1113 – Erasable Ballpoint Perm
Episode 1113 – Erasable Ballpoint Perm
[START OF RECORDING]
INTRO: [INTRO MUSIC] Hey, are you up all night tossing, turning, mind racing? Trouble getting to sleep? Trouble staying asleep? Well, welcome. This is Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep. We do it with a bedtime story. Alls you need to do is get in bed, turn out the lights, and press Play. I’m gonna do the rest. What I’m going to attempt to do is create a safe place where you could set aside whatever’s keeping you awake, whether it’s things on your mind that you’re thinking about, so thoughts, things you’re thinking about that…about the past, the present, the future. All those thoughts can come up in my head at bedtime. So, it could be thoughts, it could be feelings, anything you’re feeling physically that’s keeping you awake, it could be feelings…emotions related to the thoughts or physical sensations or something else.
You could be anticipating something, you could be traveling, you could have guests. Could be those changes in the weather, or it could be something else. Whatever it is that’s keeping you awake, I’m here to take your mind off of that and keep you company so that you could fall asleep. Sometimes we just don’t know what it is. I’m going through that right now, not even during…you say oh, I got a case of the…the blahs is the underselling of it, but a case of the blahs, you know? So, whatever it is that’s keeping you awake, I’m here to take your mind off it, as I said, and keep you company so that you could fall asleep. The way I do it on the podcast is I send my voice across the deep, dark night. I’m gonna use lulling, soothing, creaky, dulcet tones, pointless meanders, and superfluous tangents.
So, that means my voice is not traditionally soothing, but it’s more not…you say well, his voice is okay. It’s not great, but I don’t…it’s the kind of voice I don’t want to pay…I don’t mind, but I don’t need to pay attention to. So, that’s the creaky, dulcet tones. Pointless meanders and superfluous tangents mean that I’ll go off-topic, I’ll get mixed up in the middle of talking about one thing, then I’ll remember something else, then I’ll try to remember what I was remem…talking about, then I won't remember, then I’ll get distracted, then I’ll go on a tangent, and then hopefully I could get back to the original point, if there was one. At that point it’ll be more like the original nub, which I have on the back of my head. That comes up every once in a while. Then I get to misuse the word ‘vestigial’. I have a…it’s not a vestigial nub.
I guess the nub, ideally, would be a remnant of something vestigial that’s no longer there, but I don’t know if that’s the right word, even. It’s the word I use incorrectly many times, and that would be a superfluous tangent. You might say Scoots, I’m new to the show. Tell me more about this…before you get to the podcast and everything, what do you mean a nub? I say, great question. It’s very small, not noticeable because my hair covers it. Even when I don’t have hair…sometimes there will be a bald spot there when I would go to a barber, because they wouldn’t even notice the nub ‘til they were buzzing it, and then…because the nub, it’s a raised area made of B-O-N-E underneath…you could only feel it. To me, you’d say what…I’ve talked about this, but it’s been a while.
I always imagined as a kid that it was…once I figured out what a…it took me a long time to understand what a ballpoint pen was. I don’t know why, and I don’t know why I’m someone who thinks…I mean, I guess that’s why I make a sleep podcast. So, you spent a lot of your childhood thinking about ballpoint pens? No; the ballpoint. That became a selling point at some point during my youth. Here’s the thing; here’s a…I don’t like to throw these words out there, but one of the greatest…I guess the only word I can say is S-C-A-M ever pulled in the late eighties and early nineties was the erasable ink. Any left-hander that was school-age or a professional during that era will tell you that for some reason, that one does not get the press it deserves.
Maybe now they have erasable ink, but here’s the thing they should have called it; ink that doesn’t really dry, so it makes a giant mess if you’re left-handed or messy, or anybody’s gonna touch it. By the way, you could erase it, but it’s because…mostly because it’s not dry, maybe. I don’t know, or it’s just not…it’s ink-like. But okay, back to my…there’s a tangent within a tangent. So, at some point, I started to imagine this snub…not snub; nub in the back of my head. Oh, where is it? Good question. If you were…right in the middle of the back of my head, but towards the bottom. Like, the top of my neck, the bottom…which is the middle, you know?
Yeah, right around…if you were looking at the back of my head and you had some…you were doing some sort of measurements or for…a amateur…if you’re an amateur phrenologist, you’d say it’s pretty close to…closely aligned with your ear holes or whatever. But I mean, I would say it’s probably somewhere where my amdigula meets my cranium, but I’m not…but that’s probably incorrect. That’s probably why my lizard brain stays extra-active; it’s…and my mammalian brain. They’re in constant flux because…my nub, you’d think it would offer extra protection, but it’s…whatever I vestigially had maybe did, and then my…those parts of my brain or my…the old brainstem. Oh, what was I saying?
I don’t know; I had another topic and that…oh, so I used to fantasize that it was a ball, and…I’m not kidding; not when I was a little kid, either; when I was of pen-using age, which probably is high school, I guess, and middle school. I don’t even know if middle school you’re allowed to use a pen, and that’s when they tried to push these…they said, why is your paper such a mess? I say, why don’t you call one of these…why don’t you call Big Ink in…why don’t you call Big Pen? There’s only two companies that make these things, and clearly they’re up to…my paper’s…it’s not my fault my paper’s a mess. I was hoping they have the option to erase all my mistakes. Clearly, that’s…clearly, as always, that backfires on me.
