No this isn’t about a band from the extreme north. This is about a conversation I had with my best friend, Stoney, who has lived up north his whole life. (Although since we both wrote music for years, I think that’s a great name for a three-piece ensemble: acoustic, bass, and drums).
Observing the weather in his neck of the northeastern woods, I text him, “Got your parka and mukluks?”
He responded with, “Are you sure you’re old enough for me to answer that?”
I typed, “Perhaps you shouldn’t shock my aging, yet still delicate mind.”
He: “Given that we were teenagers in the 1970s, I don’t think there’s anything delicate about either of us; we just fake it well.”
Me: “Yes, faking it is a cornerstone of wisdom.”
He then called me and we had our usual banter of esoteric wit, which included the possible innuendo of the word Mukluk. During that, he sent me a picture of his snow-covered street, with the caption, “This is what happens when we stop using dandruff shampoo.” I emailed back that it reminded me of what my desk looks like when I stop using beard shampoo. And during the next ten minutes of reminiscing about the past, complaining about the present, and speculating (in a complaining way) about the future, I photoshopped a picture of a modern bottle of Head & Shoulders shampoo with an altered name and text it to him.
(A note about grammar: I don’t like “texted” as the past tense. That’s like saying “saided.”)
He text me, “I was going to say, ‘Now I’ve seen everything,’ but I still don’t know (nor really want to) how you use that when you shower. Since it’s infused with charcoal, maybe you shouldn’t shower with this stuff near an open flame.” I text him back. “Yeah, I can no longer smoke in the shower.” And that prompted me to augment my first redesign of the bottle. It now reads “Beard and Lap (shampoo), For Bald Men, Caution: Do Not Smoke While Showering.”
We old guys seldom fixate on the impositions of carnal encounters, but when we do it’s always with much exaggeration, so he queried about the “lap” part of the name, and we had a lot of fun inventing double, and even triple, entendres.
For you “youngnarians,” Head & Shoulders shampoo was a big deal when I was a kid. Mom started buying it when I was about 120 months old, and I used it until I was around 260, when one day, days before the monthly military paycheck arrived, we ran out of it and I had to use bar soap on my scalp. During that time I discovered I didn’t have dandruff. Perhaps I never did. From then on, I never bought that brand again.
But to understand my reference, you must have a clear idea of what “head” and “shoulders” mean. It refers to the promise that if you wash your head with that shampoo, your shoulders will never be coated with dandruff. And thus my photo joke implies that if you wash your beard with this new shampoo, the front of your pants while sitting, will never be coated with flakes of dried skin. That has never actually happened to me. When I scratch my beard the only thing that drops to my lap, or laptop, is an occasional whisker (Unfortunately usually a dark one), sometimes the crumbs of a cookie or potato chip, and rarely but most alarmingly a cat hair that I guess I picked up while walking through the house.
As always, I enjoyed and was enthralled and inspired by my oldest friend, and I look forward to another track of Stoney and the Mukluks. They may only make one 45 per session, but they always produce a golden 33 and 1/3 of memorable hits.