Got Them Ol’ Pre-Halloween Blues 2

As I was struggling with my cowlick this morning, a gift from hell which is located at the back of my head and which is resistant to any strategies but the thick application of library paste with subsequent pressure on the area until the paste sets up. Since I had no such material on this particular day, I tried the various greases and waxes that I could find around the house with no more than partial success.

This started me wondering where the term came from in the first place. Do farmers have problems with cows licking their heads? I resolved to find out and turned to my most reliable but mute friend, Wikipedia.

The term “cowlick” originates from the domestic bovine’s habit of licking its young, which results in a swirling pattern in the hair. The most common site of a human cowlick is in the crown, but they can show up anywhere.

Wikipedia: Cowlick

I don’t like that last phrase much. For 81 years I have had one on my crown, and no others that I know about. But could new ones spring up with further aging? Wikipedia leaves that question open. And could they be located anywhere? Certainly the last two decades have been marked by many odd happenings in the hair department, and I really don’t look forward to dealing with new management problems, especially with cowlicks anywhere they want to be.



This week I bought pumpkins for carving. I do this every year at this time, even though in my entire carving lifetime not a single one has ever turned out the way that I wanted it to look. I see those masterpieces on porches and in doorways around town and I weep.

Last year I purchased one of those cheap sets of pumpkin carving tools, which turned out to be six bucks tossed away. What was I thinking? They were exactly what I had the right to expect at that price … useless. The knives included were a little stiffer than aluminum foil, but not much. But I will go forward later today with my kitchen cutlery in hand and the highest of hopes that somehow, with no reason at all to believe that it could happen, and against all odds, my 2021 Jack-o-lantern will look like one of these:

Instead of this (which would actually be an improvement over last year’s edition):

Perhaps I am too hasty when I carve. Or lack the imagination to see what cuts will be necessary to achieve interesting-ness. Or is it that I have the manual dexterity of a wombat? Any or all of these are possibilities. No matter. The day promises to be cold and bright and I will take filet knife in hand and once again cause the ruination of a large vegetable that never did me harm. It’s Halloween, after all.


The smoke from those fires in California and Arizona has largely vanished from our skies. We can see both the San Juan mountains and the Uncompahgre Plateau clearly now, see the colors changing on the Plateau and the new snow on the mountaintops. Awfully pretty. It means that the sunsets are not quite as spectacular as they were, but they are still way good enough for me.

Our cats are not meeting the colder weather with anything like equanimity. They perch grumpily on the sofa and chairs, ask to be fed on an hourly basis because they are bored, and in general are not presently sunbeams in the lives of Robin and myself. I am doing much the same, when I think of it. We’ll all acclimate with time, we do it every year. Stages of grief and all that, you know.

  • Denial: hard freeze this week? Naw, it’s way too early
  • Anger: we had the smoke, we had the blazing hot mid-days, we had the yellowjackets … dammit,we deserve a dad-blamed warm Fall!
  • Bargaining: I know it doesn’t work that way, but if I improve my behavior, think spiritual thoughts more often, and …
  • Depression: how long did you say it will be until Spring? That many days? Jeez. I’m sleeping in till noon.
  • Acceptance: hey, it’s not so bad. We can ski and we can go for walks and we can ski and we can go for walks and we can ski …



Grandson Dakota was talking about clothing fashions for us regular folks, as opposed what suits the couture gods in New York and Paris. As an example he talked about how cargo shorts and pants have gone the way of the corset, and no self-respecting man will wear either of them any longer. I didn’t respond, because my casual wardrobe contains no shorts other than the cargo variety. I wish we hadn’t had that conversation because now I imagine that the people in the grocery store are all looking at me and thinking: “Did they dig that guy out of a Siberian glacier and thaw him out or something? Did you see those shorts he’s wearing?”

Yesterday I was holding my cap in front of me at City Market and an elderly woman dropped a dollar in it, saying: “There, my good man, now go and get yourself something decent to wear.” I thanked her politely and when she was out of sight I was so shaken that I used that dollar to buy a bag of M&Ms and wolfed it down. A guy can only take so much.

My brushes with fashions have always been painful. Wearing something that is clearly out of date is one thing, but there have been far worse times. Occasionally there comes a day when I realize that I dress hopelessly behind the times, and out I go to buy something trendy. But you know how there are always garments on the periphery of a trend that are not chic but ridiculous? Those are the ones that I am drawn to every time. I may wear them once or twice until a day arrives when a nearby toddler clutches at their mother’s skirts and cries: “Don’t let the clown get me!”

After each encounter like this I may not leave the house for days, only venturing out to obtain food.


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