So, okay…oh, so I used to just…I guess that was…this may be one of the more boring tangents I’ve ever gone on. I just took six or seven minutes to explain a story that said, and then I imagined a nub within my head was a ball like in a ballpoint pen, even though it’s not a ball-bearing. I would rub the back of my head against something hard, like a wall or a really high-backed…any smooth object, always upright. I never did it lying down. Probably too much gravity, and I would imagine that it was a ballpoint pen. I wouldn’t imagine I was writing or drawing; great question you just thought of there. Yeah, these…this is how you become a sleep podcaster, clearly. Yeah, I didn’t imagine…these are good questions, reasonable questions you’re thinking of.
Did I imagine I was drawing something or writing something? No. I just imagined that there was…just the imagining of the…it’s almost like if I was writing fanfiction about the ball in a ballpoint pen. The ballpoint pen ball; I guess that’ll be tonight’s episode. Let me write that down. There’s a delicious piece of irony. I did that with a ballpoint pen, of course. First it took me a while to find it. Free pen, but made by one of the big pen companies. I don’t even know if both of them are still around. There’s been more…I think when I was a kid, there was only two. Now there’s more. At least there’s more brands. There might only be one or two companies that own the brands. Okay, so where was I? Oh, I was trying to introduce a sleep podcast that has pointless meanders and superfluous tangents.
Well…and I have no idea really why I brought any of that up, other than as an example of stuff that’ll take your mind off of stuff and keep you company. The reason I make the show…that’s kinda the most important thing I’ll tell you. I make the show because I’ve been there. Oh boy, trouble getting to sleep, trouble staying asleep right now, and tossing and turning and mind racing. But whatever it is that’s keeping you awake, I’m here to take your mind off of that, because you deserve a good night’s sleep. You deserve a place you could get some rest and not have to worry about it, so I’m here to help if I can with that, and because the reality is not only do you deserve a good night’s sleep, but if you get the rest you need and you deserve, like a bedtime you don’t dread, your life’s gonna be better.
Your life’s gonna be more manageable. That means the world we…it’s important. It’s important to me and it’s important to the people around you, and it’s important to everybody listening to the show, ‘cause they can relate. So, I’m glad you’re here. Now, the thing is, this podcast is very different. You already…I mean, you already are like holy cow, this guy, he’s really publicly sharing. I say no, this is the third or fourth time I’ve talked about my nub. I think we came up with a couple songs…Emmett Otter and the Jug Band, they came up with songs about it, talked about how it’s good for…if I had a cap with the plastic…the caps with the plastic thing, you can hook it…hook an…hook under my nub, or whatever.
Other than that, it’s good for the middle stages of a relationship for the other person to laugh at…it brings levity in that situation. Doesn’t bother me; I’m not self-conscious about my nub, except when it gets buzzed, but I don’t get a buzz cut anymore, or that kind of barber cut. But that’s more ‘cause I have to answer the question; they say, you got a little…oh, I say that’s my nub. That’s the old…that’s the nub buzz. What, if I rub your nub, I’ll get a buzz? No, I don’t think so. Okay, so…oh, so this podcast is very different. Give it a few tries. That’s what a million people probably have said. It takes two or three tries to get used to this show, because it is something you don’t really listen to. You just kinda barely listen. I’m more here to keep you company than to put you to sleep.
I’m here to be your bore-friend, your bore-bae, your bore-sib, your bore-cuz, your bore-bestie, your neigh-bore, your bore-bor, your friend in the deep, dark night, to keep you company so that you could fall asleep. Whether you’re awake or asleep, I’m here. So, some people, they can’t sleep. They listen to the show because they’re not gonna sleep, and I’m here to keep you company if you can’t sleep, but I’m here to keep you company just as much if you’re not listening to me at all or you got me on a mumble. Whatever it is, I’m here to take your mind off of stuff and be a presence, even if it’s just a mumbling, rambling presence across the room or in another room.
My job is to be here for you, and ideally that gives you enough distraction or comfort so that you can fall asleep or that it takes away some of that feeling in the deep, dark night, like I said, when you got a case of something stronger than the blahs, as I have going on a little bit. But by the time you’ll hear this, the…I’ll be…I have plenty of resources to deal with my blahs, and I record these episodes months and months before they come out. So, thank you for thinking about me, and that being…one of the things is being of service and being of help helps me. So, this is a podcast you don’t really listen to. It doesn’t really put you to sleep; it more keeps you company. It’s very different. Not everybody likes it. Some people loathe it.
If you already loathe it, sleepwithmepodcast.com/nothankyou has plenty of other options there for you to check out, other sleep podcasts and other sleepy stuff, ‘cause whether you like me or the show or not, it doesn’t change the fact you deserve a good night’s sleep. So, those options are out there, and what else do you need to know? What else can I help you with? I don’t know. I’m not gonna put you to sleep, I’m here to take your mind off of stuff…oh, structure of the show; that’s the last thing I gotta tell you about. The show starts off…it’s structured in a very specific way. It starts off with a greeting; friends beyond the binary, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, so you feel seen and welcome and you say oh, okay, maybe I could check this show out. Maybe I say something silly or lighthearted.
You say oh, okay, this might be my style. Then there’s support for the show so the podcast is free twice a week for whoever wants to listen, with over 500 episodes in the archives. What makes that possible are the people that directly support the show or support the sponsors, and that’s how we’re able to put in all the work it takes to be here for you for free twice a week. Then there’s support for listeners who are having a tough time and support for communities around the show. Then there’s a intro, and the intro some people associate with the sponsors and the support, but it’s a show within a show to give you time to wind down, to give you some transition from wake to sleep. So, you can use the intro in different ways.
