Age Before Beauty

Let me be clear about something. This is not a rant about how I am so old and I know so much and my life is so full of experience etc. No. I am pretty comfortable with my position in life. I’d like to be smarter, I’d like to be more successful, but other wise, I am pretty comfortable.

My body on the other hand, seems to have different ideas about things. My body seems to be aging rapidly in some discreet (and not so discreet) ways that I don't notice on a regular basis.

The first is my gray hair. Now I have been going gray for a while, pretty much once you get your first gray hair you are "going gray." I was like 18 or 19 when I saw my first. I didn't think about it much.

But seeing as I am only 27, there is a very bit of the gray music playing its way around the sides of my hair. And people feel the need to point this out to me on a regular basis. But they always do it in a way that actually leaves no response.

Ohh going a little gray there are we?
Um... no. No we are not. This is not a joint venture. I am doing this by myself. In fact I am not doing it myself because I'm not doing anything. It's just happening.

It's like when people ask me if I am growing a beard. Well, technically by nature of being alive I am always growing a beard. But even still, it is not something I do intentionally. I just trim it once in a while so the question should be are you trimming your beard.

And did you ever stop to think that maybe I’m not going gray, maybe you are just going colorblind?

I don't notice my gray hairs as much as when I get my hair cut and notice a fair amount of the ones falling into my lap are of the silver variety.

Which brings up another point. People always say you are going gray. They never say you are going silver. No the adjective silver is reserved for the highest complement you can give an aging man which is to call him a Silver Fox.

This is something I have been called several times recently.
 
Oh Richard, you're going to be a Silver Fox.

Here is what I know of a Silver Fox. They are somebody who has gone prematurely gray and is thereby more handsome because of this seemingly bemusing appearance.

So when people say I am going to be a silver fox, what they are essentially saying is that I am going to be attractive one day, which means I am not yet attractive, which means...

Well, let's just leave it at not yet attractive shall we?

Everybody is so concerned with what they are going to be. I don't want to be a Silver Fox, I want to be a Rich Boehmcke. In fact, I AM a Rich Boehmcke. Here I am. Look at me, unfox-like as I am.

What is the opposite of a fox? What is the opposite of something compact, gray, and sleek? Maybe a... Giraffe? I guess that's what I am,  a brown giraffe. Yeah, now that's a compliment. Actually Brown giraffe makes me sound like my skin has the capacity to tan. OK, Pale Giraffe. Now we're talking.

But one way in which I am not like a fox or a giraffe is that fact that I am incredibly out of shape. I don't appear to be out of shape upon first glance. My pants fit and I don't eat Doritos for breakfast, but it’s a more covert out of shape.

When my life has gotten busy, as it is currently, I only work out like once a week or once every other week due to what is scientifically known as "laziness."

But when I go to do something extremely physical I might be able to perform at the level of competition, be it playing basketball or going for a jog. But for days afterward my body feels like an old erector set that was left out in the rain for a month. I can actually hear my joints oxidizing.

This past week my company started its softball league. We had a lot of fun but I didn't see that much action in the field and I only got up 3 times. Granted I ran like hell each time. The first two times I got up, I singled. The third time I fouled off a pitch and ran hard to first base. It wasn't until I got there that I realized it was a foul ball. So i jogged back to the batter's box, picked up my bat and immediately thought to myself:

Oh my god I’m going to pass out. There’s no way I can remain standing. Dear god give me the strength to swing this bat.

My legs were trembling. My arms were trembling. I think my ears were even trembling from the exhaustion of having to flap in the breeze as I ran like a speeding... sheep.

So I swung and hit a long fly ball into the outfield and luckily adrenaline took over I was able to make it to first base, second base, all the way to third. I was able to stop only because I no longer had the capacity to run.

We ended up losing the game, which was fine. We went out for drinks and had a good time. However, when I woke up the next morning I felt like I had been beaten by a gang in a dark alley.

In fact I was so sore I could barely walk without moaning. When I sat at my desk I couldn’t cross my legs without a winch and pulley system. This is a pain that has yet to go away.

So while I may not complain of being an old man, my body is apparently trying to beat me to the punch. So instead of striving to be Rich Boehmcke, an attractive man, I’ll just have to settle for my newest aspiration:

Rich Boehmcke: The Gray Giraffe.

Half Price - Full Pain

I received one of those group deal emails that advertised a special discount for a new men’s barbershop: Two haircuts and a shave for a great price. It seemed like quite a bargain. I was interested, I was enticed, I wanted to buy it. At that price, even if it wasn’t great, how bad could it be?

I really need to stop saying that because I have had more near death experiences in barbershops than any other location.

And regarding the discounted haircut and shave I should have known better. I have made enough poor decisions in my life to know when things are a bad idea.

Things like free shaves.

Had I actually known better, I might have avoided the worst 20 minutes of my life. But I was so blinded by the discount I couldn’t think logically.

After reading some reviews online I decided to purchase the deal. I then went to the barbershop and requested the specific gentleman who got the best reviews online halfway thinking that he would be good at what he did.

Incorrect.

It’s amazing who can get licensed to wield scissors these days.

In fact, it is actually interesting how the words Barber and Butcher are just a few letters off. I wonder if they have their beginnings in a similar location. Perhaps there is an institute that screens people for professions by asking a series of questions.

All right so I see here that you want to use a knife. OK how would you like to hack away at a dead piece of meat? No? How about a human head?

Now that I think about it, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the barber shops I’ve been in also had animal carcasses in the back.

So I go to the barber shop for my first haircut. I sit down in my chair and my barber, (we’ll call him Hernando) Hernando asks me (I think) what I would like to have done. So I tell him, and he kind of does what I want, though not without abusing me.

For instance, some barbers, when they comb through your hair and find a knot, will relax and try again slower. Not Hernando, he took that as a reason to demonstrate his wrist strength, which while impressive, did not impress me. And when he ran the electric clippers along the back of my neck I began to wonder if whether or not he’s actually using an electric knife.

So despite the minor violence, I depart mildly satisfied and a little red.

Six weeks later I return for a haircut AND a shave. Again, I see Hernando. Again he beats up my head while cutting off my hairs. And then he tips back my chair so he can destroy my face.

I tell him very clearly (because I’m almost sure he doesn’t speak perfect English) that my face is VERY sensitive so please don’t shave against the grain and don’t shave it twice. Just go once with the grain.

Hernando says:

 No worries. I’ll take good care of you.

I laugh because that is what I do when catastrophe is at hand.

As soon as Hernando starts, I realize, he is not a barber. He is a barbarian. Conan with clippers. Attila with a straight backed razor.

Had my face been made of sun weathered leather, his treatment might not have been so bad. But sadly my face is made of skin. Baby soft tender skin with emotions.

I can’t tell you exactly what he did because my eyes were closed so tightly I think I could actually see the past.

There are certain rules about shaving that ensure that the recipient of the shave do not end up dead. One of these rules includes not stretching the skin while shaving the face to avoid irritation. Granted this is something the old barbershops used to do. And since this barbershop was in the "old style" apparently it meant "anti-evolution."

So... Herando is dragging this razor back and forth back and forth across the same swatch of skin of my face like he is raking a rock garden. MY face is not a rock garden. My face is a marshmallow garden that needs to be tended by delicate flocks of feather carrying underweight butterflies.

He shaved with the grain, against the grain, above the grain, below the grain, into the grain, through the grain. And I’m not sure about this, but I’m pretty sure at one point he used sandpaper.

I kept praying for it to be over but it wouldn’t stop. He couldn’t stop!

