Saturday, December 13, 2008



All my cowlicks are acting up. I have so many cowlicks on my head it is supernatural. You can divine fortunes by the vagaries of my scalp. When I was a kid, and unselfconscious, it was no big deal that I ran around with a lock of hair jutting vertically from my forehead. In sixth grade I made an ill-advised hair management decision and chopped one particularly offending sproing of hair right off my head, at the base. THAT WILL TEACH YOU TO DEFY ME.

The result was a patch of hair about an inch square, just above my left eyebrow that grew in like a crew cut, surrounded by longer flowing locks. Awesome. The follicles seemed invigorated by the weightlessness and as the hair grew back it grew more resiliently vertical. I battled this particular cowlick with scissors, a comb-over and hairspray for over a year before I finally let it grow in. I am not sure it ever occurred to me, till now, that punishing a cowlick was so futile it bordered on asinine.

These days my cowlicks are acting up all over again. For most of my life my hair has been long enough to weight them down, but lately the crown of my head looks like a bed knot ALL THE TIME. No matter that I know how to use a comb, that I try to look professional, that I bother to put on clean clothes because my hair leaves the impression that I woke up in the yard after an all-night, keg-stand and beer-bong bacchanalia. At least I take the time to pull the leaves and twigs out of my fancy do, right?

You can understand why I was so taken the first time I saw Owen, when Clark handed me this writhing, squiggly puppy with a huge cowlick right between his eyes. Like me, it isn't just the obvious deviance of one major cowlick. Like mine on the crown of my head, he has zig-zags running up one side of his body where the hair grows as it wants. On first sight we were kindred and were obviously meant to become family.

Almost every superstition I can find about cowlicks concurs that one cowlick is fine but two cowlicks mean you will be a headstrong rascal, a stubborn, mischievous, but comely troublemaker who is variably lucky and unlucky and is prone to early death.... not a terribly divergent fate then that of left-handedness, from which I also suffer.

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