You could use it while you’re getting ready for bed, while you’re in bed, or while you’re doing some other chill activity or while you’re drifting off. But the intro is designed to ease you into bedtime, and it’s different every time so it’s…has a piece…some familiar structure, but some variety so whatever part of you is keeping you awake, it can’t adjust and say oh boy, here comes Scoots again. A thousand times he’s talked…I say nope, now he’s now gonna talk about ballpoint pens…fanfiction or whatever. So, that’s the intro. There’s a couple percentage of people that skip the intro, there’s a couple thousand people that pay to listen to story-only episodes, but there’s more people that pay to listen to all-intro episodes, I think, or maybe it’s about the same. So, just kinda see how it goes at first.
You can set a sleep timer, you could listen all night, just…but the intro is a part of the show to…is a part of people’s bedtime and wind-down routines. Then there’s support again between the intro and the story so the show could be free and it’s optional to pay for instead of being a part of a paid service or whatever. So, that’s the intro, then the support, then there will be a story. Apparently tonight it’ll be the ballpoint…I don’t know. I’ll try…I’ll think of whatever…I don’t know, we’ll come up with a story for…about ballpoint pens or something, or maybe erasable ink. Yeah, and then there’s thank-yous at the end. So, that’s the structure of the show, that’s why I make the show. I’m glad you’re here. I work really hard, I yearn and I strive. I really appreciate you coming by, and I really help…hope I can help you get to sleep, and here’s a couple ways I’m able to do it for you for free twice a week.
Alright everybody, it’s Scoots here. Tonight’s episode, apparently, according to the message I got from past Scoots, is called The Midnight Ball Ball, or the…no, no, no; not The Midnight Ball Ball, but the…it’s called The Ballpoint Ben…Ballpoint Pen Ball. I don’t know, I guess I was thinking well, what would that episode be about that’s not obvious? Then I realized I haven’t done a My Life With A Perm episode in a long time. I did talk about erasable ink pens, which happen to coincide with my awareness of my hair as a liability as a child or a young adolescent, or pre-adolescent. That was when I was using erasable ink pens. So, I’m wondering if there’s a way we could build some bridges from the past to the present into another world where, I don’t know, things go well.
So if you’re new, it’s been years, I think, since we’ve done a My Life With A Perm episode. So, I will set this up…is once upon a time, I was a young lad and like other young lads, I had…I was born with hair follicles, like a lot of people. Now, my hair is very thin and very fine, and when I say thin, I guess…I don’t know, ‘cause I only have my head of hair and I don’t think it’s really appropriate…even with someone…I’ve never really looked at a lot of people’s scalps before, you know, and studied their hair. So honestly, I don’t know what people mean when they say thin hair. I wonder…for me, this is…so, this is just speculation, but I’m pretty sure I’m right. When I say my hair is thin, I think it’s a twofold thing. I think my actual hairs…if you were to measure them, their diameter is thinner than other ones.
So, you have different pod…or…podcasts; you have different pasta sizes, right? I think you got your spaghetti…I don’t know, is linguine flat or is linguine a circle, too? But you have your spaghetti and angel hair…would be…and fettuccine. There’s fettuccine…I think fettuccine is flat. Linguine…I don’t know. But so, you have different types of pasta. There’s different shapes. I mean, if you had linguine…a flat hair follicle, that…you’d probably be famous, or that’d be…I’m sure…I wonder if there is. But so, where was I? So, I’m presuming, and this is a presumption, that the diameter of my hair…much thinner than…I don’t think many people have angel-hair-thickness hair. So you say wow, a angel must have a very strong core and bone structure to hold up the hair that is the diameter of angel hair pasta.
Also, what the…who came up with that? I’m sure it was a marketing term, but it’s like, an…no, no, no. First of all, the angels would be like, we don’t need you eating our hair. It’s just hair. It’s for…no one…even in heaven, we don’t know the…it’s to keep our heads warm, I guess, technically…we…and keep the sun off our heads, maybe. I don’t know. We don’t think about it. Angels; we kinda…we…we’re in such great shape, we don’t…we take our hair for granted. We don’t even think about our hair. So don’t eat…you shouldn’t be eating it, even symbolically. That is…humans; you’re so interesting. Really, you named a…you’re eating a pasta named after our hair. Do you think about it when you’re…? Not really. You just think oh, this is thinner than spaghetti. Great. That’s all I think about.
So…oh, so what was I talking about? My hair. So, my hair, I would assume, is thinner in that sense, and I think it’s probably more spread out, which is probably when people say you have thin…’cause when you say you have thinning hair, I think that means the space between the follicles is less…yeah, it’s…I’m trying to…less dense; your density per square micrometer or whatever. So, I think my hair follicles are probably more spread out than someone that has a more robust head of hair. So, I don’t know…’cause you can even see it when your hair gets buzzed. When my hair gets buzzed, you can see a lot of scalp, but other people, I think…and I don’t know if that’s the density…both the distribution of follicles or the diameter of the hair the follicle produces. But for me, both of those are on the thin side.
Oh, always have been. So, that’s one part of my hair that’s important, is it’s thin or fine. I guess…oh, you say your hair’s fine. So, I guess that’s another way of saying…when they say fine, though, that means your strands are of a lower diameter. Now, the good thing about that is my hair is very soft. I don’t mind saying; it’s soft. It’s also…my hair is incredibly straight. Now, people will look at my hair today and say it looks like it has some bends to it, but it’s mostly either product that’s moving my hair…holding my hair, or natural greases, if you…if my hair looks like it’s falling in place. Now, I do wonder about my part, but let’s stick with my hair…my actual…the physical properties of my hair. If you say give me a way to describe it, I’d say like you…some people hear…you hear hair described like corn silk.