Finally there was a pause and I was almost positive it was over. But not quite. No it was time for the powder. He put powder on my face the same way Animal from the Muppets would.

The whole purpose of me warning him before the shave was to prevent the pain, distress, and more pain I faced over the course of 20 minutes. I really thought that my warning would have been enough to prevent such a massacre, but not even close.

Now you’re probably wondering why I didn’t stop him. Well I am an optimist and I kept thinking it might get better. I kept thinking surely the pain must be over.

And also I figured it was better that he did his damage to my whole face, so I didn’t have half a swollen face.

At least the good news is I won't have to have my face exfoliated until.. well until my face grows back.

When my shave was finally over, as I stood up out of the chair Hernando looked at me with a face of I told you so and said without a trace of irony, humor, or sarcasm in his voice:

You're very sensitive.

Thanks.

Jerk.

Toothpaste, Margarine and the Toilet Seat

I will honestly state that I do not make the best decisions. I regularly base my actions on ideas that seem to make sense to me but in hindsight appear to never have really made sense to me at all.

This is not a new thing. In fact there are several instances within my life that I can point to as being extremely ridiculous and lacking any intelligent base. There are 3 specific time periods in my life where I was making different poor decisions on a recurring basis.

The Toothpaste

When I was very little, back when my sister and I were still brushing our teeth at the same time to get ready for bed. We had Crest or Colgate toothpaste, and we’d stand in the bathroom scrubbing our chompers in our pajamas.

We’d put the toothpaste on the toothbrush first, then rinse it under water (and don’t you dare tell me you rinse the toothbrush first) and then commence our brushing.

Now the natural completion to brushing your teeth is to then spit that mouth full of foam into the sink and wash it way.

Not lil Richy Boehmcke. Nope, so sir, that was a mouth full of tasty I was processing. No I wanted the full experience. So I would swallow it.

I distinctly remember my sister yelling at me telling me not to do that because it was wrong. I didn’t understand why. How could something so delicious be wrong? Certainly she was mistaken.

She even told our parents. I think she told my father specifically who came in to the bathroom and wasn’t quite sure about what to say to me. I mean, it may have been gross but it certainly wasn’t a mean-spirited thing to do. It was my mouthful of toothpaste to do with as I wished.

Upon further research it would appear that swallowing toothpaste that you have used to brush your teeth is NOT advised, but that was not what stopped it for me. I guess I just lost interesting in swallowing the nasty I had just removed from my teeth… even if it did taste minty.

The Margarine

My family used to buy margarine. Specifically we bought a brand called promise. It came in a plastic tub with a swirl in the middle. I loved that swirl. I loved that swirl more than anything else in the fridge. I loved that swirl so much that I would get jealous as well as angry any time somebody would get to the swirl before me.

I’m sure my parents and sister thought there was something wrong with me. I mean, not just because of the way I looked, but also because I would throw mini tantrums any time I discovered a missing swirl.

It was for this reason that I started eating this swirl before the rest of my family could get to it. And I don’t just meeting being the first to spread it on toast. No, I mean I would sneak into the fridge and eat the swirl out of the tub of margarine before somebody else got to it.

Now I will be the first to admit that eating margarine straight from the tub is not a good idea. It is a very easy way to become the world’s fattest man. That was not my goal, I just needed that swirl.

I don’t’ even know how I fell in love with the swirl. But it’s kind of like falling in love with somebody from across the room and then immediately hating any man that talks to her. It was like that for me.

I’m not sure if I stopped eating that swirl first, or if we just stopped buying margarine. Either way it was for the best because I still think fondly off that swirl.

The Toilet Seat

And finally, there were about 4 years of my life where I did not sit on the toilet seat.

And trust me, I am well aware that nothing I can write here will make this make sense to you. I know this. But from about the time I was 7 until I was about 11 the toilet seat and my butt did not have a close relationship.

I don’t know how it happened or what cued up the initial thought. I just remember looking at the hole in the toilet seat and thinking to myself, “that doesn’t seem big enough.”

Granted a very cursory knowledge of the human body, and toilet seats for that matter, would make it easy to see that the toilet seat was working for the other 8 billion people on the planet, surely it would work for me.

But defying logical though is something I excel at and this time was no exception. I just didn’t feel comfortable sitting on a toilet seat. The confidence I needed to exist on that flat surface was just something I did not have. I don’t know how I lost that confidence, where it went, or why I didn’t think to speak to somebody about this.

What I do know, is that those 4 years of bathroom use were hands down the most stressful of my life. The threat of falling into a toilet was ever present as was the discomfort of that hard porcelain.

I imagine it is similar to being afraid of the dark. You don’t really remember when it started, or when it ended, you just are one day no longer afraid of the dark. Except, I am still kind of afraid of the dark, and any time I am in a dark completely black room I see that creepy chick from The Ring climbing out of mirrors and TVs and accosting me, and that’s something I absolutely cannot handle, so maybe this metaphor isn’t really doing the trick right now.

So my point is I just remember one day thinking to myself, well, let’s give the toilet seat another try. And just like that, after being estranged for 4 years, the toilet seat and I rekindled our relationship, thereby ending a string of extremely poor decision making that included consuming the inconsumable and poor hygienic decisions.

Granted it would be another 10 years before I had the experience of going #2 into a hole in the ground. That’s a story for another day. But even that wasn’t my poor decision making that was just a poor decision I was forced to make. Big difference.

Mad Men... Myself - The Conclusion

So after 30+ pictures I finally called it quits on my roof. Now you might think 30 pictures doesn't sound like too much. But it was

1. Hit menu
2. Select timer
3. Line up shot
4. Press the button
5. Go pose and wait
6. Review picture
7. Restart

Add into the fact that halfway through the shoot my batteries were almost dead, so I had to stop and charge them for like... 4 minutes so I could continue being a narcissist on my roof. I also kept panicking that my whiskey bottle was going to fall off the roof and kill someone walking by and really, I would have no good alibi there.

At one point after taking so many pictures I started taking swigs from the bottle. And let me tell you...  old Jim Beam does not taste as awesome as.... well, nobody probably think old whiskey tastes good. Yea that one was all on me.

Anyway, after I finished I spent 3 days sorting through the pictures, asking people's opinion, cropping, moving, and stressing over which one to pick.

The fact that every single person I asked like a different photo certainly didn't help either. But I was able to choose one after narrowing it down to this batch.

The Executive


The Suspicious


The Dreamer


The Desperate


It is amazing the differences of opinions. Some people are very vehement about which pictures I submit to contests I probably don't have a chance to win. So which one did I eventually choose?

Well I'll tell you. But only if you promise to vote every day!

See the final photo here:



Mad Men... Myself

I love living alone. I’ve had my own apartment for over 2 years now and it’s fabulous. It is quite possibly one of my favorite aspects of my life. It allows me a freedom and comfort I couldn’t have if I still had roommates.

The only thing challenging about living by myself is not having anybody to instantly coerce into helping with the half a dozen projects I am always thinking about doing. If I schedule it far enough in advance, I can gather some wonderful friends to help me.

But every once in a while I find myself dressed in a suit and tie climbing out my window holding a tri pod and a bottle of Jim Beam.

Allow me to explain.

I have been on a contest kick the last 6 months, video contests mostly. And that has led into other ventures like the viral videos that I did for my friend Sean's company Boom Boom Energy. Myself and my friend Brandi self shot 3 videos for him in my apartment using a tripod and my camera. You can see them all here.

But as I was moving stuff around my apartment to assemble a desk I just bought, I put the tripod in my room and forgot about it.

