Taming the wild beast

To slay the dragon, I needed to find the hairbrush

There are sometimes benefits to your daughter having amassed a collection of dolls and their requisite accoutrements, but I can’t think of one right now.

My wife, daughter and I were heading out of the house recently to meet up with some friends. We were rushing around getting ready to leave at the last minute – because planning to leave at a reasonable time would be laughable, of course.

Amy was putting the dog away, Katie was grabbing the bags of chips and I ran into the bathroom to attempt to tame my misbehaving mop of hair. It’s been a lifelong challenge, really. I’ve had an unkempt, red/auburn/now graying Irish-afro for my entire life. Back in the ’80s I wanted to grow long hair like all of my fellow metal-loving friends. Only my hair didn’t grow down, it grew up and out. It was all rather unfortunate.

I looked around the countertop for the brush. It’s one of the few things that can beat down my stubborn locks. Only it wasn’t there. Certain things have to remain where they always are – my keys have to always be hanging from the shelf at the top of the stairs and the brush has to always always be on the counter in the bathroom. My daughter knows this and, for the most part, she plays along in my ongoing game of selective OCD.

Only now the brush wasn’t where it belonged.

Everyone was heading down to the garage and it we were getting perilously close to being late. I looked around for something that would suffice. As I scanned the clutter around the sink, my eyes came to rest on something I knew would help in a bind: A little, heart-shaped, purple doll’s hairbrush. I think it came with an American Girl Doll at some point. Actually, who am I kidding? Nothing comes free with an American Girl Doll. You buy it. So this little brush was probably a pricey accessory that would more than do the trick.

I ripped it through my hair, which slowly began to behave. It began to lay flatter on my scalp, which is the result I was hoping for.

I flicked off the light and ran down to the waiting car.

“What were you doing?” my wife asked.

“I was trying to brush my hair but someone moved the brush,” I snapped. Yet I was proud of my resourcefulness and wanted to let her know.

“But I found that little purple doll brush so I used that.”

Amy looked at me with a funny smile.

“That’s what I used to brush the dog, you know.”

Sakafraza. The dog had just been given a shower (yes, a shower, don’t ask) and his coat was clean and neatly brushed. As was my hair.

And then a cry of despair from the back seat.

“What?” my 10-year-old cried out clearly disturbed. “I used that, too!”

I think it’s time to retire the little purple brush for good. Or at least come up with some kind of labeling system. Or (note to family) maybe leave the people-brush where it belongs.

Bill Burke is a writer with terrible, just really awful hair that just flies all over the place, who lives with his wife and daughter in southern New Hampshire.

Categories: Dad on Board