I missed my father’s birthday the other day. He passed away ten years ago, so I suppose it doesn’t really matter that I missed his birthday, but it makes me kind of sad anyway. I’ve been thinking of him quite a lot lately as I recently made the switch from the traditional form of facial hair removal (a Bic Sensitive single blade) to a Remington electric. I chose the Remington not because of their patented MicroScreen technology, but because I once read that they were one of the top fifty American corporations to work for. I read that the factory (which was located in New Jersey, if I remember correctly) was rundown and leaky, but that the good folks at the Remington Corporation kept the factory workers happy with nifty little employee picnics and whatnot. It was only after I made my purchase that I saw a Made in China sticker on the side of the box.
My late father used a Norelco. In case you haven’t watched any television commercials in the last twenty years, Norelco is the shaver with the patented double blade by which the hair is lifted up a fraction of an inch by the first blade and then sliced off below the level of the skin surface by the second blade. If it really works the way they say it works, it is undoubtedly superior to the Remington MicroScreen, but I would have gotten pretty sad every time I read “Norelco” on my shaver if I had purchased one. It would have reminded me of my dead father.
I only once witnessed my dad attempt to shave himself with a regular razor. He had hepatitis C, and he was using one of my Bics, so I asked him to please not put it back in my drawer. ”By the way,” I said. “You’re going the wrong way. You’re supposed to shave down, with the grain.” He was shaving up, against the grain, and bleeding. “Where’d you learn how to shave?”
“My father taught me. Who taught you how to shave?” Dad tended to be irritable when he was bleeding, but I didn’t mind.
“I read it in a book.” This was a lie. I had actually watched an entire thirty minute television program dedicated to the art of shaving on the Public Access Channel months earlier. But I couldn’t say that. You can’t go around telling people you learned something off Public Access or they’ll think you’re mentally deficient.
“Shoot, the kind of guy who learns how to shave out of a book is the same kind of guy who learns to make love out of a book.”
I thought that was a funny thing to say, “make love,” so I said, “I hope your father didn’t show you how to do that, too.” He laughed and laughed. He laughed so hard he gave up the idea of using a regular razor. He toweled his face off and went back to using the Norelco.