Into Unabomber Territory

Today I returned from my morning walk, took off my stocking cap because the morning temperatures are still down in the freaking 30s, and greeted my lovely wife.  She took one look at my head and observed that I looked like Ted Kaczynski.

220px-theodore_kaczynski_2When your appearance is being compared — and not without reason — to the Unabomber’s booking photo, you know you’ve plumbed new depths of personal grooming.

This is not my fault, of course.  I last got my hair cut about a month before the COVID-19 shutdown took effect, and I’ve missed two appointments since then.  That means I’ve lost two opportunities for the Platinum Stylist to trim me up, attack the random hairs, and make me look distinguished when I leave the stylist’s chair.  And with gray hair being coarser and kinkier than my prior crop of fine mahogany locks, it’s safe to say that two months of unimpeded growth have given me a less than distinguished, grizzled look.

What can you do when all of the hair salons and barbershops are closed for weeks by state order, and you have no idea, really, when they will open again?  Getting your hair cut by definition is the opposite of social distancing, with the stylist hovering around inches from your head, wielding scissors and clippers and touching your hair and head and neck.  The next time I plop down in her chair, the Platinum Stylist may well be the Masked and Gloved Stylist.

But that day is in the future, and for now the options are limited:  (1) do nothing and move from Unabomber territory to long-time cave-dwelling hermit status; (2) do what others have done and use my beard trimmer to give myself the first crew cut I’ve had since I was 10, so that I look like an escaped mental patient or someone who’s just dealt with head lice; or (3) let Kish try her hand at cutting my randomly sprouting locks into something that looks like a appropriate haircut and run the risk that she can’t resist trimming a humorous message onto the back of my head.

Needless to say, I’m still weighing the alternatives.  In the meantime, the grizzled look becomes more grizzled with each passing day.

Thoughts On The Anniversary Of The Oklahoma City Bombing

The Oklahoma City bombing happened 15 years ago.  April 19, 1995 was an exceptionally deadly day of domestic terrorism, but it was unusual only in degree, not in kind.

The reality is that America has always had a dark, kinky seam of violent insurrection running through its soul like a vein of the blackest coal.  Our country was founded after an armed revolution — a revolution led by brilliant statesmen, to be sure, but a bloody armed revolution nevertheless — and political violence unfortunately has been a part of our history ever since.

Our nation’s history is dotted with periodic domestic uprisings and attempts to overthrow the government, from the Whiskey Rebellion that bedeviled George Washington, to John Brown’s raid at Harper’s Ferry, to the Civil War, to the periodic assassinations and attempted assassinations of political leaders, and more recently to the Weather Underground, the Black Panthers, the Symbionese Liberation Army, the Unabomber, and other “revolutionary” movements and persons. Timothy McVeigh walked in the footsteps of John Brown, Lee Harvey Oswald, Charles Manson, Ted Kaczynski, and countless other twisted, violent, and demented souls who came before him.

Some people contend that there is no realistic threat of domestic terrorism and argue that the focus should not be on American citizens but on terror threats from abroad.  Our nation’s history, however, suggests that paying some attention to fringe groups on the home front is well worth our while.  Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it, and I would prefer not to see another Oklahoma City tragedy in my lifetime.