I would say like idealized corn silk, ‘cause when you get down to corn silk, you’re like, what the heck…this stuff? Just like angel hair pasta…like when you’re actually dealing with corn silk, you’re like, this is not something…but you know what I mean. So, my hair was always…it just…and it just fell. Oh, it also grows…I’ve been told it grows in the wrong direction, and I think somebody tried to describe it to me. Most people’s hair follicles are pointed maybe backwards. My hair follicles are maybe pointed a little bit more forwards. This could be speculation as well, but let’s speculate, you know? Why not?
So, those are a couple pieces of information about my hair, and then I don’t believe I have a natural part, ‘cause even now I’ve been getting my hair cut or glamour…whatever, by…since I grew it out as a part of the past couple years, the woman that does my hair, Beyond the Ponytail, if you want to check…Angela; check her out on Twitter. She does part my hair in a certain way and then cut my hair, so I don’t know, and I don’t even know…I don’t know if I…I mean, I guess ‘cause of my own experience, I say is there really a natural part in people’s hair or not? I mean, I’d like to get on someone like a anthropologist or a…they say oh, really? I mean, maybe there is an…they say well, you can see…if you didn’t cut your hair or your bangs and you had a natural part, it’d be easier to see stuff.
I say okay, I could buy that for right now. So, those are a couple things about my hair. That’s a little bit of hair background. So, what that means is that as a child, you get the hair…you get…I guess part of me just said you get the hair you deserve, and I say oh boy, thanks for…thanks a lot. That’s what the angel…you get the angel hair you deserve, or not the angel hair. I’d say well, maybe that’s true. Maybe it led me…I mean, I guess that’s what these are all about. You get the hair you need to become who you’re going to be or whatever, and that road is not all…has its bumps and…yeah, so it’s not always easy. But so, okay, so my hair…though my haircuts be…as a child…we’ll just run through them for your own entertainment. So, I mostly had a bowl cut, or some sort of bangs.
I wouldn’t say a bowl cut because the bowl cut is not…it’s more of like a two bowl cut, because your bangs were one layer trimmed one way, and then the back of your hair was trimmed another, though there were times I had a bowl cut. But most of the time it was a two-layer…a two-way thing. So, you know, most of your childhood you don’t really care, right? Your hair is just your hair. I mean, maybe some people do or maybe it’s part of your family value system, and that’s fine, and if you have good hair or you come from a family with high hair value and you have good hair or you’re taught how to groom it, maybe that’s part…becomes part of your…I mean, maybe in a positive way, it becomes part of your identity. For me, initially, it wasn’t really part of my identity. I just didn’t think about it very much.
I guess this goes back to the thinness, is again, when my hair is just lying flat against my scalp, there’s not much of a protective layer there. Literally, it’s like having…just wearing a piece of paper, where…so, you see some people have a lot thicker hair. The idea that my hair is providing warmth…I mean, I guess it is…does provide some reflectivity. So, that was my haircut for most of my childhood until…and even into…up until at least sixth grade, I did…I had no hair awareness. My hair awareness was zero. I don’t know the first time…I don’t think…I think in fourth, fifth, and sixth grade — and this might be a little strong for some people though — the things that kids point out…they don’t start pointing out your hair until pre…’til your adolescence, right? They have other things, like your clothes.
There’s other more…I had more obvious things other than my hair that I’d…weren’t necessarily going for me. But then around fifth or sixth grade, I was behind in the times, right, because I was just aloof and just…but some of my friends, they started to get into pairings or imaginary pairings or…we’ve talked about this before; hand-holding and that kind of stuff. But then you go into seventh and eighth grade and everybody’s growing up at a different speed, right? That causes some ruckus, and it causes a realignment of values. Even in there…I’d have to look at pictures of myself. I don’t think I really cared about my hair even in…at least in seventh grade. Now, at that point, it did become an…a hurdle.
I’ll have to try to figure out what I looked like back then, but my hair was still thin and fine, and but again, I had other things not going for me. But that was the high point of my life; I’ll be honest with you. Seventh grade…and this is gonna sound like I’m being ironic or self-depricating, but it’s the truth. It was probably the best thing that ever happened to me, was that we had tracking in our school, right? So, the school I went to had five seventh grades; 7-1, 7-2, 7-3, 7-4, and 7-5. 7-1 was for the kids…however they decided it, their…and they didn’t have…this wasn’t to assist us, because they didn’t have…I think they had some basic assistance for people with learning differences, but this wasn’t how it is today, where it’s like okay, these are the kids we’re gonna focus on…some…their learning differences and help them.
This was more like, give us everyone…and they had one other group that was also challenging, but that’s gonna be challenging for the…for classroom management. They say, whatever’s gonna cause…there’s different ways you’re gonna disrupt the classroom. Let’s gather all those kids in one place. Honestly, I mean, I don’t think…the higher you got in the sevens, their expectation for your success was much higher. That’s just the truth, and that 7-5 was the advanced kids, and 7-1 was the exact contrast of that. But that was…if I look back and you say, what was the happiest you were in your life, where there was a balance of…where you were being yourself and you weren’t overthinking it, you had the freedom to be yourself and you hadn’t had the…and I mean, I think it was ‘cause I was pre-adolescent.
