CROSSROADS TO SOMEWHERE: From Hirsute to Being Embarassed


By W.T. Wimpy Hiroto

(First published in The Rafu Shimpo on September 15, 2010.)


Making a valiant attempt to at least appear to be a normal, peace loving human being, I finally shaved and got a haircut.  Okay, so what’s the big deal?  If I had a wife she would have approved.  If I had a dog she would whimper with approval.  If I had a memory it would provide me with proof that I once had both.
There was no grand epiphany preceding the two happenings.  After nearly three months it was simply time to rediscover the dude that was lost in all that growth. Today’s modern male has embraced the five-day growth as the current macho look, approved by GQ magazine. Extensions now run to beards, moustaches, goatees and wrap around sideburns.  Despite the occasional corn row and braids, head hair has for the most part shortened with less gunk. I’m sure if the ladies (and Madison Avenue) objected we’d be back to crew cuts and hairless faces in the clang of a cash register. I guess the need to be different among athletes and entertainers overcome any sense of hair appreciation.

So CR2S finally put soap to face and voila! The [sometimes]pleasant countenance of an [aging]Nisei emerged. After shunning a razor for so many consecutive mornings, the hirsute was gone. Pow. Down the drain.  Clean shaven with the emphasis on “clean.”

Putting scissors and clipper to plow a head of hair was a bit more involved.  After more than an hour of shampooing, curling and setting, wa-la, a neat size 7 ¼  emerged with enough hair on the floor to make a sheep envious.  (Yet another reason to thank Mama H., responsible for the hair that remains, mostly still black.)

Although often tempted to discuss in detail the rigors of physical therapy with you, I can’t help but refrain because, well, to be awfully honest, I don’t think I’d pay a huge amount of interest in your aches and pains. So why you of me?

Nevertheless and irregardless, where would we be if I chose to be  reverent and considerate?  That being settled, my latest lament:

PT is a scavenger hunt in discovering and using muscles, thews, sinews and bones you never knew existed, let alone possess.  Yup, it can and will be painful, during and after.

So what is the real essence of rehabilitation? To get back to what was normal before or hoping to get back to 50 or 90% of par? Therapists, I have a feeling, must have a minor training in psychology and gung hoism.  I mean, hey, if someone is doing so great, why is another month added to the rehab schedule? And why can’t I walk straight? Or lean over? When confronting the plight of WTH head on, why do I come to the sad conclusion that I’m right back to where I was last Thanksgiving eve, 10 long months ago? But enuf’ self-pity and sorrowful bleating. Compared to others in real dire straits, I should put a whoa to my woebegoing.

Among the dozens of email worthy of mention lately, the next item falls into the category of being put in one’s place, painlessly.

“I am a Sansei who enjoys looking at my dad’s saved Rafu articles from the Horse’s Mouth.  Last night he also saved the “Crossroads to Somewhere” you  wrote.  Enjoy it very much. – Peggy Murakami Markus.

CR2S response:  Thank you, Peg.  And your father, too, I suppose.

Her commentary continued:

“I thought of another question for your quiz:  What word in the English language changes just by changing the first letter from lower case to upper case?

The answer is polish/Polish. Sansei Peggy continues.

“For your punctuation marks [collection]isn’t the exclamation point a punctuation [you missed]?”

CR2S’s chagrined answer is Yes.  (As if you didn’t know, is also a testy retort sotto voce.) My lame excuse is I sloppily failed to include “exclamation point” in the rundown of the fourteen English punctuation marks. No excuse.

Please keep reading [and correcting]me, Mrs. Markus. Since my regular Nisei readership is in rapid decline and can’t see or hear too well, I am in search of younger followers like you. I promise to be more sagacious in the future.

W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached by e-mail. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.


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