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Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Squat Bald Man in My Head

Comments yesterday - too cool - requesting more info on the guy relegated to the further corners of my brain -- the corner, apparently, where one is free to ignore the No Smoking signs! -- more info on the guy fond of slogan tee-shirts and lighting one cigarette with the butt of another, has resulted in this post. Here it is. And don't forget. It's your fault.

The squat, bald man in my head has a louder, and sometimes opposite view of life than I do.

He’s the one cackling with glee when the young XL woman in the M pants struggles to lift her own body weight up the steps of the bus, the guy who looks me in the eye to make sure I notice her, the one who lifts a knuckle-y finger to point out a possible gravy stain on her chest.

He’s the guy who mutters questions under his breath related to the state of our country's educational system, just loud enough to hear but not loud enough to make out while standing behind the man with 14 items in a 10 Items or Less line at the grocery store. And sometimes he meets that guy’s eye, then shoots an imaginary weapon at his gallon of two percent, grinning.

He’s the lout yelling at the guy playing the flutophone and irritating the lunch crowds down on Nicollet. Trilling madly and playing with a flourish seen infrequently since Liberace's death, Flutophone Man's upturned hat is at his feet, implying that your change would be the reasonable response to the audio assault hurled in your direction. “Would you shut up?" he bawls at him. "For cryin’ out loud, you have no skills!”

All said in good fun, of course.

The squat, bald man is not a violent man – necessarily – but he wouldn’t mind watching.

And he likes me.

“Oh, oh, oh,” he says, sitting down on the couch, square elbow to my ribs. “When you run to the store, get me a pack of Marlboros.”

“I’m not running to the store.”

“Yeah, right, but when you do,” he says, lighting one cigarette with the glowing end of another, lips curling and uncurling around the words, “get me some smokes.”

“I thought I told you I don’t want you smoking in my head anymore.”

“You did.”

There is an uncomfortable moment of silence as we stare at each other.

“Whatever,” I say, turning away. “Just don’t blow it into my sinuses anymore. I hate that. Blow it out my ears.”

I can hear him smirking. He leans against me. “I’m gonna need the car Tuesday night.”

I sigh heavily, turn back. “OK. One, why does everyone think they can use my car; and Two, where the hell do you have to go on a Tuesday night?”

He lifts his chin, blows smoke toward the front of my head, catches himself, and turns toward an ear. “The less you know – pffffffffffff – the less you can tell.”

I don’t like this, but like the cat, the squat bald guy in my head has a way of returning the car with a full tank of gas, a sure way to my heart. I worked at a full-service gas station for half a year in my late teens and have a love/hate relationship with the pump.

“Fine,” I say. “But leave the seat the way you found it this time.”

The smirk leaves his face and he draws himself up in a show of false dignity. “A man’s posture is his own,” he says, indignantly.

He grins. “You allow me full adjustment rights on the front seat, and I won’t tell anyone you had three cigarettes Friday night on that freak-out you girls called an evening.”

I lean back on the couch, rub my eyes, press my fingers against them until they explode in a Byzantine disaster of black and red.

“Fine,” I say.


At least I'll get a full tank of gas out of the deal. Plus my cigarettes from the other night are still a secret.

31 comments:

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

I know that guy. I saw him at WalMart throwing pretend darts at the woman with the waterbed stuffed in the back of her pants. Don't raise your eyebrows...you know the one I mean. Hey, do you suppose we all have a guy like that in our minds?

Pearl said...

Delores, I think we do. I think he's both a visceral response to everyday stressors and a reminder of our baser selves. Plus sometimes he's just good fun. But he gets out of hand easily, a kind of "you play with fire, you might get burned" sort of thing.

The Jules said...

Is my mental sociopath a lady?

I'm liking that idea . . .

Lisa said...

He reminds me of the thing I keep caged in the back of my closet. Even the cats know not to mess with it.

R. Jacob said...

At first I thought you were calling me a squat man! oh, it is a post about your alter ego. Do you think the bus lady has a working mirror in her home? That the "I can't count guy" does it on purpose? That your squat guy and your cat go clubbing together? Such question to ponder...

Daisy said...

Does Ms Lisa Bean approve of his having the car Tuesday night? Isn't that her night out with "the girls"???

Elizabeth Rose Stanton said...

This made my morning. :-D

Joanne said...

I think the squat bald man knows Liza Beans secrets, too. But she doesn't know his. She's being careful.

Clipped Wings said...

Why do you always do what you do so well? Loved the post.

Pearl said...

