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Reflections on Pearl Harbor Day

Observations and Sublime Ironies

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by , 10-24-2012 at 01:56 AM (673 Views)
So this evening I got home from work and took a look at my thread from yesterday that had a little fun at Clay Matthews' expense. While it's all too easy and ever so enjoyable, to poke fun at the latest marketing campaign touting a six blade, Chinese made, plastic abomination as God's gift to the shaving man, I think it's important to remember that like me, most of you used to be believers. Our shaving universe was ridiculously simple but totally a necessary evil (especially for those of us who made our living in uniform.) Indeed a means to an end, it wasn't enjoyable, wasn't a hobby, wasn't an obsession, heck, it was barely tolerable! Like many of you, my "rotation" for a huge part of my shaving life consisted of one razor (generally whatever the marketing jaugernaut told me was the latest and greatest) and a can of Edge gel. I gladly omitted the daily drudgery whenever I thought there was even a remote possibility I could get away with it. We could probably blame our horrible shaves on faulty gear or operator ignorance. Truth be told it was probably a good bit of both. In any case, the resulting shaves were so horrendous that when I retired from the Air Force in 2005, Executive Order #1 was "Thou shalt not shave. EVER".

It took me nearly three years to pick up a razor again. Much to my shagrin, the salt and pepper beard that I started with gradually ran out of pepper and was almost entirely, what I euphemistically referred to as "blonde". Needless to say, SWMBO was less than thrilled with the Walt Whitman/ Russian Anarchist look and to be honest, I got to a point where I was a bit over it too. Since I was totally opposed to paying $48 for five cheese grater cartridges and totally remembered the resulting shaves, I began looking around for antique safety razors. I remember thinking "Gee, even if the shaves aren't that much better, this could be kind of fun." I stumbled across a Gem Micromatic at an antique store for $4 and once I cracked the code on blades, I was off and running. Several single edge and double edge razors later, I decided to make the plunge to straights. The Edge gel was replaced with a few boar brushes and a decent selection of creams and soaps. With the exception of occassionally using Barbasol, I've never looked back and like many others, I totally wish I had made this move 30 years ago.

The point being made is that we probably shouldn't be so hard on those poor unfortunates that still totally admire the Emperor's new clothes. Most of us have been there and done that which is completely and totally why we are here today. One of the things I enjoy most about SRP is that almost daily, new converts arrive. We've all been in their shoes too. Lots of reading and homework, the early days of high hopes, a month or so of "learning curve" and the doubt and uncertainty that comes with great gear being employed poorly. Then suddenly your daily mediocre shaves inexplicably turn into "damn good" shaves. With time and practice what used to pass for a damn good shave is more and more often replaced with unbelievable, BBS, CBS shaves.

Irony? I recently called in a soap strike. I was down to Arko shavestick, my last few shaves of L'Occitane Cade and the crumbs of a couple pucks of TSD soap. For some reason it just struck me as comedically ironic that for most of my life I operated off one can of goo (Edge gel in my case) and suddenly being down to two or three soaps was a borderline catastrophe. Not to mention razors, again for most of my life I owned one. Now all in I own around 20 give or take. In reality, the LAST thing I need is another razor but often see one and immediately tell myself that I "need" it. Here lately, I've toyed with the idea of a "Throwback Week". The picture in my head tells me that for a week I'd shave with a Mach 3 and a can of Edge. Nah, I don't need a week of pounding my thumb with a hammer to figure out that it still sucks. To quote the Cheshire Cat, "We're all mad, you know!" But it sure is fun.
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