The bi-weekly consternation for me has nothing to do with female hygiene products. It doesn’t come from the lack of creative meal ideas from my kids – and that’s a constant consternation. It’s not even from the hormonal “Daaaaaddddd!” that my middle child loves to throw at me now. It’s from a small piece of ugly metal.
The things should make me happy. Ever since she was old enough to get a haircut, my oldest daughter, Abbi, has had her hair in a little “Bob” haircut.
But you may not realize that that “Bob” is also responsible for one of the banes of my existence.
It’s a small, double-sided, bend of metal with a plastic coating on the two ends. One end, in fact, is zig-zagged, not unlike the cut of a house key while the other is flat.
That’s right. I’m talking about Bobby Pins.
The “Bob” haircut, believe it or not – developed in the Roaring 1920’s – is responsible for the invention of the so-called Bobby pin. (Also known as the “hair grip”, “kirby grip” or “granny clip” (go figure on that last one since the Bob was a decadent hairstyle in the ’20s!)). My preference of a name, however, is “bane of Dad’s existence!”
It is a marvel to me that this tiny, curved, marvel of the Jazz Age could cause me such consternation. Here’s the thing, though, for my daughter, there are never any around. My oldest goes through them like they’re made of some sort of fissile material and crazy nuclear physicists from a foreign country are plotting to take them one-by-one from our household. Add to this the fact that my middle daughter, who balks worse than Bret Saberhagen (Yeah, I haven’t watched baseball since the Royals won games…sue me!) when I mention that I want to cut her hair even an inch, has to use them now, too. Not because of a Bob haircut but because she has that horrible teenage girl’s tendency to let her hair fall over half her face. I warn her that one day she’s just going to walk into a tree because she’s got worse tunnel vision than the Odyssey’s cyclops that way.
So the solution? That zig-zagged piece of metal up there.
But where my daughters seem to be constantly complaining that they can’t find any of the said same Bobby pins . . . I can’t seem to get away from them. They’re like rabbits! Two of them are in Abbi’s hair and by day’s end five of them are on the floor. Just this morning their brother, Noah, put a handful of them he found near the couch on the bookshelf in our living room.
Worse still, though, is the fact that the vacuum cleaner hates the things. I don’t mean a mild dislike, I mean crunching, grinding, metallic screaming noises that are followed by chokes and dust clouds. Why? Because the pins get lodged in the small hose that leads from the base of the cleaner to the housing where the dust is collected. As a result, about twice a month, I end up taking the vacuum apart. I then have to destroy a wire hangar and bend it into a strange shape that’s not unlike a giant version of a Bobby Pin and clean out self same hose.
A pile of filthy, dusty, greasy chunks of metal sit on the floor of our home . . . and then I hear “I CAN’T FIND ANY FREAKING BOBBY PINS! UGH!” This is usually followed by “Dad, can you pick up some Bobby Pins for me on the way home tonight?!”
I sit, staring at them like Bugs Bunny up there, staring at the monster, and consider, for just a brief moment, that I have enough of them here to put onto an old Bobby Pin Card. It would be so easy. . . some soap, a quick wash through the dishwasher. . . they’d never be the wiser.
But I know my children. They’d be “too slippery” or “too harsh” or God knows what else.
And I look at the damn pieces of metal and toss them, unceremoniously into the garbage can, knowing full well I’ll duplicate this routine in a couple weeks.
After all . . . I never seem to have a shortage of the damn things!