Thursday, January 20, 2011

Shaving the cactus with Charles Darwin


Okay, so I’m not the world’s most careful man when it comes to shaving in the morning.  I have learned, through years of nicks and rolls of toilet paper stuck in little patches on my chin, not to cut myself.   Most of the time.

But I tend to use too much shaving cream and often splatter it on the mirror or wall or faucet in my haste to get to work on time.   49 more days until retirement – but who’s counting?

This morning, however, the flying glob of shaving cream landed smack dab on the little cactus that decorates the sink.

Splatterd shaving cream is usuallty not a problem.  On the mirror, wall, or faucet, I just scoop it off with my hand but this was a sticky wicket.  I am enough of a strategic planner to know that this time,  I’d come away with a hand full of prickers. 

BUTLER: “Prickers?”

I don’t care if it’s a word or not…I know what I mean. So, anyway,  I considered using a paper towel or toilet paper but I surmised that I would just end up with a bigger mess – suds and torn paper stuck on the cactus.

BUTLER: “At least ‘surmised’ is a word.”

Could I use a towel or wash cloth?  Probably end up with lots of little prickers stuck in the towel which would be an ugly surprise for whoever used it next.

BAGMAN: “Prickers prickers prickers…let’s write a bawdy song about prickers!”

And then I lapsed into the kind of meaningless digressive thought that hits me all the time and leaves me staring into space. Rather embarrassing when it happens during business meetings.  49 more days.

I considered, since there was already shaving cream on the cactus, if I might just shave it. Why don’t cactuses shave?

BUTLER: “Cacti.  The plural of cactus is cacti.”

Well, they probably don’t shave because they never evolved hands. And prickers were useful evolutionarily because it kept them from being eaten. And why do we shave – maybe I’ll grow a beard when I retire. More specifically why do we still have hair growing on our faces but not so much on our bodies? Millions of years ago, early men (which includes early women) were hairy all over. It helped keep them warm.

Aha! But then they invented clothing. And they invented it early enough to give evolution time enough to ditch the hair. (Note: To avoid the creation argument, I always figured that God did create man and was clever enough to use evolution to do it.)

So I figure that we don’t have hair on our bodies because Neanderthals invented clothes but we still have hair on our faces because Neanderthals did NOT invent the ski mask.

BUTLER: “What about women? They don’t have hair on their faces. “

BAGMAN (grinning to discover he had suddenly had an original thought): “Because they invented kissing!”

I think about that for a moment. But if they were kissing men, why didn’t the hair disappear on men’s faces over a million years?

Eureka! Because men are so impatient! They are unwilling to wait for a million years of evolution in order to start kissing, so they invented shaving! Always looking for the faster, easier way, we short circuited the smooth skin evolution.

BUTLER: “It must have been painful back in 1 million BC trying to shave with a piece of flint and no shaving cream.”

BAGMAN: “But if it led to kissing…small price to pay!”

At that point, I snapped out of it. I realized I was now late for work and there was still shaving cream on the cactus. I decided to leave it there and no shave the cactus. Maybe a million years from now the cactus will evolve into a cucumber.

Unless it evolves hands and starts shaving in order to kiss other cactuses.

BUTLER: “Cacti.”


  1. I'm not sure I know what to do with the word prickers!

    Whether is it was Butler or Bagman wishing me Happy Birthday ...thank you!

    Good luck on your retirement

  2. Adorable as usual. Prickers is definitely a word. I, for one, appreciate a smooth shave (painfully achieved or not). I think cacti should remain hairy however. ;-)

  3. I know you don't want me to address this nonsense about holding the cactus under the water spout?

  4. LOL@ Prickers! This is very poetic and meaningful. I live where there are plenty of cacti that issue prickers if one is not careful or aware!

  5. I googled PRICKERS and the sites came up with PRICKS - we won't go there.

    you need to check in the womens shaving section at a drug store.... the modern day has arrived for women of a certain age.... face waxing / razors for women / shave cream with aloe for the face... etc.
    49 days - woopie.... so you coming to Brasil for a visit in JUNE - camillo's birthday party is in JUNE.

  6. Tabor, that was my first thought...

    GingerV, no age limit there, you know! As soon as those hairs start daring to appear, they are dealt with, no matter whether it is on a 15 or 50 year old body.

  7. Yippee!!! Retirement coming and then you will not have to shave, heck, you don't even have to get out of your jammies if you don't want to....but, one drawback, no kiss will come your way!!!

  8. Librarian - thank you for that.... but by 50 they are bigger and darker.... owwww!
    sorry Mark - we went on a tangent without you guys.

  9. Kissing and prickers -- a dangerous duo.