Until later that day when I came home, walked into my bedroom and saw a tripod... with a camera on it... facing my bed. I can only IMAGINE what somebody would have thought had they come over after work. Thank god nobody saw that one.

But aside from incriminating myself in my own apartment, I recently started watching Mad Men. Yes I know this is the 5th season and it’s amazing. But I don’t have a lot of time, and I don’t watch TV. But the amount of people who told me

Rich you would LOVE Mad Men. You HAVE to watch it.

Was starting to get annoying, and I was pretty interested in it anyway. So I bought it on iTunes and started watching it. I got so into it that I watched the first 2 seasons in about 3 weeks.

I noticed 2 immediate effects.

  1. I started drinking a lot more. I’d like to believe that it was the 95 degree weather but something felt positively sinful about not whetting my whistle while engaging in mid century misogyny and philandering.
  2. I really felt myself wanting to be a part of that lifestyle. And not because I want to get married, cheat on my wife, and then cheat on the woman I am cheating on my wife with. But because they were so damn stylish, I wanted a reason to look that good. I will admit I wanted to be Don Draper. 
Luckily around that same time, a friend of mine sent me this tasty little flyer from Banana Republic.


A chance to walk on to the set of Mad Men? Absolutely. I was in. Now I just needed a plan.

While I had previously sworn off public voting contests, this one was just too much fun to pass up. So I took a look at the site and was immediately disheartened.

The person with the most votes had many thousands of votes. Something I couldn’t possibly match.  I contemplated not doing it but then I decided I would and enlist the help of some friends.

Well the friends ended up being quite busy and or out of town at that time so I had no choice but to shoot it myself. I was at work on Friday afternoon when I realized I could take the picture on my roof. With the sun setting. Perfect!

So I rushed home after work.

Actually that’s not true. I walked fast to the train, but then I just sat on it, it doesn’t matter how much of a rush I am in, the train tends to go the same speed and or slower. So that sentence should have said:

So I went home at normal speed.

Better. I got home and climbed out my window onto my fire escape and up to my roof. I quickly realized that I didn’t have much time. The sun would be gone soon. So I climbed back into my apartment to shower, shave, get suited up and set up the shoot that I would be doing of myself.

The shower was quick and easy but shaving in a hurry is like, well, I mean it’s really its own metaphor. Any time we are talking knives and faces, there really should be as much time allowed as possible.

Thankfully, I didn’t cut my head off and was able to quickly get dressed and part glue my hair into a 1960s quaff.

I grabbed the camera and tripod as well as a bottle of Jim Beam which I was going to use as a prop for the shoot.

Now I was in one of my favorite suits which I wouldn’t exactly call “action wear.”

And climbing out of my window requires getting over an extremely high sill which I can barely do in basketball shorts, never mind tailored pants. And with nobody to hand me all of my stuff I had to simultaneously lift my leg 4 feet in the air and over a ledge to get it out the window while also holding a fully expanded tri-pod (for some reason I hadn’t thought to collapse it) and a 30 year old bottle of whiskey that hadn't been opened since the last time my parents had a "nautical party" in our old basement.

Right about the time I was straddling the window I thought to myself, what if somebody sees me? What would they think?

OH there he goes again. Always getting dressed up to drink whiskey on the roof!

Never mind the fact that once on my fire escape I have to walk past my neighbor’s living room on my way to the ladder to get to the roof. My neighbor, who recently bought an Ab Rocket and uses it for 30 minutes every morning so I hear a half hour of

Squeak Squeak Squeak Squeak

Well... at least I think that’s her Ab Rocket. Anyway, I'm just saying we both have our own stuff going on.

Mine is not the tallest building in my neighborhood, so I can only imagine if the people in the buildings across from me looked out to see me standing on my roof, in a suit, and sneakers, striking poses for a camera on a timer.

A couple of years ago this might have bothered me, or made me insecure. But I have embraced my ridiculousity and thus do not mind doing strange things that attract attention.

I mean it doesn’t always go so well, sometimes trying to take a picture of myself all I got was this.


Headless man on the roof.

But when it went well it was pretty cool. And I was happy with how most of the pictures came out, and after much debate I picked one that would be my entry into the contest that I had no chance to win.

Which picture did I choose? Well, you'll just have to wait and see now won't you?

This Really Blows


I like to think I am an easygoing guy. I try not to get too excited about things in advance. I maintain a level head and a moderate level of excitement unless something is truly extraordinary.

And every once in a while I come across something that turns me into a fanatical evangelist who can’t shut up. I feel the need to tell every single person about it. People I know, people I don’t know, and anybody who happens to be having a conversation. It’s like a cake that I can’t eat enough of.

But several years ago I found something in a public restroom that changed my life. It made me so crazy excited that I didn’t know what to do with myself. And every time I see it, even if I’m in the crappiest of moods. It lifts my spirits.

Now normally a trip to a public restroom is an awful experience. I’ve heard from women that their bathrooms are disgusting but I still have to believe that men’s rooms are even worse.

And of those bathrooms, it seems like the ones at New York area airports are the worst. They smell like a depressed vacuum of souls, wrapped up in a hollow resonance of gross.

And they are barely hanging together. The products in these restrooms are never of the finest quality. The paper products and soap are industrial and for the barest minimum of functionality.

Specifically, I have never pulled off some toilet paper and thought to myself:

Wow this is going to be a wonderful experience!

No. It’s usually something more like:

Ya know what? I could use this to sand down those shelves in my apartment!

And that usually happens right when I walk into the bathroom because I have to take off a batch of toilet paper to wipe the pee off the seat.

There are no happy surprises in a public restroom. A happy surprise usually ends up meaning soap in the dispenser. I went to a movie theater in South Carolina that had 7 sinks and 6 of them…. SIX were out of order. I mean if you can’t even keep your sinks working I think its time you get your money back from the contractor, plumber, or monkey who built your bathroom.

But there is 1 surprise that exists in public restrooms. It is a device, no, a machine that does things that no other machine can do. It turns air into magic, and turns wet hands into dry ones.

I am speaking of course about the Xlerator hand dryer.

Now maybe you are one of the unfortunate few who have never laid eye on, or hands under, an Xlerator hand dryer. You might be sitting there thinking

It’s a hand dryer, what’s the big whoop?

Well I’ll tell you what the big whoop is! It kicks to life like a jet engine and blows the water, ALL the water, off your hands in less than 12 seconds! It's like a wall mounted leaf blower... for your hands.

This hand dryer is from the future. It is science fiction. It is a contraption of Orwellian significance. It is like getting the Internet in 1907 or finding skittles in a sarcophagus. It is so far ahead of the rest of the pack of hand dryers out there that is almost not fair. It makes those other hand dryers look like assholes.

And speaking of the other hand dryers, let’s break down the categories.

First you have the push button hand dryers, which are the worst in the world because that means that I have to use my hand, the hand I just washed with soap (if there was any) to push that button that was pushed by somebody before me who didn’t wash their hands. So now I have an extra germ on my hand.

Which is why I use my elbow to push that button, or my shoulder… or my foot. Yes I know that defeats my point but I wouldn’t have to use my foot if there wasn’t a button now would I?

And that’s fine if it’s at normal height, but if its lower, then I look like an extremely special individual with no idea how to work the machine. It’s a lot like my elevator experience.

And then there are the automatic sensor hand dryers, which I don’t have to touch, thank god. But they are so weak and pathetic I feel the need to put my hand on its shoulder and tell it:

Hey buddy, it’s going to be OK.

Its not even like it’s drying anything, it just feels more like I’m putting my hands in front of the face of a feverish mouth breather. So then I end up shaking my hands for 3 minutes after like I’m doing the neutron dance.

