When I was a boy, I’d sometimes watch my father stand at the bathroom sink doing one of his daily rituals. He’d shave. Back then, he used a natural bristle brush with a wooden handle, shaving soap, and a straight edge razor. To me, with only peach fuzz to claim, shaving was a rite of passage I couldn’t wait for. Only then would I be a real man. Even girls go through some kind of… hmmm… it’s not the same thing, but we all go through periods of pubescence.

One day, probably when I was around nine-years-old, he let me stand on a stool in front of the bathroom mirror, lather up, and slide his razor across my cheeks to “shave.” Without a blade, of course. For a fleeting moment, I felt older.

When I was thirteen, maybe fourteen, a lone hair sprouted out of my chin. I woke up one morning and there it was, my very own facial hair. For real. Suddenly, I felt a little bit closer to manhood. I was maturing. It was about a quarter of an inch long and I wasn’t about to lop it off. It was my machismo mark; the leap to future strength and optimum virility. It was there for the world to see! So I let it grow. And grow. All of my relatives saw it and said something. Yes, I was glad they noticed. It grew some more.

“You must be proud of that lonely hair,” my grandfather once remarked. Darn right I was!

Fortunately for me, it grew during the summer recess months, so not many of my classmates saw it.


One morning, I got up, looked in the mirror and the darned thing was at least three inches long with a light curl or two. What was I trying to do? The more I looked at it, the more ridiculous it appeared. The more ridiculous I felt inside.

“This is stupid looking,” I thought, so I got my father’s old razor out of the medicine cabinet and chopped it off. Gone!

That morning, I became mature enough to realize how dumb I looked. Just who was I trying to impress besides myself? I knew then that I had made the transition from boyhood to – well, I wasn’t really sure yet because… I was still waiting for my voice to change!



I’m always out looking for a girlfriend and every time I think I’ve found the right one, they get to know me and… and… and…

Well, it never seems to work out. Maybe, just maybe… my new one will love me for who I am – a soft, cuddly, sensitive, caring, honest and funny, all around good guy. “Funny” being the key word. I can only hope.

This morning, we were on the phone talking and I was telling her about doing my laundry and how I fold my shirts a certain way before hanging them up in the bedroom closet. You know, the usual routine. She mentioned a few things and one thing led to another.

I think it’s fair to say that everyone has some sort of quirky behavior, right? Peculiarities and the like, and I’m not talking about the bedroom variety. I mean in everyday life. Growing up, for instance, she knew women who starched and ironed their husbands’ t-shirts and handkerchiefs. Handkerchiefs, for crying out loud! I remember those days. My father always carried one and I thought it was a hideous practice to pull it out of the back pocket of their pants, blow their nose into it, and stuff it back into their pocket for God knows how long. Days and days. Enough of that.

I mentioned something – and I don’t think I’m alone – that I like to do. I only wear dark cotton socks. No matter what. No whites for me! Nothing wrong with that, I suspect. But I like to iron them. I own a sock iron, bought and paid for on Amazon Prime. It’s the best thing I ever invested my money in. Not only do I iron my socks, I collect them. Most of them are folded on special sock hangars in my closet, bought and paid for on Amazon Prime. They’re easy to iron except for the pleated ones.

Yes, I own scores and scores of pleated socks. Boy, are they difficult to iron.

She told me she had to go and hung up. Now, she’s not answering her phone. Do you think she’ll call back?

Who Was David Kyle?

There was a science fiction category on Jeopardy! on Friday night. It made me think about my uncle, David Kyle, who was renowned in that field. I did well in the category and knew he’d be proud. That made me think about how much fun we would have if we could sit side-by-side each night, competing against each other while watching the show. (When I was young, we played a lot of chess. He’d almost always win, but I’d surprise him every so often.)

I miss my Uncle Dave. He was exceptionally intelligent, funny, and a consummate gentleman. He was a veteran of the Air Force; a Lt. Colonel.

February 14, 2016 – David Kyle’s 97th birthday