I was behind the…I was lower on the curve. So, my evolution hadn’t kicked in. So, I was so happy because I was among people I could relate to, really, people that had trouble with authority figures and maybe they couldn’t…their troubles manifested in different ways. It was boys and girls and I really…and people that were at my level. For the most part, the teachers really did well. It wasn’t like I have a lot of memories of…so, it was like…I don’t know, I was just so happy, I was socially…I felt so comfortable. So, it was this amazing time in seventh grade and eighth grade. I don’t know…but at some point between eighth grade and tenth grade, my hair became what I would describe as a problem. Now, that was because at seventh grade, I still had…what is that called?
Not innocence, but I still wasn’t overly consumed with my attraction to…or my image and how it related to me being attractive to girls I was attracted to, and kind of obsessing about that, right? But at some point between eighth grade…between eighth and tenth grade, that slowly dawned on me that one of the…and again, I was actually incorrect in some sense, but one…I assumed that one of the things I…under my control that was affecting this was my hair. A lot of my friends had good hair. That’s one of the things I always talk about on this…My Life With A Perm thing, is that my friends had good hair. So, I took it under my…and we all got our hair cut at the same place, and I would try different haircuts; parting it in the middle, greasing it.
At one point I guess it looked like Marty McFly because it was close cut and then long, and whatever. Then some classmates tried to help me and they said hey, go…just let your hair flow. Now that it’s where I’m at, I’m like yeah, whatever, man. That never worked out, and then I guess then I grew really long bangs, like to my chin, and I would wear a hat or whatever. I just had that super-long bang look, but very un-styled and…but not in a way of total confidence. I was hiding behind my bangs and it was a way of saying I don’t care about my hair instead of loving it. Then at some point in adulthood, again, I still had the same problem, and it’s supposed to be…I never had a business job, but I had jobs I had to go to. At some point in my…maybe in my twenties or thirties, I was like oh, let me just buzz my hair.
Then I don’t have to think about it at all. I guess that became…I was like okay, that’s just how it’s gonna be now, is…I’m gonna be a buzz cut guy. Then what happened during 2020…I said oh, I’ll just grow my hair out anyway. Then I had the idea oh, maybe we could raise money for a non-profit if I get…grow my hair out and get a perm. But people didn’t…it’s hard to get people that list…that are falling asleep to a podcast to do stuff, so we couldn’t really get anybody involved with that. So, that didn’t work, but I kept growing my hair out, and then I realized huh, if…it went through a very strange phase, but then I said oh wait, I like kinda having hair. Then I found someone that’s very capable, and she actually took the time to get to know what she was working with and the best way to approach it.
So then it’s like okay, now at this point I’m like, I’m fine with my hair. It’s like, people…and I’m say…okay, sometimes it looks a little bit like seventies or whatever, but I’m like, whatever. So, all that said, that’s…kinda sets up this idea of my life with a perm, which we’ll jump to. So, my hair was dissatisfactory, and it…but, so I always wonder if there’s…and now, again, these Holly…purveyors of different universes…now, we’ve had this particular year, or I guess over a year…not a calendar year; we’ve had a great…really good TV show about multiverses, we had a great independent movie. Or, I guess I’m saying it’s independent, but Everything, Everywhere, All At Once, about different universes and probably different…oh yeah, then different movies with multiverses…whatever it is.
So, we’ve had a lot of this purveyed to us in different ways or…yeah. But for me, this was pre…I said, is there a universe where I have good hair, and am I living…and I mean, obviously I say of course, but I say okay, could I access that world, please? They said, don’t judge that version of yourself’s outside by your insides. They never…they…that’s what they always say. They don’t show that in the Marvel movies or the…I don’t know if…maybe…if anyone could have that conversation, it would be Michelle Yeoh, to say okay, don’t judge…’cause that’s kinda what she was going through, right? Her…right? Is that in that? I mean, part of it? But so, yeah, and the reason I asked that is just like we’re splitting hairs now, they say…who’s they? Oh boy, the great creators of multiverse fiction; that’s who they is.
But in this, they say okay, when a decision is made, that’s when the universes split. I think that’s explained multiple times in multiple different ways. So, in my life, that did happen, really. This isn’t fiction, when Frank Z, who cut my friend’s hair…and again, this is…some of my friends had already hit puberty; I had not. Some of them had a self-confidence or attractiveness that I did not have, and I was always judging their…my insides by their outsides, too, but they all got…or one of my friends got their hair with this guy, Frank Z. Then we all started getting our hair cut there, and we’d only go to Frank Z, so the poor other…every once in a while I would be afraid and I would just go with another barber, and my friends…afterwards, we…they’d say the reason your hair looks like that is ‘cause you didn’t get it from Frank.
You gotta wait and be patient and say no. So, it was a opportunity…that was an opportunity for me to learn a boundary and be like, there’s a reason that guy is four chairs down from Frank. They’d say, because…but whatever. So, eventually I would wait for Frank. Now, Frank had, I believe at the time, a perm. That just sticks out to me in my memory. I don’t know, I’m not…perms on dudes, they’ve gone in and out of fashion, but I don’t know…I’d be hard-pressed to say who wore it well. I’m sure there are people, and that would be cool to point out to me who wore a perm well, and not just natural curly hair; I’m talking about fake natural curly hair, ‘cause I could tell you, I have some cousins that had curly…naturally very curly hair, and they wore it well. Like [inaudible] and still…what was my point?
