When last seen…

I understand you can have your eyebrows dyed now, either to make them show up better or the opposite, depending on which affliction you imagine you’re suffering from. I’d be willing to try it but my eyebrows entered the witness protection program years ago and I don’t know where they are.

I know, I know. I whine about this too much, and nobody else cares about the availability of my eyebrows for viewing. I can already sense some of you delicately suggesting that I move on, that this particular ship is over the horizon, that there are other things to attend to here at the dock. Which causes me to doubt myself: am I that guy in Tiananmen Square, standing alone against the tanks of unsightliness? Or am I that ragged soul clutching a Confederate flag and pouting about heritage?

I will move on.

In general, hair grows at a rate of about a centimeter a month, or a bit more in the United States, where we round up to an inch. The way body hair works is it grows to a certain length according to its aspirations, and then it falls out and a whole new one pops up in its place. It can do this sort of thing over and over for years and years and then at a certain point the futility of the whole proposition becomes evident to the follicle, and that’s that. The follicle has been stuck on the same career path and never getting ahead and never retiring its debts, and once the kids are gone it pulls the plug. In some dramatic cases, the entire scalp decides to start over, ditch the knick-knacks and move into something shiny and easier to clean.

The fur enterprise has been going on for a very long time. Even well before the rise of mammals proper, there were critters with hair. We know this because some was found in a fossil turd dating back to the Permian. This is the earliest indication yet that mammals, when they eventually arrived, were destined to be delicious. Most mammals nowadays have quite a thick pelt of fur, with a few exceptions that include pigs, elephants, and me.

I used to have more of a pelt. I distinctly remember appreciating my own arm hair, and being grateful that I’d taken after the arm-hair side of the family and not the bald-armed Norwegian side. But now I can hardly see my arm hairs. I used to think maybe the hairs on my body got farther apart as I grew up, but this can’t account for the sparsity, because I never got all that big. So I guess they just fell out.

Now I have virtually no arm hair, or leg hair, and also one other place I recall having had a bit of a patch. That would be an area that hasn’t been all that busy of late anyway. If there’s not a lot of activity in your inbox and outbox, you can keep your desk pretty clean.

Another thing you can do with your eyebrows is pluck them, to remove eyebrow hairs where you don’t want them. I’m going to get right on that as soon as I finish mowing the sidewalk.

In the meantime, I haven’t given up on the prospect of rounding up my missing eyebrows. If I get one more chin hair, I’ll have me a posse.