Yesterday a friend brought me a shrunken head. Not a Halloween shrunken head. An honest to God, Natural History Museum, South American tribe shrunken head. It was in his briefcase.
My new gloves (arm warmers really, having one thumb hole but nothing more) leave fuzz all over everything. I didn’t realize this until I had put on my beautiful wine-colored coat. I was feeling so dapper that day, until I saw the fuzz. What was good and right grew mold.
There was also cat hair on my coat. There is always cat hair on my coat. I pick up my white cat and I put my ear by his nose to see how he’s recovering from his cold, and then I’m wearing 10% of his fur. The cat hair I am used to. It is part of my look. The glove fuzz was too much. I ripped off a layer and took a sticky roller to it. The sticky paper filled up with something, but the coat looked the same.
I left the house fuzzed. What else could I do? I tried pretending I didn’t know that I was fuzzy. It worked about 80% of the time. Twenty percent of the time I was sitting with my coffee, or our chips and salsa, and felt a tiny, echoing, creeping, itchy notion that I was a mess.
It had lips withered and wiggled down like a newborn’s, stitches up and down the middle of the noggin, where it had been cut apart and reunited, bitty ears with parrot bones stabbed through them (post mortem), and, oddest of all, a fuzz of hair.”Is that his real hair?” I asked. I had already been goaded into holding the thing. I couldn’t figure why I shouldn’t. It took a little chutzpah to put my two fingers on it, one on either temple.
I scrambled into the living room and turned on the vacuum. I thought this quite clever, but it was some committed fuzz I had found. The vacuum does a great job on couch cat hair, but my coat was married to that fuzz, like Middle Ages married, like Iran married.
“Yeah, that’s his hair,” the head’s current owner told me. It was the teeny, tenuous fuzz of a white boy’s late May haircut. It was orange– probably stained from the preserving process.
My friend was a little nervous about walking around with a shrunken head in a bag. As anyone should be. Got the head on an archeological trip to the Amazon, roundabout 1970. Was led into a cave, Amazonian reached into a dark hole and pulled out this one of many heads hidden in there.
A little fuzz on the scalp of the warrior who had been worshipped. A little fuzz all around.