Is it time for that 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story yet? Because I was thinking of it, just this morning. No, I was not cursing my porch barkers like Ralphie's dad cursed the Bumpus hounds. I did not make The Pony put on a pink bunny suit. I did not accidentally dust Hick's leg lamp to pieces. Nope. I almost severed my ear.
Oh, a BB gun is perfectly safe in my hands. I've had one since I was a child. Nobody ever told me I couldn't have a BB gun because I'd shoot my eye out. What I wish I'd been told is: "You'll comb your ear off, Gal!" As in a refusal to allow me the use of a hair pick. Those things are deadly.
You might wonder why Val even has a hair pick in her bag o' beauty accoutrements. It's all about the LIFT. Hard as it may be to believe, Val's limp old-lady hair needs some impetus to get up off its duff. A gently combing does not even make a blip on Val's hair's radar. Forget a blow dryer. That's just asking for trouble. So Val tempts her tresses, entices those Salvador-Dali-clocklike fronds to puff out their collective chests, rise to the occasion, to stop all that scuttlebutt about Val's hair being applied each morning with a paint roller or magic marker. So seal-like smooth is Val's head that 10 million Vals stuffing 10 million heads in 10 million faculty bathroom sinks could not make one of them catch between the faucet and drain, thus requiring a rescue call by muscular firemen.
The hair pick is just the ticket. It adds air. Like a fork beating an egg. Only not so violent. The tine on the end makes the part, then they all join together to whip Val's hair into shape, with only the assist of a round brush to turn the ends under. Oh, stop it! I'm blushing. I know what an attractive hairstyle that is. Don't hate me because I'm beautiful. Hate me because I have two ears. Which was almost not the case this morning.
Over her many years of perfecting the morning beautification ritual, Val has grown complacent. Some students have even dared to hypothesize that Val is able to complete her daily coiffure toilette without a mirror. In the dark. So cavalier has she become that every now and then, Val forgets she has two ears. That pick has a bite, my friends. It's like the Cujo of the bathroom counter. One lapse in judgement, a mere millimeter of error, and Val's ear bends like a Chinese acrobat. Thank goodness it clings to her head like a barnacle to the hull of a boat left too long at the mooring. The pain and redness subside over the course of a couple hours.
If only my parents had warned me of the dangers of using a pick when I was still in my formative years. If only they had specifically forbade the presence of a pick in the bathroom drawer. If only I had thought to ask my parents for a pick for Christmas, my misery might have been avoided.
"A PICK? You'll comb your ear off, Gal!"