Monday, April 28, 2014

We Learn Nothing

We Learn Nothing: Essays by Tim Kreider

I picked up this book of essays at work, and they were just kind of fun.  Tim Kreider is a cartoonist and essayist, and these were all about life and friends and hard times and so on, and they're very funny in a kind of rough-edged way.  Here's a sample that I really like:
Years ago a friend of mine and I used to frequent a market in Baltimore where we would eat oysters and drink Very Large Beers from 32-ounce styrofoam cups. One of the regulars there had the worst toupee in the world, a comical little wig taped in place on the top of his head. Looking at this man and drinking our VLBs, we developed the concept of the Soul Toupee. Each of us has a Soul Toupee. The Soul Toupee is that thing about ourselves we are most deeply embarrassed by and like to think we have cunningly concealed from the world, but which is, in fact, pitifully obvious to everybody who knows us. Contemplating one’s own Soul Toupee is not an exercise for the fainthearted. Most of the time other people don’t even get why our Soul Toupee is any big deal or a cause of such evident deep shame to us but they can tell that it is because of our inept, transparent efforts to cover it up, which only call more attention to it and to our self-consciousness about it, and so they gently pretend not to notice it. Meanwhile we’re standing there with our little rigid spongelike square of hair pasted on our heads thinking: Heh – got ‘em all fooled!”
 
What’s so ironic and sad about this is that the very parts of ourselves that we’re most ashamed of and eager to conceal are not only obvious to everyone but are also, quite often, the parts of us they love best...
 See?  Pretty good.

2 comments:

Jenny @ Reading the End said...

Contemplating the Soul Toupee is making me anxious, hahahahaha. What could mine beeeeee?

(Actually, in the last few years, I've been making a point of telling my most embarrassing stories to as many people as possible, to inoculate myself against this exact sort of thing.)

Jean said...

Yep, I am also experiencing Soul Toupee wonderment. :D