Hair-Brained

Among the many things that are better left to professionals—piloting a jet, performing almost any surgery, copy editing—cutting hair always should be included. I did not know this until the day I did.

It looks so easy. The professionals talk to you and amongst themselves while they are doing it, for crying out loud. How do they do that? If you interrupt me while I am merrily typing away, I will pretty much stop typing and begin to glare at you until you decide to ask someone else whatever it is you came to ask me. And how do you know where I live anyway?
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Four Facts About Me

For the last several weeks, I have been looking on as online friends participated in a game in which they were given a random number and had to share “X Number of Facts” about themselves. Stupidly, I “clicked “Like” on my sister’s boyfriend’s snapshot autobiography and was thus asked to write four facts about me. Here is my reply. I could write several more of these, but I think anyone older than eight or nine could supply a dozen unique facts about themselves. It became something of an essay in my hands and has a twist ending:

1. It is amazing (or not) that I was given the number four, as that is my life-long “secret lucky number.” (Anyone who has gambled with me knows about this. Read: The Gad About Town: Against NYS Proposition 1.) Now, I know that in most of the world’s luck traditions, if one declares out loud that something is secret and lucky, one has immediately kiboshed all secrecy and luck out of that thing’s existence, but that is the beautiful thing about my “secret lucky number 4”: It remains lucky and maybe even grows in power every time I speak of my special relationship with it.

2. I left New Paltz in 1995 to work in Narrowsburg, NY, and moved back to New Paltz in 1997. I left New Paltz again in 2000 to work in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and returned to New Paltz in 2006. (There are legends about New Paltz and eternal return and gazing upon the nearby Wallkill River—I am legend, I suppose.)

3. Depending on my relative levels of optimism or pessimism, I may refer to my spinocerebellar ataxia as an “illness” versus a “condition.” The latest feature of this condition that I have been noticing of late (first noticed last year) is that when I can not see my feet, I lose track of which is which. I may think I’m tapping my right, but it’s my left that’s annoying people around me. After going to bed, I may think my left leg itches, only to scratch it and find it was my right, or worse, that I am scratching the mattress.

4. I pretended to write before I knew how to write. There may even now be pieces of furniture at my family’s house with my crayon scribblings on and in them–I did not draw, I wrote, wavy lines that I would then interpret to my parents as a story. I’ll guess I was about three or … four.