And I hate doing the neutron dance in the bathroom.

If I am just going to end up shaking my hands that much anyway I shouldn’t even bother washing them. I should just wipe them on my pants straight off like I did when I was 11. And even though I am in my late 20s I still find myself doing that more than I should.

And finally there are those hand dryers that don’t even make sense. It looks like a hand dryer but there is no discernable button, and running your hands under it does not make anything happen. It might not even be a hand dryer. It could just be a fuse box, or a time machine, or something.

That is why I am so grateful for the Xlerator hand dryer. It doesn’t just blow the water off my hands, it blows my worries away. And that is something I could not be more grateful for. One day I hope to be wealthy enough to install one in my home. I could think of no better status symbol.

I mean really the only thing that could make the Xlerator hand dryer even better would be is if they put one in the stall so I could blow the pee off the seat.

But let’s take this one step at a time. I can wait for that development.

Pore Decision

The funny thing about a bad idea is it doesn’t always immediately seem like a bad idea. On the contrary, it is not until you are in the middle of implementing that idea that you realize… this is an awful idea.

I started a new job this week. It’s a whole new position in a completely different industry. I was looking to feel refreshed and rejuvenated so I didn’t roll into my first day of work looking like this:


Yikes.

I didn’t have time for a vacation or a getaway. So I thought if I couldn’t actually feel refreshed and renewed, I might as well appear so. I will get a facial!

And yes I am aware this can be added to the least manly things I have done in my life. But hey, celebrities get facials and I am planning to be really ridiculously successful so this is basically just planning ahead.

Way ahead.

I heard it might be a little rough and there might be some discomfort but I could handle it. After all I had been to the dentist earlier that morning. I had dealt with my pain threshold for the day.

The place I chose was bustling with many eastern European women with dazzling skin, escorting (mostly but not all) female clients in and out of tiny rooms in a large labyrinth of facial care.

I checked in and was escorted by one blonde eastern European woman to a tiny room 6 feet wide and 12 feet long with an accordion door. She looked at me and said:

Is this your first time here?
Yes
Top off, robe on, and make yourself comfortable.

And she slid the door closed and left.

The confusion immediately set in. Robe? What robe? I looked around the room and noticed a full massage table and what appeared to be a dry cleaning steamer.

Why did I need to take my top off? What were they going to do to me? Did every man’s facial come with a complementary chest wax? I did not want a complementary chest wax… I did not want ANY chest wax. I tried to ignore this thought as I spotted a large green silky robe hanging on the wall and traded my shirt for it.

Fact: Dressing like a Hogwarts Professor is not my idea of “getting comfortable.” I was reminded of my time at the dermatologist, but comforted by the fact that this time I got to keep my pants on.

I sat down on the bed, and then decided to lie down and fold my hands over my chest to try to appear as nonchalant as possible. (Read: Not very nonchalant at all) Eventually a tall eastern European woman with dark hair and large dark spectacles entered the room. In her thick accent she introduced herself.

My name is Madonna and I will be your aesthetician.

But what she SHOULD have said, was,

My name is Madonna and I am about to squeeze the shit out of your face.

I asked her how my skin looked thinking I did a good job of face maintenance.

It’s a little dry and a little clogged.

Dry and clogged? So the face that I was proud of had the exact same qualities as a dorm toilet. Awesome.

I’m not sure why my skin was clogged. Perhaps I had spent 1 too many nights pretending I was a dirty pirate.


Who knows? As she was getting herself setup she also said to me:

We put on hat gloves.

Hat gloves? I tried to imagine what a hat glove looked like? Was she going to put a winter hat on each of my hands? Or was I going to have to put my hands inside of a hat on my head (which she had already wrapped in some sort of shower cap/ turban combo).

She must have seen the look of confusion on my face because she repeated.

We put on hot gloves.

Ohhh hot gloves ok, sure. I’m not sure what this has to do with a facial, but sure.

She then coated my hands in a lotion, covered them in tissues and slipped them into a pair of plastic/aluminum oven mitts that were plugged into the wall.

I was a bit concerned about being PLUGGED INTO A WALL like a toaster. This is something I try to avoid. She said:

If they are too hot, just take them off.

I had no idea how that would be possible, considering I was bound and plugged into the wall like some kind of electric mental patient. But luckily I was quickly distracted by something else.

She began rubbing lotion on my face and covered my eyes with a wet towel. I then felt the sensation of a dry cleaning steamer on my face. I started to feel claustrophobic. I think she noticed because she pulled it back before she left me me lying on the table to... steam?

After about 10 minutes she came back in.

How was that?
Good, very relaxing.
This part won't be. (Small laugh) Now I clean out your pores. Let me know if it is too hard.

I thought this was just a courtesy, a way of making me feel comfortable.

No, she was serious.

Madonna went to town. I'm not sure if she was using her nails, or actual carpentry nails, but I think she was mad at my face. Like, really mad. So mad that she was trying to ruin it. I was not prepared for this amount of pain. I was wincing and wondering why I didn’t hear screams coming from the other rooms? If other people were experiencing this much pain shouldn’t I be hearing swear words and blood curdling screaming? Because I tell you, that was my inclination. Was I just a wuss?

I must be bleeding I thought. There is no way I am not bleeding. SURELY she can see the blood coming out of my face right? Why does she continue to squeeze if I have a bloody face? Just because her name was Madonna didn’t mean she had to turn this into the Passion of My Face.

She finally finished and it was all I could do to not actually scream out praise for the actual mother of God.

Then she said,

Do you see the light?

And I really panicked. Oh shit I am dead. I died. I knew it! The mother Madonna is here to escort me into heaven after squeezing my face into an early grave.

As it turns out, what she actually said was

Are you alright?

I mumbled yes as she took the towel off my eyes.

And that is when I felt the tears spill out and roll down the sides of my face. The pain had been so great that I hadn’t noticed my eyes welling up.

She had finally managed to unclog my face, and I managed to moisturize it myself.

She did give me a bit of advice as well.

Next time, shave.

Ha! Like there’s gonna be a next time.

Gel Hath No Fury





Hello, my name is Richard Boehmcke and I used to be addicted to hair gel.

Wow, that was tough.

It wasn’t always this way.

I mean, I was addicted to hair spray first. And hair spray will always be my first love. But when it comes to Gel, no addiction in my life was harder for me to kick.

My hair is kind of like a classroom of ADD 8 year olds on top of my head. It is confusing, nobody follows directions, and everybody is looking in a different direction.

But up until 5th grade I wasn’t aware that my hair was capable of such epic ridiculousity. My beautiful ignorance was still firmly in place courtesy of my mother. Always wanting her son to appear handsome, she combed my hair for the early part of my life, and she did it the same way my father did his; parted on the side.

But unlike my father who only used a couple of spritzes of hairspray to hold his hair in place, my hair required quite a few more something like 25 sprays of hair spray to get the hair to behave.

Looking back now I realize that between my mother, father, and sister we were probably responsible for most of the hairspray purchased in New York between 1987 and 1995.

It was around 6th grade that I branched out and started learning how to do my own hair, truly a momentous occasion in my life. This was also around the time of puberty where my face looked like a battlefield; my voice sounded like a broken cello, and when I walked it kind of looked like I was trying to roller-skate… on ice.

So with my life seemingly out of control my subconscious quickly latched on to the idea that if I couldn’t control what I sounded like, or what people thought of me, or how popular I was, I was going to do my damndest to make my hair look perfect.

This meant the end of hair spray and a rather unfortunate reinvention and subsequent love affair with hair gel. Seeing as I grew up on Long Island this was pretty much my birthright.

