In Which I Take On Self Help. And Forfeit.

The Next Family

By: Ann Brown

People say it’s time I think about getting a new dog.

But what I am thinking about is whether or not I should get one of those Brazilian blowouts for my hair.

One of those things will cost me nothing and the other will take me seven months to pay off if I give up Xanax and live on government cheese. One of those things will fill my life with joy, reminding me with each new sunrise that we are on this earth to love, and the other thing is a dog.

I used to have bitchin’ hair –long, thick, straight, black. Now, as a result of my menopausal dye-resistant pubic hair transplant, those days are long gone. And since the old boobs are not capable of sitting up on their own anymore, much less able to distract from my stupid hair without, I don’t know, setting themselves afire, the entirety of my appeal has been placed on the drooping shoulders of my personality.

Yup. My personality.

Well. This is an awkward silence.

It’s such unfortunate timing. Just when my looks are dangerously waning, I have very little energy or motivation to work on my personality anymore. I just don’t have the joie de vivre for it. Or the shoes.

I saw a photo of a pair of shoes Claire wore to her birthday cocktail party. Just looking at them gave me a bone spur. Claire, clearly, is making the most of her life- sparkling personality, come hither shoes, cocktail parties. Oh, and she got the Brazilian blowout. It is a miracle she and I are even friends, what with her will to live and all.

I am just not cut out for a sparkling personality anymore. Even cultivating a bad personality seems like a lot of work, doesn’t it? Think about the people you know who have really awful personalities. They are always running around. Going to Cabo. Elbowing their way to the front of the line at Kohl’s. Shooting their best friend in the face on a hunting trip. They are busy busy busy. That sort of lifestyle is not for me.

And, frankly, I am tired of working on my shit. I don’t even know if I’ve made any leeway. I mean, I still wring my hands when everyone I know is not within my eyesight; I still only pretend to eat food that other people make and bring to my house; I still have to keep making new plane reservations until the six-letter code they give me forms an anagram of good harbinger; and my issue with gagging and barfing has only gotten worse.

In fact, just typing the word “gagging” is making me nauseous.

This is progress? What the hell am I paying a therapist for? Better I should get the hair thing.

I feel relatively certain that having good hair will take me a long way towards cultivating a better personality. With good hair, one feels a sort of noblesse oblige to be a good person, don’t you think? I bet you can’t even be a bad person if you have the Dorothy Hamil wedge. Did you ever see a Nazi with the wedge (or even a wedgie)? I rest my case.

When I met Robin in college he was rockin’ the Hebro – you know, the Jewish Afro. His hair probably stretched out about a foot and a half all around his head, and then it met his beard for the other half, making a perfect lion’s mane. He could hide joints in his coif. Fuck, he could hide an entire plant and grow light system in there, if he wanted to. I actually did find a Corn Nut in there once.

In the ensuing thirty years, Robin’s hair has only gotten more and more awesome. Salt and pepper, thick, shiny, and a shitload of it, while my hair has reclaimed its pubic heritage and sits atop my head scaring babies and fucking with the pull of the tides. Robin’s allure and cache can ride on his headful of hair for a few more years at least. For me, it’s slimpickin’s.

I suppose I could craft a new, low maintenance personality around my 1820 Pathwords score.

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