Okay, so one time I was getting my hair cut from Frank, and after Frank started cutting my hair, one of his things was that I had so many cowlicks, and he loathed my cowlicks. I think…I guess a cowlick is that the cow’s saliva is so non-viscous that if a cow was to lick your head, your hair would stand up. I’d say, if a cow licked me at all, all my hair would stand up, first off. Like, why is the cow so…why is the cow licking me? Why is the cow so close? Why is the cow licking my head? My hair’s gonna stand up. Maybe it even stands up because it tick…I mean, I would presume it would tickle. Even if it was a surprise, my hair would stand up. If it was some sort of strange unexpected thing, it would…or if it was like hey, come over; meet Birdie. She’s gonna lick you. She’s the cow that licks people. She loves it.
It’s good for her, too. That’s how she keeps her salt up, so don’t worry about it. She’s gonna…oh boy, there she go…my hair would still stand up, ‘cause I’d say oh boy, I would giggle like the Pillsbury Dough Person. Oh, okay, so Frank, he loathed my cowlicks, and then one day he proposed to me, and I was there with all my friends. I don’t know how we decided the order. I was definitely not…I did not go first; I can tell you that, unless it seemed like Frank was having a bad day or something. So, what…so, okay, what happened? So, one time, Frank was cutting my hair, complained about my cowlicks. He said listen, the next time you come in, I want you to grow your hair out even longer, and then I’m gonna give you a nice perm like mine, and we’ll put a little curl in your hair.
I even looked at him like, this is the most…this is…and he goes, trust me. Now, he was trying to be…I think…in the end, I think he may have been misguided, but that’s why I have to explore this universe stuff. But he said hey, if I could cut your…if I could…if I perm your hair, it’ll give it a little bit of curl, we won't have these cowlicks. It’d be really nice, trust me, like me. But his hair was different. His hair…he didn’t have the same hair I had or the same face, you know? I would say for…well, I can’t say he wore it well. He wore the perm the best he could, and it fit his character. But he was very encouraging, and I don’t know if my friends heard it or if they said anything or I said anything to them, but I probably kept it to myself, but I can remember later being in the bathroom in the basement of our house, looking in the mirror and looking at my hair, and again, it had…it was impacting my self-image.
Again, in a different world, someone would have said hey, don’t…but again, you gotta…this is adolescence, you know? It’s part of adolescence. If it’s not your hair, it’s gonna be something else. It’s part of your journey. Maybe someone could have said that. I wouldn’t have believed them at the time, or maybe somebody did. They say hey, yeah, you don’t like your hair. It doesn’t…you feel like it impacts your attractiveness and your self-confidence, and maybe it does, and that’s tough. That’s part of being an adolescent. Don’t worry; after you’ve lived many, many decades, you’ll be comfortable with your hair. But it’ll take a lot, so maybe one…maybe you’re…maybe you became comfortable with something else before you were comfortable with your hair.
So, I was looking in the mirror and I was thinking about what Frank said. Also, I was afraid of this boundaries thing, of just saying no, so I was like, hopefully he’ll forget about it. But I said, maybe he’s right. What would it be like? Some part of me, some wiser part of me in that universe, I thought, said don’t do it, man. Like, you are not Frank. Picture his hair on you in the mirror. I pictured it and I said okay, I have a pretty high forehead, my hair is thin. I think some of my facial features are large, you know? So, I said oh, you’re right; his hair on you…you’re not…just picture his hair on you. It doesn’t work. Don’t do it. But I do wonder if there was a world where I did it and it went well. Like, what would that be like, you know? So, that’s my life with a perm, and I think about ballpoint pens, right?
This idea…this was at the same time…so, at some point they came up with these pens called erasable ink pens, or I think that’s what they were called. They kinda came out of nowhere, at least in my mind, and I…it was like, I was still in grammar or elementary school, or primary school, depending where…how…what are…what do you call it? When these pens came out…and at some point, the nuns in our school let us go from using pencils to pens, and we’d use pencils for math and pens for other stuff. Anybody that listens to this podcast knows…or maybe you don’t know…one, I have a learning…I have dyslexia, I have…I’ve not taken tests for other things, but maybe…who knows. I learn differently than a lot of other people, and that’s okay.
Also, I’m left-handed, and I also…something that also impacted my ability to write with good penmanship physically. So, physically, my…not only am I left-handed, but physically my penmanship is affected by something. So, I had all that going for me in an age of Catholicism where penmanship was…honestly, we talk about confusion or stuff, and I think it was more…not just in Catholicism or Catholic school, but that somehow penmanship was considered…was equated with intelligence and conscientiousness and goodness, in some sense, even though it was…you’d say that was not…that should have stopped in the…twenty years before you were taught. I say, I know, but there’s hold outs.
But also, because I wasn’t a good student, I made a lot of errors, right, and I had a lot of challenges with school, so this…these in…or erasable ink pens were presented as a panacea of…for people like me to be able to like…okay, you’re supposed to be writing in pen. Now you can fix your mistakes even when you write in pen. This was one of those ones that…and maybe it was just ‘cause of right-handers, but I can’t imagine that right-handers…and again, I know Rusty Biscuit’s gonna look up some great articles about this, but I can’t imagine that it was just left-handers that were impacted by what I could say was a scam. This erasable ink was just ink that didn’t dry, that you could erase it, and whatever; the eraser just absorbed the ink. Maybe that’s what an eraser does with a pencil. I think so.