It is challenging to grow up in a place (Long Island) where hair gel is revered as though it had come straight from the hands of Jesus himself. Like in his most famous of stories Jesus hadn’t turned water into wine, but rather hair gel. So that none of his disciples would have to suffer from dry, lifeless hair, which was rumored to affect all of the apostles except Judas ironically.

I familiarized myself with all the myriad types of Dep. This fantastic manufacturer of hair product measured its different kinds of hair gel on a scale from 1 to 5. The first level I guess meaning “I don’t really care how I look,” to level 5 meaning, “I need to stand in a wind tunnel for my job.”

Later on Dep created levels 5 through 10. Now for the life of me I have not been able to distinguish sufficient differences between levels 1 and 10 but you can bet there IS a population using level 10. Those are my brethren from Long Island, those individuals who are fans of the hairstyle known as “The Blowout.”

The Blowout, for those of you unfamiliar, and I really don’t know how you could be, is a haircut where the owner appears to have exploded a large quantity of dynamite in the morning and then decided to leave the house without touching the hair.

I don’t know how this started, but I pray to god that it will one day stop. I don’t know how the first person that walked into the barbershop described this haircut.

“Hey yo, Barber man, you check this out. I want like, a haircut, but don’t like, don’t cut too much offs, ya know, and then take like, all the hair gels you got and make it look like I’m being sucked into the sky by like, a spaceship or some shit. Word?”

But while I never engaged in any hair gelling that made my noggin look like the wrong end of a turnip, I did use more than my share of hair gel.

In fact my love of hair gel was so profound that one year for Easter my mother bought me a VAT of hair gel. I’m not sure what the corollary was between Jesus rising from the dead and a “strong hold and lustrous shine” but I will gladly admit that having that much gel was completely unnecessary.

It was no less than 64 houses of bright yellow goo. It was the kind of jar you might have reached for had you been looking for some industrial coolant.

There was no spout, no nozzle, just a lid, which unscrewed allowing me to put my entire hand into and scoop out as much yellow confidence builder as I needed.

Never one for moderation, this made this activity the equivalent applying a glob of axle grease to lube up a jet turbine.

And my head may resemble many things, but “jet turbine” is one I have readily tried to avoid.

I think my mother and I can agree that was a mistake on both of our parts.

But can you really blame me?

I mean how else was I supposed to make people like me? A good personality? Kindness? Please, everyone knows those things don’t work in your teen years.

But alas these days I keep the amount of hair product I use to a minimum. And I anticipate it staying like that. Unless of course I come across a Bible with a new take on Easter. Something like:

"On the third day Jesus rose from the dead… and his hair looked FABULOUS!"

The Second Rant


Again, my document of things I want to write about is growing at a rate faster than I can possibly handle. So, much like I did in The First Rant, I have compiled a short list of topics that don’t require their own post but (in my scientific opinion) are still worth mentioning.  What follows are things that have been marinating in my brain for better or for worse.

Bagels

Living in New York I am very particular about my Bagels. As I am about my pizza as well. There are many bagels I enjoy. The sesame is a fine bagel, as is the pumpernickel, the cinnamon raisin and several others but there is one bagel I don’t get;

The Everything Bagel.


Pass.

I am opposed to this bagel on so many levels. The first being that, for whatever reason, the Everything Bagel is always cooked next to my most favorite of the bagelino family, the egg bagel, which has no seasoning. You’d think they would cook the everything bagel next to the salt bagel or maybe… in its own oven in a different store… in another city.


Its like a plague on other bagels. A bagel plague... a plaguel.

I mean it’s barely a bagel, it looks more like an art project.

And ya know what if you like the everything bagel, I don’t judge you, but can we get some kind of restriction on what is in this bagel? Everything is not an ingredient list. What the hell is in an Everything Bagel? Garlic? Cheetos? Bleach?

It’s like knocking the spice rack over into the mixer.

Is there anything more uninspired than the ingredient list for an everything bagel? I can only imagine the originators of this recipe.

Bagel Maker 1:  What should we put in it?
Bagel Maker 2:  Umm everything.
Bagel Maker 1: What do you mean everything?!
Bagel Maker 2: I mean everything!
Bagel Maker 1: You are gross, I hate you.

Solicitation Emails

Now I don’t condone solicitation emails. You know the ones I am talking about, those emails that say you stand to gain a 40,000,000 Euros if you will just help this dethroned king from Zimbabwe transfer his funds to the Chase Bank in your neighborhood.

The scams take good money out of the pockets of decent humans every year. But the people writing these emails are idiots! I mean they are written in such crap English. You’d think they would hire a decent English-speaking criminal and say

Hey, we are looking to rip off some of the Americans, would you mind rewriting this scam email so it sounds legit?

I think some American criminals could really clean up by consulting for these international hooligans by just suggesting they stop starting out their emails with “Dear Honorable Sirs.” Stop talking to me like I am Nobleman from the 14th century, unless of course you meant to send this email to a Renaissance village, in which case you have other problems.

Airplane Charges

I was on an airplane recently that had those need little TV screens in the back of the seat in front of you. My first thought was “yippee, free movie time.” But no, I was wrong. There was a rental fee. Do you know how much the fee was? 8 dollars. EIGHT FRIGGING DOLLARS! How the hell does that make any sense?

At the movie theater I pay 13 dollars to sit in a good quality seat and watch movies on a screen that is roughly 80 feet.

I can order a movie on TV for like 4 bucks that I can watch from the comfort of my couch (in my underwear no less…. Don’t judge) and eat the food in my fridge.

And yet to sit in a too small tin and pleather shit seat on a noisy plane next to some inflated troglodyte with seemingly 7 elbows and watch a 5-inch screen? 8 dollars!

I can’t even sit back in my seat with a screen that size. I need to lean forward so my face is almost touching the screen. And god forbid the person in front of me puts their seat back while I’m watching, they’ll shatter my nose like a Ivan Drogo. Because nobody ever just gently puts their seat back, they thrust it back like they just hit Mach 12 in their Jet fighter.

Is it too much to ask to use the same care in backing your seat up as when you back up your car? Just take a peak over your shoulder to see if there is anybody directly behind you before you punch the gas like you’re in a chase scene in the Bourne Identity.

Fitness

I pulled a muscle stretching the other day. I think that’s a good sign I’ve hit rock bottom in terms of physical activity.

Wine

There are millions of wines in the world. The odds that your local restaurant is going to have your exact favorite is usually pretty slim. I was tending bar recently when a guy came in and ordered a blush.

A blush? Do people still order blush? What is this, Sephora?

Another customer said to me, “Do you got Moscatto?”

No, I replied.

“You don’t got no pink wine? Damn you don’t got none of the wines I like.”

Mmm indeed.  You have my sincerest apologies. And by the way, thank you for bringing your brand of class to our fine establishment. Leave me your name and number and I will also let you know when we have added Twinkies and Jerky to our menu.

Cologne

I regularly rant against the funkiness of stinky people. But mind you stink is a broad spectrum of which the atrocities are many.

While I used to enjoy the odoriferous benefits of Polo Sport, I think it is important that you don’t smell like you DRANK a bottle of it before you left the house.

And as long as we are talking what people shouldn’t smell like I would like to mention a perfume for Women called Moon Sparkle.


Moon sparkle? I cannot imagine an audience for this product that doesn’t also regularly discuss the pros and cons of Unicorn ownership and spend their days attaching ribbons to the back bumper of their cars.

Moon Sparkle sounds like the name of Rainbow Bright’s horse.

Saddle up Moon Sparkle, we’re going on an adventure!

