ENID, Okla. —
There are many things I don’t understand.
Calculus, for one. It is defined as “the branch of mathematics that deals with the finding and properties of derivatives and integrals of functions, by methods originally based on the summation of infinitesimal differences.” That makes my head hurt.
Cricket, for another. Despite the prolonged efforts of a fervent young man who sat next to me at dinner not long ago, I know the game is played with a ball and a bat and that throwing, catching, hitting and running are involved, but that’s as far as it goes.
I don’t understand the appeal of most reality TV. I live in reality, so why do I need to watch more of it on TV? If I want to watch reality on TV, I’ll watch the news.
I don’t understand makeup. I mean, I do, I guess, but I don’t. I know ladies wear it to make themselves look prettier, but there is just so much of it. There is blush, eye liner, mascara, eye shadow and foundation. What’s it all for? And what about all the tools you need to apply the stuff — brushes big and small, tweezers, eyebrow pencils, eyelash curlers, brow combs and the like.
I must confess I have worn makeup, but only on a couple of long-ago appearances in the legitimate theater; if you can count junior high speech class productions as legitimate, that is.
The use of makeup dates back to ancient Egypt. The Egyptians, both men and women, would paint the areas around their eyes with kohl, a mixture of lead, copper, ash and burnt almonds. Cleopatra used lipstick that got its color from ground-up beetles.
Makeup is even mentioned in the Bible. 2 Kings 9:30 says “Then Jehu went to Jezreel. When Jezebel heard about it, she put on eye makeup, arranged her hair and looked out of a window.”
Makeup can be hazardous to one’s health. Not the stuff itself, it is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, but the application of same makeup.
A 2009 survey conducted in Great Britain found that some 500,000 accidents were caused every year by women applying makeup while behind the wheel.
The same poll found that one in five British women admitted to putting on their faces when they should have been putting on their turn signals.
First let me say that my bride does not need makeup. She is glowing and lovely without it, but she doesn’t seem to think she is presentable until she applies the stuff.
That said, the car is one of my bride’s favorite places to apply her makeup, but not while she is driving, instead I am.
It happens all the time. We are tooling down the highway. I’ve got my eyes on the road while she is brushing, powdering, tweezing and painting.
Periodically during these sessions, I will hear a mild exclamation of frustration, followed by a clattering noise, as one of her various beauty implements falls out of sight, lodged between the seats, lost to the ages.
Recently, we were driving to lunch together when she mentioned she was missing her eyebrow pencil. I made a properly sympathetic but nonetheless distracted husband noise as she peered between the seats.
She spotted it, and decided we would try to fish it out later.
I was kind of in a hurry that day. I intended to drop her off at home after lunch, then head right back to work. But she had other plans. She decided it was high time to bring the prodigal eyebrow pencil home.
There it was, a flash of red tantalizingly just out of reach. This was going to take time.
I exited the car, got on my hands and knees on the driveway and began moving the seat all the way up, then all the way back, trying to dislodge the thing. No good. I fished out a pen and tried to reach it, then an old drinking straw. It was right there. I could touch it and move it a little, but not much.
After more seat moving and pen poking, punctuated by a fair amount of grumbling, I began to move the fugitive eyebrow pencil to within range of my grasping fingers.
I touched it, and it slipped tantalizingly out of reach again. So I went back to poking at it with the pen and the straw. Slowly, it came into range again. Finally, I had it.
Except instead of one eyebrow pencil, there were two. I apparently had discovered an ancient eyebrow burial ground. Or else they were making like little bunny rabbits, I wasn’t sure.
My grateful bride clutched her retrieved eyebrow pencils, kissed me goodbye and prepared to shut the car door.
And dropped one of the pencils, which of course fell clattering right back into the dark void under the seat.
So there I was, back on my hands and knees on the cold concrete, once again attempting to corral the wandering eyebrow pencil.
I will spare you the details, as well as the curses I was muttering sotto voce, but eventually I got my fingers on the little devil.
Only there wasn’t just one, but two, with the bonus of some sort of skinny makeup brush. Instead of one long-lost eyebrow pencil come home to roost, there were suddenly three.
Like little bunnies. I just knew it.
Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at email@example.com.