Monday, October 23, 2006

Ever Closer to the Edge of "Shear" Madness!

I knew it was coming. It didn't matter how stupid the idea was, nobody seems to have been able to stop this madness. Oh, it could have been halted, but the brown-nosed sycophants in corporate America will say yes to anything. It's too late now, they've gone and done it.

The miserable troglodytes mailed me a new bane of existence, addressed to me personally. I guess I'm supposed to be grateful, but I feel more along the lines of grated. I shall explain:

I cry unto you this: When they came out with the double-bladed razor, it seemed to make some sense; indeed, it did deliver a closer shave. All well and good. But these people just can't stop themselves, can they? It took a few years, but then we had the triple-bladed razor foisted on us, partly on the excuse that the head would swivel and follow the contours of your face as you guided it along with your hand. All well and good again.... mostly. The third blade didn't really seem to do anything, but it did deliver a more consistent shave over more areas of your face. That is, unless you are "of my people", those oppressed by the dawn: If you were not a "morning person", you could cut yourself like Sweeney Todd and bleed to death before the coffee kicked in and informed you to stop the bleeding, as you are not good to the last drop. On one spectacularly klutzy morning, I cut my chin; reacting automatically to the pain, I moved my hand to cover the wound quickly. It was a bad decision to have done so with the hand holding the razor, for on its way back, it lacerated three deep gashes into my ear. I bear the ignoble scars to this day. And still, I never understood why three blades were necessary; I could hurt myself nearly as badly with just two.

At this juncture, you might reasonably ask me "Why in hell don't you get an electric razor?" Reason Number One: My father used an electric razor, and therefore it's for "old guys". Reason Number Two: I don't like the way it leaves my facial skin looking & feeling. Reason Number Three, and the paramount: You think that you can't gouge out hunks of flesh with one of those things? HAH! I can't see the advantage of having a cross-cut pothole dug into my flesh over a razor cut.

Could they leave well enough alone? Of course not! "Why, if three blades with the special pivoting head are better than two, then, by all the syphylitic concubines of Bangkok, four must be even better!" Why is four better? Be reasonable, follow along with me here: The idiotic thing has four straight-edged blades, and now the height of four of them stacked was about 3/8 of an inch. A man's face is curved in a lot of places. All this fiendish scam was good for was raking a trench on your jawline, or cutting off part of your nose when trying to get the high reaches of the philtrum. I wasn't falling for it, not this time. "I'll stick with your tri-machete version, thank you very much!" said I.

Naturally, they would have none of this. Gillette cheerily mailed me a free quadrophonic razor handle & blade, and then did the dastardly deed: The three-blade refill cartridges disappeared from the store. I'm sure that it didn't escape the attention of the rest of you studly chaps out there that with every additional blade, the price of the refills doubled over the last. I was getting sick of this idiotic overkill, but I was trapped; I could not switch to an electric razor, not even one of the newer & kinder models. That would mean that I'd become an "Old Guy"! Not only no, but hell no!

At this juncture, you may well be asking yourself why don't I grow a beard and be done with the whole stinking business? Actually, I have one more than half the time, but I still have to shave around it to make it look swank, sexy, and make women want to run their fingers through it. I'm a real enthusiast of letting women run their fingers through the hair on any part of my body.

Aha, but this time, I figured out a way to foil them! It took an additional cup of coffee before I shaved to gain the consciousness & dexterity, and I dipped the razor into another cup of coffee, just to be sure. Holding it just right, I could manage to have just two of the blades touch my face at a time. HAH!! Now I'm making your ultra-premium refill blades last twice as long! Take that!!

Surely, this time, the one-more-blade-upsmanship had reached its zenith. Surely, the market would not tolerate any more gimmickry. Oh, how wrong I was! Because today was the day.

I went out to get the recycling bins in (I re-use them, don't you know), and Al, my mail carrier, drove up at the same time. He personally handed me the goods for the day, saying "Looks like you got a razor." No! NO!!" I thought to myself. "It CAN'T be!" I looked down & saw the word "Gillette" on the side edge of a rambunctiously red box. Fearing the worst, I turned the face up towards me. Sure enough. The "Gillette Fusion" with FIVE frigging blades!! FIVE!!! What's their excuse this time, I wonder? The package claims that with five blades, you can reduce the pressure that you use to move it across your face, and golly gee, it'll mean less irritation and more comfort. I can't believe it; I couldn't take it in, especially knowing that they're going to get away with it again. Young guys want to seem cool & sophisticated; middle-aged guys are in the dreaded mid-life crisis, and a five-blade razor is the depilatory equivalent of a red Ferarri. For the elder set, the evil geniuses are packaging the razors & blades with Viagra & Cialis. So now, the senior men out there are being duped into thinking that they're gonna get laid more than they ever have before in their lives. I haven't asked them about it, and I don't want to know! Especially if it's working.

Oh, but wait, it goes one absurd step further: They've already snuck the SIXTH blade onto the thing. Ah, but this one's different! It's on the back. Why? What for? The package explains: It's a "precision trimmer blade", and allows you to neatly trim sideburns, go at the philtrum safely, and even shape facial hair. "Wow, that's some blade!" I said to myself. And then it hit me:

This is a versatile blade, this posterior loner. Ah, but blade-manufacturing technology has advanced over the years, so it's probably the best blade-edge they've ever made. "Yes!", I hear their voices in my head say; "So you understand why the refill blade cartridges cost $8.00 apiece. Aren't you worth it?" Maybe, maybe not, but it was then that I realized the insidious nature of the whole conspiracy: ONE of these new-age blades could probably shave as close as the best two-blade razors from back in the day! The razors that actually had a discernible difference, the ones I liked & was happy to pay slightly more for. But now, why, this one blade could probably do the job all by its lonesome! Which leads to the big question, men:


Other than the fact that we're given little choice, I had a sneaking suspicion.... I checked the stock reports today (which I'd rather punch myself in a kidney than do), and there it was: Who's raking in even more obscene profits than the oil companies? You got it.

Gentlemen, there's no avoiding it: Whatever our individual merits may be, collectively, we're a bunch of suckers.

However, don't get altogether crestfallen; these same minions of the devil managed to drag the women to an even more bizarre extreme. Having foisted upon women the pain of the Epilady, the personal care product manufacturers now have them convinced that it's a good idea to have hot wax poured onto their bodies near a place that is precious and should never be recklessly endangered; and then, that it's "so totally worth it" to then have it ripped off of them. It is true that it does a pretty thorough job; it glues itself to body hair so well that it actually rips out a lot of follicles along with the hair. In some cases, women with particularly deep follicles have had bones come flying out. However, they tell us, with righteous indignation, that we'd better be glad that they care about us so much, they'd go through this ordeal just to look good for us. Are they in league with Gillette and the other criminals? Surprisingly, no. No, this process has allowed the women to "sell" us something that they prize even more than huge profits:


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