Somebody brought it to my attention recently that now they make Moon Sparkle for men. I have GOT to believe that the audience buying this product is limited at best. I’m not the manliest of men but I get the feeling if you buy moon sparkle it would come with a free purse and subscription to Cosmo Girl.

But if it came right down to it I’d rather smell like Moon Sparkle than an everything Bagel… but just barely.

Cold Hard Facts

I don’t want you to think that I hate winter. I really don’t. But February is about the point in the year in New York when dramatic frustration starts to set in. Here is why.

The cold is getting annoying.

I know I don’t live in some frigid place like Chicago, or Canada. You guys have it way worse. I get that. But it’s all relative, and as far as New York goes, the last 2 weeks in this city have been frigging freezing.

All this super bowl coverage of Miami isn’t helping either. I wake up and watch a special report from the pretty people pool at the Fufu Shishi hotel with all these tanned and glistening bodies in the sun.


 And then I go outside and the cold hits me in the face like a frozen punch of awful.

It’s been so cold in New York lately people won’t even walk down the streets. They are outside mind you, but they aren’t walking. They are running. But not just running, they are running down the streets screaming curse words at the top of their lungs.

Specifically the F word. That one is extremely popular.

So I’ve started doing it too. I first tested it out in Chicago over New Year’s. And let me tell you, it really does help. In fact while you are doing it, it feels kind of cathartic. It is the only thing that makes sense when it gets this cold outside.

Before I go any further I would like to tell you about a scale I have invented to determine how cold it is outside. The next time you go outside start counting. The amount of seconds it takes you to curse is equal to how awful it is outside.

If it takes 10 seconds it is pretty bad outside. If it only takes 4 seconds, it is really bad.

I went to a play last week with some friends and we had a dinner reservation at a restaurant about 5 blocks away.

Well I couldn’t even count how cold it was outside because before I even left the theater I was swearing up a storm. It was so $#&@%’n cold I thought about just lying down in the street and calling it quits because I didn’t think I could make it.

But I didn’t call it quits. I started sprinting and shouting. And in my sprint I passed other people doing the same. We were like a bunch of screaming fireworks passing each other the middle of the street.

But it’s not just the weather itself. Cold all the time always, ok, it’s awful. But it is the putting on of hats, gloves, dickeys, etc. that I find so exhausting.

Here is what you need before you leave the house in the summer.


Step 1. Get dressed.
Step 2. Leave the house.

I remember finding out that I had gotten a scholarship to Arizona State University. Tempe is known as the Valley of the Sun and temperatures regularly reach 115 in the summer and winters are extremely pleasant. I remember telling all of my friends that I was getting rid of all my pants. Arizona State University was going to pay me to not wear pants.

NO PANTS!

A couple winter weeks at home during break was easy. Plus it was Christmas, it was New Years, there were friends to catch up with. And just when the cold started to get annoying you were headed back to school for one of the 330 days of sunshine that Arizona provided every year.

But I am going on my 5th winter living in New York and it sucks. I mean waiting outside on the train platform is enough to make you go crazy. Now I understand why people carry flasks.

Here is what you need before you leave the house in the winter.


Step 1. Get dressed
Step 2. Select coat from your winter assortment.
Step 3. Put on scarf. Tie yourself some sort of Boy scout/sailor knot hybrid
Step 4. Button, zip, and cinch your coat
Step 5. Put on gloves
Step 6. Put on hat

Then you hustle outside, and get in a car or a train where you stay bundled until you get too warm so you take some of your accoutrements off. But then you arrive at your destination so you have to put them on again. So you rebundle and make your way to work where once inside, you unbundle.

I am not even including all the other ridiculous things you need to do like put on skin moisturizer, and lip balm, and special hand crème that smells like something used to lubricate jet engines because your cuticles are shot and its so frigging dry out you’ve got dandruff and your back hurts because you’re a decrepit 26 year old who tried to squat press his friends when he was 15…

Ahem. I digress.

So by 9 am you’ve gotten dressed and undressed like 4 times already.

God forbid you have to go out for lunch, or you need to run an errand. Any trip outside means bundling and unbundling again. And unless you plan on spending the night at work you have at least 1, possibly 2 bundle/unbundlings ahead of you.

By the time you get to the end of your day you’ve bundled and unbundled 12 times. And for what? Just so you don’t die? I’m honestly not sure it’s worth it. I mean that’s like 60 times a week for at least 3 months. That’s over 700 times a season. No wonder everyone is so frigging tired in the winter. I’m surprised more people don’t end up in the doctor’s office because they pulled their “coat muscle.”

And god forbid you have to wear those modern earn muffs they call 180s that wrap around the back of your head. Now admittedly they work, so I own a pair. But so do half the people on the street. They are an awesome invention. But something must be wrong when half the city is walking around looking like they got their head stuck in a clamp.

If I wasn’t so damn pale I would just move to one of those islands in the Caribbean where guys walk around in a bathing suit and no shirt and make a living unloading the shrimp boat.

Granted I’d probably get melanoma after about 40 minutes. So yea that’s out.

I guess I’ll just stay here. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go finish tying my scarf

Second Puberty

As I continue on this meandering path into manhood, I am learning many things. One of those things is the fact that I can't spend my whole life walking around looking like I just woke up. I need to get my life in order so that as I venture deeper into my late 20s I look like a semi-competent individual instead of just, well, an idiot.

It seems that no matter how old I am, my body is always entering a new form and a new stage of puberty. And the puberty of my late 20s has brought some changes I did not expect.

The first time I hit puberty, though repugnant to girls, and with a voice like a broken cello, life was relatively easy. My personal grooming consisted of brushing my teeth and showering. There might have been some deodorant involved as well. But basically that was it.

And in terms of self-beautification, well, that was just using large quantities of hair gel and/or hairspray to shape my hair into a perfect quaff. It was not uncommon for me to spend 10 minutes coaxing individual hairs into place. They night have been stubborn but I knew that my will could outlast that of any of my hairs on any day.

Apparently that will only applies to the hairs that grow on the top of my head.

Recently I noticed a rogue nose hair. For the last quarter century of my life, these little guys stayed neatly tucked away and were of no concern to me. This fella, due to unknown circumstances, had started a slow, creeping escape from the nasal cave. I'm not sure what his thought process was. Perhaps it was something like;

I have spent my entire life in this windy darkness... I SEEK THE LIGHT!

The day I noticed my friend was going AWOL, I panicked. Wasn't this something that was supposed to happen in my late 50s? Didn't I have time until such a point in which my teenage daughter bought me an electric nose hair clipper for Father's Day?

I'm sure it was probably one of those things that I noticed but nobody else did. But what if somebody did notice? It is not like having spinach in your teeth or an eyelash on your face. There is no quick fix. There is no smooth way to hide this nose hair. I can't exactly comb him back into place.

Having no nose hair clippers and seeing the immediate peril in tying to shove a scissor into my shnoz, I opted for the tweezers.

Yea, I know. It was a bad decision.

Let me tell you, there are few sensations more disturbing than the feeling of pulling a hair out of your nose. I am not sure how to describe it other than it feel like you are sneezing pain.

The mission was successful but I was left with a predicament. Was I supposed to just admit defeat and by the nose hair trimmer now? Was I going to be that guy? The guy in his 20s with a nose hair clipper. Or should I just yank the bastard out the next time he made a break for the border?

I still have not made the decision. And I don't like either option. But let me tell you, the anxiety is killing me.

The nose hair debacle, though unexpected, came with a pretty obvious solution. Things that happen on the outside of my epidermis are easy to react to and I can usually form my own opinions about a solution. The things that happen inside my body, well, I just take other people's advice.

