August 15th, 2018

Gillette, Gitteltun, and the 727

There will come a day when the guys at Gillette will tell me that they had been fibbing all along and that actually the thing that they had really wanted to make all those years was the one fitted with nine and a half blades, because, let’s face it, the one with nine blades and a quarter of a blade came close, very close, but it missed out just where the real blade needed to, pun intended, cut it; i.e. the real stubble, for what’s a stubble that cannot survive nine blades and a quarter. They will have a fancy name for the real stubble, which I will come to in due time.

Beauty, they will tell me, is actually skin deep, in more ways than the popularly propagated and rarely countered belief along those lines, and the only thing that stands taut between a man’s ‘beauty’ and the world is the skin that covers the under-stubble, which, the under-stubble that is, is in fact the hitherto unknown layer of stubble which grows under the skin and in which is rooted the stubble. The under-stubble, they will tell me, is the discovery of the century made at the Gillette labs, and it will be years, if not decades, before the rest of the world catches up with the medical advancements being made in the field of facial hair removal at the Gillette labs strategically located away from prying eyes of the makers of Phillips shavers on a planet called Gitteltun far away in the galaxy commonly known as, ironically, that hairy galaxy. 

The quarter blade, I will come to know thanks to their ready willingness to share the inside story with me, did a splendid job of removing the camouflage skin, and camouflage skin will by then be very normal way of dismissing this redundant bit of epidermal nuisance, to uncover the under-stubble, which is invisible to the naked eye (but of course), but failed just where it mattered – in tackling the under-stubble. If not for that, the electronic microscopes would not reveal the dense rainforests on our chins. This, they will remark in a tone not entirely untainted by pride, is where the nine and a half blade comes in – it removes not only the skin, but also the under-stubble – a feat after which the outer layer of my face will feel soft as liquid to touch; which, I will privately wonder to myself, it might just be, since if the face does not start bleeding profusely after removal of skins and under-stubbles, it can hardly have been a face constituted of organic matter.

When they feel they have nearly come to the end of their sales pitch, they will cheerily tell me that I can be a proud owner of the halfer, which is probably what they will be calling their razor by then, and of skin so fluidly velvety that the best velvet will soon be called halfer-like, against the payment of a paltry sum of nine thousand five hundred and fifty five riyals, and a pound of flesh – my own flesh. 

Either that or they will do a Nike and introduce the all-new single-blade razor, which, they will tell me, is all that a man ever needs, and the best he can get. They will watch with amusement the sparkle in my eye, and before I have a chance of telling them just how pleased I am that they have come off of that silly business of exorbitantly expensive shaving razors with multiple blades, they will gently break the news to me that if I want they can book me a set of those cutting edge single-blade razors against the payment of – you guessed it – a paltry sum of nine thousand, five hundred, and fifty five riyals and a pound of flesh, my own flesh – preferably not removed from what they will derogatorily call the triple chin.

It will be somewhere at this point that I will draw their attention to the beard I have sported for some years now, and will explain in response to their puzzled look that the beard, that bit of facial hair sprouting all over my triple chin, is actually a direct consequence of not having been the most frequent user of their merchandise. They will draw themselves up haughtily and assert that they know, of course, what the growth on my triple chin is called, but they had assumed, they will disparagingly inform me, that the over-grown stubble was just a manifestation of my ignorance about all things best a man can get; either that, the smart Alec everyone will have been calling number 2 will quip, or a manifestation of my ignorance of or confusion about the exact geographical location of my chin in the general wilderness of my face; since, he will observe privately, with a head as oval as a triple chin, and a triple chin as oval as an oval head, especially an oval head almost naturally devoid of any follicle representation, people could be forgiven for getting their facts about where their head and chin were located.     

It will be my turn to draw myself up haughtily, and draw myself up haughtily I will, as if on cue; for what’s a man who cannot take his turn to draw himself up haughtily in a proper manner? There are few things which define and determine an average man’s standing in his own eyes as well as his ability to draw himself up haughtily when the time comes for him to draw himself up haughtily. Greater men take matters into their hands rather literally when they perceive some impropriety in their dialogue and take rightful umbrage – which is a precursor to the taking of matters in hands at a literal level. Greater men still take the matters and hand them over on a platter into the able hands of their Generals when such occasions arise; while weaker men quickly look around to see if eager hands are racing from any or all directions to grab matters of their own accord, when such matters present themselves. It is the weakest kind who register little by way of reaction when matters such as those which must be handled inflict themselves upon them, and the strongest kind who let matters rest with a smile when confronted by such matters directly. I have often wondered, in fact, how close the weakest are to the strongest when all kinds are measured in terms of how they respond to situations which lead to matters which have formed the crux of the discussion thus far in this paragraph.

The average kind, however, the kind which yours truly subscribes to, live in a world more perceived than real, and in doing so do the world a favor.  For we form the vast majority which constitutes the heaving mass of humanity toiling in the service of this world, and if we did not live in perceived worlds, our dissatisfaction with the status quo and our grievances with those who exploit us and induce and implore us to exploit each other would turn the world, as we know it, on its head leading to chaos and mayhem; and don’t we all know how very undesirable chaos and mayhem are? Especially in a world which we inhabit, which is why we sit back and count our blessings as chaos and mayhem are inflicted on other worlds in our name. Live in perceived worlds we must, and we do. We bask in perceived limelight, relish perceived luxuries, lament perceived short-comings and deprivations, draw ourselves up haughtily at perceived slights and live out the length of our not so great lives in perceived satisfaction.

Perceiving so many things at so many levels requires perfection in the art of perceiving, and as someone must have said somewhere in some language, perfection is not easily acquired. It requires singular focus, dogged resolve, and the kind of perseverance that can only lead to, well, perfection. We, the average kind, are sadly completely devoid of any of the afore-mentioned attributes, because such attributes would automatically elevate us from amongst the masses into the ranks of stronger and stronger still men. How then we do manage to acquire the perfection we do in the art of perceiving is a mystery unto itself, and one of the greatest anomalies of the world. I, an average man of the most average kind, can hardly lay claim to resolving, explaining or decoding one of the greatest anomalies of our world, and will therefore refrain from trying to venture an explanation. 

The importance of drawing myself up haughtily thus explained, I feel I can proceed with the story of the day when Gillette will tell me that they had been fibbing all along. Having defined and determined my standing in my own eyes through that timely act of drawing myself up haughtily, I will proceed to admonish the guys from Gillette, and reserve special scorn for the Smart Alec. I will tell them in no uncertain terms that I know my head from my chin, thank you, however oval in shape and devoid of follicle representation the head might be, and however heady the chin might be in its general demeanor; and that the beard is no consequence of any ignorance on my part of what the best is a man can get, and on the contrary in fact, it is a direct result of a deep understanding of the very best a man can get – and 72 of those he can. Thank you.

At this they will leave my presence shaking their hairy heads and scratching their velvety chins, and I will be none the worse for their departure.  I will turn on my heel then and stomp off in a gait only marginally tainted by a degree of pride.  

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