Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Head Over Heels

Scabrous:  Having or covered with scales and rough to the touch

Scabrous is one of my game words, meaning I know it's a word and can play it in Scrabble or Words with Friends, but I have to look it up in the dictionary to know what it means. Which is what I had to do yesterday.

I was pretty sure it was a nasty word and more or less suspected it meant what it sounded like - full of scabs. But I needed to be certain in this instance. Because the night before, for the first time in my life, someone had actually called me "scabrous".

The fact that it was my darling wife and it happened in bed should in no way be seen as a reflection on the state of our marriage.

No, in fact we were back to one of my old topics - cracked heels. LK expressed such disappointment as her foot rubbed against one of my dried, rough-to-the-touch heels. "What's happened to your heels? You had them so smooth, but now they're . . . they're . . . well, now they're scabrous," she said.

If I had known what that word literally meant, I would have pointed out that, yes, my heels were a bit rough to touch, but technically they weren't covered with scabs. Unfortunately I did not learn the definition until it was far too late to reprise the brief discussion that followed being called "scabrous".

("Scabrous! Thanks a lot!"
"Well, maybe they're not that bad, but I really wanted to use that word.")

Anyhow, it's now back to pumice stones and Eulactol cream. That stuff is made from urea, which seems to prove that it is better to soak your feet in a byproduct of urine than have them seem scabrous to your wife.

Backsliding on the condition of my heels is probably just one more manifestation of my general trend in retirement. I had heard that a certain class of men tend to, shall we say, lower their standards of personal care once they no longer have to answer the starting bell at a job. Or, in my instance, perhaps the standards were always lower, but having to report to work kept them in check. In either instance, I have to acknowledge that I haven't been all that good on the dapper front since I retired.

Bill Belichick - Hoodie Master
You could point to my dressing in slavish emulation of my sports hero, Bill Belichick, but the point was driven home even more strongly last week when LK insisted it was time for my semi-annual haircut. "Either get it cut or I am putting it in a ponytail," she said. Which is another instance of things that happen when you retire.

Perhaps the best way to make you understand this is to ask you to imagine the reverse -- me telling LK that she had to get her hair cut or I would force her to wear a ponytail. Nope, we all know that men are not about to start bossing their wives around about their appearance - or at least not if they want to ensure they wake up every morning with all of their bits still attached.

But women seem to fall so easily into the notion that the old guy is in his second childhood. And we all know how well they play the role of Mother.

Hillary Wins This Contest
Or perhaps it is not that psychologically complex, for when I expressed these thoughts to my beloved, she just shrugged and said, "Look, it's as easy as this - I have to look at you and you don't." I tried to argue that I was just trying to see if I could outlast Hillary Clinton when it came to getting a haircut that was desperately needed. Obviously, with LK pressuring me I wasn't going to win this particular contest with Hillary.

So back to Whitey's Shearing Shed I went. Despite its name, they really don't tie up your hands and legs and run an electric razor back and forth across your head. They're very friendly there and in a matter of minutes I was presentable again - or at least as presentable as I am likely to get.

Presentable, like scabrous, might not be the precise word to use. Perhaps I can come up with a new phrase. Does "Retirement Casual" work for you?


Garden pix tomorrow for the thousands clamoring to see how our peas and carrots are doing.

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