The more I read about what I should be doing to stay healthy, the more trusting (or gullible) I become.

For a long time I never took vitamins. Once I had consumed my last grape Fred Flintstone, I pretty much retired vitamin taking. Now that has changed. I take my multi-vitamin, a Vitamin C, and because doctors everywhere tell me to, a fish oil capsule.

FISH OIL.

Have you ever in your life heard of a more disgusting thing to eat for breakfast? If my mother told me when I was a child that I had to eat fish oil every morning before I left the house... I probably would have run away from home.

Granted the fish oil is sealed in a tasteless, easy to swallow capsule, but it is still fish oil. And every once in a while, a couple hours after I've had one, I will catch one of those burps that lets you know exactly what is in your stomach.

And let me tell you, a fish Eggo combo is not an awesome taste.

During my first puberty I don't really recall spending much time on foot maintenance either. In fact, I recall spending exactly zero time on foot maintenance.

Perhaps you are aware of my recent experience with the PedEgg. After that very unrewarding interaction I figured I needed professional help. I decided it was time to let a strange Asian woman I'd never me before, take care of my feet.

I got a pedicure.

I know, I know. I am doing the opposite of manly things. But stay with me on this.

My feet had deteriorated to the point of needing professional assistance. It's a strange thing to take a part of your body that most people find completely repulsive and shove it in someones face for them to make it better.

Here you go strange tiny Asian woman, fix them. FIX THEM NOW!

I didn't know exactly what to expect from the experience. I couldn't tell if the woman scrubbing my feet hated me or just wasn't paying attention to me because the 3 times I tried to start a conversation with her, she just didn't respond. I took this as a sign that we were not destined to become friends and that this was strictly a business relationship.

I was pleased with the results. But maybe not enough to make it a regular activity like eating fish oil daily or yanking hairs out of my nose. But the smoothness of my feet was noticeable and appreciated. Maybe this puberty wouldn't be so bad after all.

Until of course I hit my 30s. God only knows where the hair will start to grown then.

The Agony of Da Feet

When I was 10 the grooming process was very simple. It was barely a process at that. I had soap, I had shampoo, and maybe some hairspray. there was no moisturizing, no exfoliating, and certainly no trips to the store to buy specialty niche items to help me improve my body.

But things have changed a lot for me. In fact I am sure the 10 year old me would be utterly baffled at the amount of crap I have in my bathroom, stuff that I am not even really sure why I own.

Case and point: There is a PedEgg in my bathroom.

For those of you who do not know, the PedEgg is one of those As Seen On TV products that promises to change your life like nothing you have ever owned before. This one promises to do it through exfoliation.

It is a home pedicure device shaped like an egg for reasons I dare not fathom. It looks like this.
















Notice the word "Professional" written on the egg. I'm sure this is to prevent people from getting this product confused with all of those amateur PedEggs you have been seeing on the market. Damn PedEgg impostors are ruining our economy. THIS one is the real deal. THIS is what the pros use.

As with most great inventions, I imagine that someone was at home in their bathroom using a cheese grater to get rid of the calluses on their heel when they had a brilliant stroke of brilliance.

"Wait a minute. What if I did not need to repair my gross feet with the same device that I use to shred my Parmesan? What if I had an object that was cost efficient, tiny, and shaped like a... like a... like a EGG?!"

Apparently there was an unknown demand, the the inventor of the PedEgg came up with the supply. The commercial that sells the product seems to be a blend of questionable truthiness. They show the PedEgg blade easily getting rid of the dead skin on the bottom of a woman's foot.

OK that seems believable.

Then they show the same PedEgg rubbing up against a balloon and not popping.

WHAT?

How can that be? A device such as this surely must have blades of ninja sharp steel, sharpened to a microfinish by the finest craftsmen to enable us to smoothen our feet! But for it to not pop a balloon? Blasphemy I say! Witchcraft!

So after I stopped yelling obscenities at my television, I decided to try it.

Having recently spent a couple of weeks walking through South America with a pack on my back, my feet were in need of a makeover. Nay. An extreme makeover. My all female team of coworkers kept suggesting a "team pedicure" but I felt the PedEgg might be a slightly less embarrassing and more successful venture.

Wrong again Boomka.

I wasn't sure where I could find this item. but, as it turns out it wasn't hard to find one. They are located with the impulse items near the register at where else? Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

Impulse item? Really? When i think impulse items I think candy and gum and glossy mags with pictures of half naked celebrities. I don't think... foot repair.

"Ohhh look! Flavored jelly beans and OH MY GOD my feet DO need to be scrubbed with a plastic egg!"

So I buy my egg (20% off of course) and bring it home. My excitement gets the better of me and I open it immediately. This would be like Christmas for my feet. Though it seemed unnecessary to do so, I read the instructions. I wanted to make sure this really was as easy as had been advertised.

My elation quickly turned to frustration as I started using the PedEgg.

My first problem with the PedEgg is using it requires my leg to be in a yoga position I can only describe as Crouching Neanderthal. Keeping my leg folded up in that stance for more than 4 consecutive seconds without collapsing and smacking my head on the sink is a miracle of strength and gravity.

I finally managed to get myself into proper... um... PedEgging form by sitting on the toilet and leaning against the wall.

Once I was able to accomplish such a feat I began Pedegging myself. Giving myself a PedEggcure if you will. I started out gently, worrying that I would turn my foot into a bloody stump if I wasn't careful.

But that wasn't enough so I applied a little more pressure.

And a little bit more.

And a little bit more.

And a little bit more until I was scrubbing the bottom of my foot so hard I thought I was going to blow my rotator cuff or need Tommy John surgery. Because as far as the PedEgg is concerned, it appears my feet are made out of Balloons.

But I also still had to do the other foot. which means I had to move the PedEgg to my left hand. Now I can barely even wave with my left hand, never mind contort my body into a pretzel while simultaneously sanding off the heel of my right foot. This process took considerably longer.

I checked the results of my effort. Sure my foot was smoother but I was disappointed. If I do a cost benefit analysis on my purchase I come to the conclusion that having a smooth foot is not worth having to pay for a shoulder replacement.

So I just gave up and did what any other guy would have done.

I went and got a pedicure.

