock you in a room and make you listen to real music till you developed a fucking brain, you sister-fucking toothless sack of shit!”  Honest to God, the comments are almost that stupid.  Hell, I’d like it if more of my favorite music was popular, and less of what I hate, but all you can really do to try to steer people’s opinions about music is to introduce them to some decent stuff.  No amount of yelling is going to do anything.  I’m tempted lately to log on to youtube comments as “somedumbname83” or whatever and, whenever there’s a really intolerant, dumbfuck, illiterate comment, say the same thing, in very rough English, each time, as in:  “@(illiterate goonball101): your comment insightful, I coming hard now, thanking you muchly for teach me what good music is.”

I’m too old for any other “medicine” besides alcohol these days, and the less of that the better.  But who doesn’t like to self-medicate once in a while?  I’ve always been partial to this song, “Guilty” (written by Randy Newman, sung so well by Bonnie Raitt).

“You know how it is with me baby,

You know I just can’t stand myself,

It takes a whole lot of medicine, darlin’

For me to pretend that I’m somebody else.”

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2 Responses to Symmetry, cheekwash and medicine

  1. I love the image of you standing in front of the mirror grinning at yourself and poking yourself in the eye. (I heard that same NPR story– loved the bit about the guy who changed his whole life by moving his part!) And I think that idea about logging in to YouTube and writing hilarious comments is something you have actually done already– not hypothetical at all. Am I right? Am I?

    • I was laughing my butt off when I was trying to actually establish which side of my face was which in the mirror. But, even more confusing was a time, a while back, when I didn’t feel like wearing a hat, yet didn’t want the bald spots on my head to “burn off”, so I was wielding a hand mirror in one hand and the sunscreen in the other while trying to find the baldest spot towards the back of the top of my head. It was as if it was almost impossible to look in the reflection of the reflection and hit the right spot with my fingers; I kept trying to reach the wrong way, reach the “sunscreen hand” behind the hand mirror, then overcompensate by moving the mirror instead of the sunscreen, etc, etc. It got a little easier when I switched hands, but still…, and of course much laughter the whole time. Try it sometime. As odd as it is to put sunscreen on a semi-bald head, I now mostly do it by feel. Or wear a hat. Or say, “never mind the skin damage; it’s too hot for a hat.”

      Alas, I must disappoint about the YouTube comments–haven’t done it yet, though I got a kick out of how eager you were to find out if I had yet. When I am looking up videos on there, it’s almost always music, and I’m thinking about the next song I want to hear, or I’m writing a blogpost and thinking of what else to write. (Though, of course, if I have time to read the oddball comments I would have time to write some of my own–will start soon.)

      Thanks for reading.

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