Scrufty.

January 14th, 2007

On my third day, my nurse offered to shave me. I turned her down. We’d become chummy because I let her put the football playoffs on my TV set. But suddenly it was if any bonds we had were broken. “You don’t want to be shaved? It’s the most wonderful feeling. And I’m the best. Oh, let me do it. You’ll see.”

I explained to her I liked my beard.

“But that’s not a beard. It’s a… scrufty.”

I held tough, though, and she wandered off — presumably to seek more appreciative men. When she came back after an hour, she said, “you like that ‘House’ look, don’t you?”

I didn’t know House. Only that it was a TV show.

I felt called to account and took her through my reasoning. “I always hated shaving. For a long time I wore a full beard, but it made me feel religious. About twenty years ago, I found a clipper set at Walgreens that allowed my to mow my beard once a week. “Fortunately,” I said, “it had a scrufty setting.”

I don’t think people should have to defend styles, but we do. Tattoos, dreads, piercings, how low on the ass you wear your pants. My nurse liked men with smooth skin. If she’d been gorgeous, I’d have let her shave me.

When I returned home, my son and his sister, noting the addition of a cane to my scrufty, said, “Oh, it’s House.” I’ve got to see that show.

The cane I was given by the VA is beautiful – a stunningly simple and elegant piece of light-toned hardwood. I’d love to see how they steam the wood to make the crook.

I’m so glad I graduated from the walker — a device unique in that for all its function it has no inherent beauty.

Anyhow, my cane is perfect. It has no knobbies, warts, gills, recurves, or insets. Just a smooth stick with a black rubber floor-gripper thingy (it must have a name) at the bottom.

Max and Renee’s first recommendation was to decorate, or somehow give the cane a distinction it lacks. Make it something House might use. I said this wasn’t going to happen. They’re used to getting some kind of compromise out of me, but not this time.

Last night, I got around to seeing my first episode of House. Okay, I was flattered to be compared to this charming and obviously terrific actor. Still, I know a cane and facial hair are pretty superficial character traits. But most of the celebrity aping we do is just as deep. And it works for all of us, to varying degrees. Dye your hair blond, shave your pussy, 86 your panties, and flash – hey, aren’t you Britney Spears?

I liked the show. But I can see right now there aren’t going to be any House marathons for me. That show’s formula is so obviously chipped in granite. But it’s a really intelligent comic book. House is the superhero whose superpower is a rich understanding of a medical event from the flimsiest of clues. But a man of his personality can only exist in a universe of inferiors, happy to be bested, week after week, by a crankbutt. This, I got all from one viewing.

Give me “Six Feet Under” any day. A collection of people whose strengths and attractions wax and wane, just like the people I love in my world.

But I’m going out tonight, with my scrufty beard and my cane. And a little fantasy will be playing in which certain bus passengers will think, as I wince and lower myself into a seat, “how like House” is that man.

Except my cane’s actually a little classier.

6 Responses to “Scrufty.”

  1. Eric Says:

    Fred – I’m shocked you didn’t opt to hang on to the walker. After years of use of the space-object walker, I would think the real thing would slip in like a glove.

  2. fwickham Says:

    Eric — A couple other people had a laugh at that this weekend, as well. I think a space-object walker is actually a lovely device, and I’m always happy to use one.

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  4. Renee and Katie Says:

    Sorry to hear that House doesn’t grip you as it does us. What about his impatience with average folks? Come on — is this not you? Still, Renee and Max idoloze you as the vulnerable yet virulent senior with an unusual sense of humor who manages to remain obnoxious and sympathetic. You’d make a great sitcom, Fred.

  5. Renee Says:

    Ya know what? you aren’t invited to mine and maddie’s House marathon then. I guess you’ll have to sit at home watching whatever show that you watch. Have fun!

  6. fwickham Says:

    But Renee, I forgot to mention that watching “House” with you and Maddie would be so much fun.

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