I Quit the Gym

Several years ago I read a fantastic book called "Letters from a Nut." The premise was this gentlemen would send letters to establishments and services of all kinds stating he needed special accommodations for his "14th century sword" or his "giant butter costume."
The letters were hilarious. I decided to channel him while writing the official letter I needed to write to get out of my gym membership. I get tired of the same old communication so I decided to take some... creative license with the truth. The following letter will be mailed tomorrow.
Dear ***** Fitness,
I am writing to cancel my membership to your facility at ************* that expires on June 30, 2009. I believe I am supposed to reference this number ******, I am not sure what it means but I hope you do.
I am also not sure why I am supposed to send this letter to you by certified mail. Why can't I just quit the gym... AT the gym. Are they not competent enough to handle such transactions?
Or better yet why can't I quit over the phone? I can open and close credit cards, check my bank balance, and pay the mortgage on my APARTMENT all over the phone, so how come I can't just tell you I don't want to get fitness at your establishment via telephone? Frankly it seems a bit 19th century.
I must say that while I was happy with the gym when I first started there (those full length windows are great) I believe the quality of the facility has decreased dramatically over the last 6 months. I understand that tough times require cut backs and certain sacrifices must be made, but I felt some of those made at ***** were unwarranted and saddening.
My first complaint is the lack of Zen grass in the bathroom. All of the promotional pictures and advertisements for ***** show a delightful tuft of Zen grass next to the sink. I have been thinking about becoming a practicing 2nd Tier Zen Buddhist for some time now, and I was excited at the opportunity for a moment of Zen before and after my workout.
I never saw said grass. You have towel dispensers and toilet paper that must be constantly refilled. Why not a palate of Zen grass that you can leave and let flourish? I believe this is false advertising.
My second complaint is the removal of the Q-Tips. While I understand that you cannot provide your patrons with all the necessary toiletries, and the medical research on the effectiveness of cotton swabs is divided, I believe the Q-Tip to be the most important toiletry, and I was bemused as to why I wasn’t even given notice of its impending removal.
My third complaint is the “day” lockers. These are supposed to be for use only during your workout, yet there are very few that are ever available. There are dozens of lockers and yet I have been in the gym with a handful of other people and there was nary a free locker in sight. This means that you are not enforcing your own policy. I say shame to you!
I have a better chance of getting swine flu than I do of getting a locker in your gym. This makes me sad. I am in great need of a locker during my workout as I wear several supportive undergarments during my work day which I am really not comfortable discussing here.
My fourth complaint is your towels. As an aspiring practicing 2nd Tier Zen Buddhist I maintain a hygiene of the highest order, the robes I am supposed to wear would never be dirty or soiled. I would dry clean them weekly, and my home is the picture of immaculate cleanliness.
I recently acquired a rather unsightly rash after using one of your towels. I am positive it was due to the towel because the rash appeared immediately following use. Thankfully it was treatable and no permanent damage occurred to my lily white skin. But who is to know what other diseases have manifested themselves on your towels?
My fifth complaint is about the dress code. While you maintain a code of apparel for what people may wear while they work out, it seems some of your trainers decide to ignore this dress code. While I understand dungarees provide a comfortable style of panting, they have no place in a place of fitness.
And also this same trainer consistently changes the workout music to a station that nobody likes. I've even heard people in the gym say, "Hey, this is a station nobody likes!"
My sixth point is actually not a complaint. Your desk attendant George is a citizen of the highest moral fortitude. He is both kind and friendly, never anything but professional and I appreciate his contribution to the ***** brand. When I think ****, I think George.
For all my misgivings, my time at ***** has been worth it. I have been able to lose weight, gain muscle, and when I finally start wearing my robes, I know they will fit in a way that is appropriate and calming. I actually will probably need a smaller rope belt!
I do hope that you will make the necessary changes to provide the kind of excellent customer satisfaction that your promotional materials say you strive for. I hope one day to return to your gym and be pleasantly surprised (as well as possibly a 3rd tier Zen Buddhist).
Sincerely,
Richard Boehmcke

The Follicle Chronicles

I have never gotten more than one good haircut in a row. The entire haircutting scenario sets you up to fail. This traces all the way back to when I first starting getting haircuts as a child.


I remember my mom taking me to the barber. He was an older Greek man, maybe Italian, who worked at one of those barbershops with the spinning red and blue pole outside. He would talk in his thick accent saying things I didn't understand. He also helped me lose a tooth.


I showed him one I had hanging by a thread , and he quickly yanked it out of my face. I am pretty sure today this would be an offense punishable by law, or at least a damaging statement from the American Dental Association, but back then it was cute I suppose.


As my barber and I got older I learned that while he was lovable and endearing, his haircuts were less than symmetrical. And symmetricality, at least for me, is an important quality when it comes to the shape of my head. That is was why I stopped going to my beloved Greektalian barber.


When I went out to Arizona for college many a haircut took place at Supercuts when I was feeling cheap... which was pretty much all the time. There I would sit in the waiting area looking through old issues of Cosmo Girl for inspiration, finding none. Really Supercuts? What am I supposed to do, go up to my stylist and say, "Hey, can you make me look like this picture of Mandy Moore?"


The only saving grace was that I kept my hair short enough that if I had a bad haircut I didn't have it for long before I got another.


Sometimes when I was feeling trendy, I would go to one of the more zestily named places like "Grooming Humans" or "Grooming Humans II." More often than not, the only thing that would determine whether or not I went back to a stylist was how attractive she was. I found this great woman who was adorable. I have no idea if she did a good job or not because I was too busy trying to make her like me.
I am not very good at meeting girls.


Another challenge I face is the woman who does the shampooing. (How this became a strictly female profession, I will never know) This woman is always 1 of 2 kinds of people.


She is either some sort of Ex Bavarian Torture Frau who had been laid off and turned to hair washing as a back up. This woman inevitably alternates between scalding and freezing my scalp with extreme water temperatures and then scrubbing my head so hard that I often wonder if there will be any hair left to wash.


The other type of hair washer is the woman whose hands are magical. After a 2 minute shampoo and conditioning I am often rendered speechless and asleep with a parade of drool running down my face.


I always close my eyes during shampooing. I do this because I find it awkward to be staring upside down at a strange woman massaging my head. The massaging is so relaxing that I often open my eyes feeling like i had just finished a Nyquil-tini and all I can say is something like. "ohshlumpsfea" while squinting like I just came out of cataract surgery.


Then I go to to the actual stylists chair where she says, "What are we doing today?"


What are we doing today? We're cutting my hair! What do you mean what are we doing today? I don't know what to tell you, your the one who spent months learning how to use a scissor. If I knew what we were doing today I would have done it myself in the bathroom. Lord knows I tried (more on that later).


Here's what you're gonna do today.


1. Cut my hair.
2. Don't stab me
3. Don't make me look like Friar Tuck.


Deal?


I mean seriously that's about all I really desire. And then afterward they say, "What do you think?"
I have no idea what I think. I think I have less hair than when you started. I always think it looks good. And then I wake up the next morning and realize my head looks like a toilet brush. I just assume the haircut is good and tell them so. And then, pending they haven't stabbed me, I tip them nicely.


I feel you shouldn't have to tip on a haircut until 3 days later when you have had time to sleep on it (literally) and can see what you truly think. I am so rushed and confused after a haircut. What am I supposed to say to this woman?


You ruined it! You ruined me! The woman has a BOX of sharp scissors and razor blades on her shelf. I'm no fool.
No, for better or worse I just lie and hope for the best. And unless we change the payment scenario for hair stylists, I suggest you do too.
I have been keeping my hair a bit longer these days (women seem to prefer it) and when it grows for a while without being cut it takes on a shape that can only be described as shrubesque. So I try to go to nicer places to ensure a shrub-free-me.
But I got a bad expensive haircut this spring. I tried to rectify this by getting a bad cheap haircut 2 days later. I tried to rectify THIS by cutting off chunks of my own hair in my bathroom with a Leatherman pocket knife. I got this idea because the expensive place cuts my hair with a razor blade. So I figured razor blade, pocket knife, whats the big difference? Turns out the difference is HUGE.


The whole fiasco was exacerbated by the fact that when I finally went for another haircut 2 months later, the stylist was baffled at the condition of my head. She seemed to believe I had let some blind thumbless toddler cut my hair.
I didn't contradict her. It was either that or tell her I was kidnapped by a band of hook-handed beauty school pirates.


I read that Cary Grant and George Clooney cut their own hair. I was hoping this was a hidden talent I possessed. As it turns out the only I can do well with a pocket knife is accidentally stab myself.


Multiple times.


So I just got my haircut this weekend. Does it look good? I have absolutely no idea. I think there's a good chance people at work will stop referring to me as "foofy" but I think its still too early to come to a conclusion.
Otherwise its back to Cosmo girl for inspiration.


I hear Mandy Moore's hair is looking great these days.