Sunday, August 15, 2010


‘Do you know how to deal with bushy eyebrows?’ Your man asked, squinting
at me with both eyes half closed.

‘Cut them’ I said brusquely.

‘I had all these wee things sort of flitting across me vision for the last
couple of weeks and I wasn’t able to figure out what they were until just
there now. It’s me eyebrows. They’re like huge hairy caterpillars,
dropping down over me eyes’.

He continued to peer at me short-sightedly.

‘Its funny that. The way hair goes in some parts and comes in others. I
thought about it last Sunday when we were at the big game. Remember we met
wee Seamie? Did you see his comb over? I said to myself I hope I never
end up like that. When the wind blew it lifted the hair up off the top of
his head like it was a flap. Seamie bocht. He has to walk sideways into
the wind and all the time his hair flapping up and down like the wing of a
big black crow’.

‘Its in your genes’ I suggested. ‘Baldness. Or the lack of it. Its in
your genes’.

‘I wudn’t say that’ he replied, ‘Luk at our ones. Bald as coots’.

‘Whats a coot?’ I wondered.

‘There used to be a place downtown for getting your hair restored. It
sold wigs as well. There was a neon light above the door. It flashed off
and on to show a man’s wee baldy head one minute and a hairy head the next
minute. It was called the Hair Restoration and Rejuvenation Emporium. Our
John spent a fortune in there. I often wonder why men are so worried about
losing their hair?’

‘Coots? I repeated

He ignored me.

‘Kojak sorted all that out. Shaved it all off. He was a head , haha, of
his time. Chrome dome. Now everybody does it. Even young fellahs with hair
go shaven headed nowadays.’

‘Who loves ya baby?’ I smiled in recollection.

‘Probably a virility thing’ your man continued.

‘Or vanity?’ I offered. ‘unless you’re a coot’.

‘Grass doesn’t grow on a busy street. That’s what our John wud say in
defence of his shiny cloigeann if he was getting slagged. But that was
after years and years of denial. Comb overs? Our John was an expert. He
cudda won prizes for weaving. His thatch was an intricate and wonderfully
executed work of art. But as obvious as sin.’

‘Like Jackie Healy Rea’s hairdo?’

‘Better than that. That’s just one big strand plastered with Brylcream and
draped over his pate. Our John was more sophisticated. And then he met the
love of his life and that was that. He wised up pretty quick. Now he gets
a number nought all over. Except for his eyebrows. They’re as bad as

‘That’s what happens to men of a certain age. Eyebrows. Hairy nostrils.’ I
observed ‘Even hairy ears. Hair everywhere but on your head’.

‘That’s what I was saying,’ he protested ‘ Eyebrows! Bloody nuisance. But
unlike you I’m not doing so bad in the hair department’.

‘What do you mean?’ I asked anxiously, squinting at my reflection in the
mirror behind the bar.

‘Another few years you’ll be like our John. Unless you take the Jackie
Healy Rea option.’

‘No chance!’ I retorted.

‘Never say never’ your man smirked ‘stranger things have happened. As you
should know.’

‘Oh… and’ he raised one of his newly discovered,highly impressive and very
articulate eyebrows ‘ a coot is a wee water hen'.

'A bird' I exclaimed.

'A fowl' he said.

'Birds... or fouls don't have hair. Baldy as a coot! You may as well say
baldy as a sea gull. Or a pigeon.

'And you're my wee duck'. he said.

'You're a geg.' I muttered.

And so he is. Magnificent eyebrows, receding hair line and all.


Maria said...

You look like you have a pretty good head of hair. I don't think you have to be concerned.

Timothy Dougherty said...

Thanks Gerry, I need that laugh today. “The computer can't tell you the emotional story. It can give you the exact mathematical design, but what's missing is the eyebrows.”
Frank Zappa quotes.
Than it is Oscar Wilde who put the light on the spot or in this case the forehead “Our emotional symptoms are precious sources of life and individuality."

Micheal said...

Ha Ha, that was funny. "What's a coot". I often wondered that myself. It is a kind of duck that is bald. It's a funny saying alright, and a very common one in Ireland.

Another good saying is, "It's better to bend like a willow than to break like an oak", and hardliners on every side would do well to remember it.

Just look at history's record of ideologues who determined that to stray one inch from an ideology would lead to not achieving an end result. Hitler, Mussolini, Sadam Hussein, Osama Bin laden. All broken like oaks and remembered as losers at the end of the day.

When there is a united Ireland we will all still need to have good relations with the Ulster protestants and the British generally, so how we get there is every bit as important as just getting there and as awkward as it is, it will require winning a majority vote in Northern Ireland, which is regarded with great affection as a seperate country by the loyalists.

I can see a time coming where Northern ireland paraphanalia, like soccer shirts will have a great retro quality, like USSR shirts after the fall of the Berlin wall. But not the union jack. that'll never be displayed without negative conotations on the island of ireland. To many of us it is a schwastika and will always be despised.