But a pencil’s like dust, so it picks up the dust and rolls it up in the eraser or whatever, and flakes off. First off all, whoever invented erasers, holy mackerel, you’re brilliant. But so, the idea of the pen was that it was just like a pencil, but it was pen, so it was permanent. I don’t think this thing ever dried properly…that you could erase it at any point. But because…for most left-handers, our…for whatever reason…or at least for me, when I’m writing, my entire side of my…the heel of my hand or the…yeah, the side of my hand is on the table or on the paper, and then I write from left to right across the page, so my…it would constantly…my hand would be covered in ink, there’d be fingerprints or palm prints of ink everywhere, and the ink would be smudged. But it was a trade-off.
I think they flooded the market with these pens, too. Or maybe it was just the pen preference at my family, ‘cause you had to bring your own pens to school. I’ll have to ask my dad about it, but…’cause I’m pretty sure I can see him having a lot of…but…huh, that’s interesting. So maybe it was just me. Again, I’m making it about the world, but maybe it was just me. But so, my stuff went from looking poor…I had poor penmanship and poor neatness to looking way, way, way worse. But the option of erasing it or maybe it was just the pens that I had access to…again, this wasn’t because of deprivation. If I was supposed to ask for pens, there’s the last thing in the world I would do. I’d just find pens. So, that’s the situation we find ourselves in with straight-haired Andy.
But if we go and we close our eyes and we look at the world again, then things get fuzzy…there I am, writing at my desk, shoulders slumped, hand…the scent of wet ink. My paper’s smeared with ink and frustrations. But then there’s a twinkle in the air as we transverse planes into another world where my hair has a round curl like Goldlockian locks streaming off my skull. Maybe this is…and this world is just my first or second attempt with these pens. Old Sister Sternchin comes by, and she says…she makes…says well, that’s gonna be another thing on your penmanship. What’s going on? I say oh, Sister, I was trying out these new pens. Have you heard about them? They’re erasable ink or erasable. Newfangled pens, she says. You wouldn’t have to erase if you did it right the first time. I’d say yeah, Sister.
Well, you’re right about that, but I didn’t even realize that’s a pun, huh, Sister. She says well, let’s look at this. I say okay, you’re right. Sisters, could you smell the ink? Smells different than the other inks we’re used to. Then she…Sister goes on a soliloquy about feathers and ink jugs, and I’d say well, I definitely wouldn’t have made it back…that would have been a lot worse, huh, Sister? I got a fountain pen for Christmas once; I think I ruined a year’s worth of clothes and I didn’t even use it. I just wanted one. I’m no calligraphist. I’ll never be one. But don’t you get some sort of powder or something to sprinkle on that? This one you don’t have any of that and we don’t need it. I say I’m sorry, Sister, it’s clear that this ink in this pen is making my schoolwork more messy than it needs to be.
While having the option to erase the ink is appealing to most people and is very marketable…and also Sister…oh, by the way, yes, I’m tempted to put this…you know, I put a lot of things in my mouth, especially erasers, and this…and test out their mouthfeel. These erasers do have a interesting mouthfeel, so I don’t know what that has to do with anything, Sister, but that’s also on my mind. I’m more impressed with the eraser than the ink, but I found a couple things, Sister, in my brief observations; the eraser does not really erase regular ink, and unlike a pen’s…there is a grittiness to this eraser that’s different than a pencil eraser. Let me just show you here, Sister. If I try to erase erasable ink with a pencil eraser, it smears and it smudges even worse.
There’s something in the pencil eraser that can’t quite get…can’t quite get the friction it needs to take care of the ink. So, this has some sort of grit in it, especially ‘cause I’ve chew…I’ll be honest, Sister, I’ve chewed up a couple of these erasers on these erasable ink pens. I know, I know, Sister. But it’s clear to me that the…they have a grit in there and the grit is something that helps erase the ink. No, I…Sister, great question; I have not tried to erase any pencil with these erasers. But I have one more point, Sister, that I learn…I’m gonna learn in the future, but I’m…believe it or not, Sister, I’m traveling…I’m a time-traveler and I’m…I’ve traveled to this time to put a stop to this erasable ink thing, or make some changes, and I know you’re aghast ‘cause you think I’m just trying to get out of this math assignment, but it’s not a math assignment, Sister.
This is some sort of other assignment. The math assignment later, we’ll all be using a pencil. I forgot my point, though, Sister. Something about erasable ink, chewing on the erasers…Sister, I totally forgot what I was talking about. I was about to make a big point about something. A ballpoint, but now I forgot where I was going. But it was that this can’t…oh, what I was gonna say is in the future, I will actually attempt to test out my erasable ink eraser on my report card. I know this wouldn’t let you…slip by you, Sister, but one of the teachers that’s not a nun ends up using erasable ink on their report cards. A normal student, Sister, they just look at their grades and they accept their grades and they don’t look at the ink and analyze the ink, because they’re a regular kid.
But to me at the time, I had already…this is two years from today, Sister. They’re still using erasable ink in…two years in the future. I was able to analyze the fact, just with mere sight and smell, that that was erasable ink. I said to myself, that is…I don’t know if this what irony is, but it is delicious, the fact that my report card is made in erasable ink. It’s so delicious. Even though this is a decent grade, I believe it was a B, Sister. I decided to erase my grade to see if it was truly erasable ink. It came to my attention, lo and behold, Sister, that it was erasable ink, and it came to another classmate’s attention, who brought it to the teacher’s attention, which would not go well for me. But it was just an experiment, and I want to put a stop to that future, too.
Maybe it’ll…I won't be able to make a sleep pod…do you know, in the future, Sister, I have…in another world where I don’t have a perm to comfort me and to give me this confidence to talk to you using words and being comfortable and saying hey, I don’t like this…in another world, I’m not…I don’t have all these tools. So, yeah, luckily we’re in our universe, Sister, and not in that universe. We’re just visiting this one. But I’m actually visiting, so maybe I’m being…am I…Sister, do you know if I’m disrupting this universe by telling you…? But wouldn’t you like to work with me together to…? Oh, Sister, there’s a knock…oh, Sister, it’s a businessperson. Hello. You have a briefcase and a suit on. What, are you from Big Pen? Yeah? Okay. Sister, we have to go with them. Okay, they’re taking us somewhere.
Okay, we’re…Sister, we’re getting in a van. This is Sister Sternface, I call her, and old Furrow Brow. Two of those furrows are mine, out of the…I’m just kidding, Sister. You don’t really have more than ten furrows. Two of which are mine, thank you, everybody. So, where are we headed? Oh, to the…oh, okay. Oh, this is…we’re seeing all of the pen…all…oh wow, so you really do have a big industry here making…oh, so you want to tell me about…this is a tour of the pen production? It’s a booming business, and…oh, there was some lean years before this. Okay, so you’re telling me that the invention of erasable ink, in quotey quotes, by the way, is necessary to the economy of this area and that I should be thankful and I shouldn’t stir up trouble. Well, let me just touch this curl here. You see?
Did my curl just make a springing sound? Yeah, yeah. It does. Let me tell you a little thing about this erasable ink. Let’s sit down. Is this your board? Oh yeah, and you’re a super…yeah, okay, great. Everybody have a seat here. I’m gonna stand here on your conference table. I’m here on behalf of myself, left-handers everywhere, and general consumers. Listen, we all know that this ink doesn’t really…that you had…maybe had good intentions. Maybe this was a accidental discovery. I have no idea. I’d love to know, but not right now, ‘cause I’m trying to make a speech here. Which came first, the eraser or the ink? I would love to know the branding meetings to make the grey eraser, because I really app…there’s…so, there’s a lot of things about your pen I appreciate. Do I prefer chewing on a…?
Here’s one of the things I appreciate, I gotta tell you; whoever decided to make the eraser easy to get out of the pen cap, you really saved my dentist a lot of tears, because those pencils, they got metal around them. So, if you want to chew on a pencil eraser, you’re really putting a lot at risk, where this one, I can just get it out and chew it like gum. Not that I should or that this is total fiction, so if you’re listening…and it gives me something to play with. Believe it or not, I’ve used your eraser as a toy during class. Sorry, Sister, but I have, and as an entertainment object, an object of speculation, a space capsule, many different things. So, I appreciate…those are things I love about your pen. One day in the future, I’ll speculate and fantasize that the back of my head is a ballpoint from a ballpoint pen.
But here’s the thing; this can’t go on. In our world, this is not gonna end well. People are gonna…I don’t know what took people…took the marketplace to long to reject your pens. Maybe it became a niche product, and…but think about the money you’ve invested in this, ‘cause I know you’re about to do all those expansions you told me about on the tour. Let’s agree not to do that. What we’ll do instead is I’ll help you. Here’s the thing; probably you have two companies, right? This erasable ink company and brand, and then maybe you have another brand? If not, there’s a free idea, to separate the two products, right? Then what you’re gonna do is you’re gonna say, have a ball with a ballpoint. You’ll put on…you’ll start sponsoring balls and ball…not ballgowns, but yeah, let’s do a ballgown scholarship, every city.
You give away a couple ballgowns, you’ll sponsor senior balls at high schools, maybe some other kinda social balls, and you’ll say have a ball with a ballpoint. Your commercials will show the joy of using a ballpoint pen, the ballpoint pen ball. Maybe even have that once a year here where we are, which feels somewhere at Scranton or Syracuse, maybe Binghamton, I don’t know. But have a ball with a ballpoint here. Come on down; have a ball with a ballpoint. Maybe even make…maybe it’s every day. Instead of your tour, make it a ball. There you even say…and maybe you get some celebrities, left-handed celebrities, not…one day there will be a left-handed celebrity named Ned Flanders, but not yet, but coming very soon, actually. That’s how you’ll fix things.
You’ll actually use your ballpoint pens with real permanent ink that works against these, and you’ll…what you’ll do is you’ll…you won't stop production. This will be a niche product, and you could charge more for it. Instead of going and trying to replace the pens that we’re already using, we’ll do that, okay? That’s how…and you could see…if you feel uncomfort…all of you can touch my curls. I’ll crawl around on this table. It’s very strange, yes, I know, but it’s…this is how I’m gonna save your business and save myself from two to five more years of having to use ink that doesn’t actually dry, but not eliminate it at all. So, why don’t you all lie down and then just rest? Put your heads down on your desk, on this desk…conference table. Go ahead and smell the conference table, feel its…feel your breath against it nice and warm, and feel it coming in getting comfortable, closing your eyes…that desk smell, and get some rest and go to sleep. Goodnight.
[END OF RECORDING]
(Transcribed by Leah Hervoly)
- The Ballpoint Pen Ball
- Zero Hair Awareness
- Eraser Mouth Feel
- Michelle Yeoh
- Pilsbury Dough Boy
- The Simpsons
Notable Talking Points:
- Erasable Ink was the greatest scam pulled in the 80s/90s
- The Pen Panacea
- Sister Sternface and Old Furrow Brow