Ooh, for just a moment my computer didn't update properly and there were just the two comments from first thing this morning (Delores and I) and I thought, hmm -- maybe this was a mistake.

I'm glad that it appears that people are liking it. :-)

Jules, I think your squat bald man is a woman, yes. I think her lipstick is smeared, she's shaking an empty drink at the bartender, and that she might fall of her bar stool later. She probably has a wicked tongue and just might be thinking of getting a tattoo on her neck. :-)

Lisa, I don't have anything in my closet. HA ha ha hah ha ha!!!! :-)

R., every answer begets another question!

Daisy, actually, I think Liza Bean Bitey is going to accompany me to my clarinet lesson Tuesday night. She thinks she knows my instructor, and I'm just hoping it's not yet another musician she used to date. Those reunions don't always end well.

Elizabeth, I'm really glad. Every now and then I try something that strikes me as something I've not done before, and I worry about it.

Joanne, you may very well be right!

Clipped Wings, I'm so glad. It occurs to me, sometimes, how vulnerable I make myself by writing every day. But the writing, as they say, is what teaches you, and I love everything about the writing of my blog, the reading of all of your blogs, the comments, everything. It's a great time to be alive!

Camille said...

"I thought I told you I didn't want you smoking in my head anymore" Oh My God - classic Pearl and exactly why I love your writing. Your alter ego is an absolute hoot. Mine smokes a pack a day, scratches indiscriminantly, and drinks cheap whisky, neat. If they ever got together we'd probably need the name of an attorney and bail money.

jenny_o said...

THANK YOU for making it all right to have this character in my head, simply by having that character in your head :)

More? Please?

Michelle said...

HYSEARL...say it PEARL...it's all about MOTHER JONES and HYSEARL..and what he knows is more than just rocking ROCKY...it's killing the HOES- YEMEN-
MEESE & CHO.
Show me the " bad word" in this comment...PEARL.
UM- MILLA?
They say the trail is MITT ROMNEY - TEXAS U?
Are these all " bad words" ...PEARL?
Tell us.

alwaysinthebackrow said...

So, I am assuming that there is a squat bald guy (who chain smokes and says exactly what he thinks) with you in his head, trying to hold him back. It has to be. Yin and Yang.
I wonder if the you in his head ever gets the best of him.

Denise said...

I have similar person, he is having a field today making fun of the people calling me today at Drugs R Us.

Steve Bailey said...

Why is he squat?..... and why is he bald? I think you should pretty up that guy in your head... maybe get him some hair plugs and maybe some platform shoes!!

Leenie said...

I LOVE Pearl's place! Your writing made me see that guy, lighting his smoke and talking around it, pointing out the gravy stain. I was there with you in your head. VERY WEIRD.

My head's resident is five years old, happy, very sticky, loud and rude.

Douglas said...

I have a guy in my head but he's not bald or squat. He's tall, beefy, with a pony tail and an attitude. He rides that Harley I've always wanted (you know he one... Dennis Hopper rode it in Easy Rider") I let him out in bars after I've had a few too many.

Susan in the Boonies said...

Ah! Your inner snark. Yes, I have an inner snark as well. She has a bouffant. And chews gum with violent enthusiasm.

And she's usually dead on right.

Gigi said...

Yes, I definitely have one of those living in my head too. She is loud, catty and, at times, extremely obnoxious. Occasionally, her outsized personality over takes my usual, milder self.

Pat Tillett said...

Well, that explains a great deal! I have a guy in my mind who looks and acts exactly like I do...

Jayne Martin said...

I think you have the makings of a book with this character. I'm thinking road trip. My brain is a non-smoking area, and I have far-less colorful characters living there.

Enjoyed this immensely, my funny, oh-so-talented friend.

Laoch of Chicago said...

You need a cuter inner voice

The Elephant's Child said...

Oh cousin Pearl. Our people in our heads are related too. Mine sometimes (fortunately only sometimes) ventriloquizes his thoughts out through my mouth. And pretending I didn't say whatever it was he just threw out there doesn't work.

HermanTurnip said...

I have a gay lesbian in my head telling me to ogle at girls when the wife isn't looking. ;-)

Diane said...

I saw him! Leaning against the outer wall of the Superstore, he was watching the rail-thin woman tip back the last of her no-fat latte, then flip the empty container out into the parking lot. He said nothing, but exhaled a cloud of smoke over her as she passed him. I appreciated his uncharacteristic self control. Normally . . .

mystic29 said...

Oh, he annoys you as well Pearl? He's always suggesting inappropriate things to say to people I shouldnt talk to. You should have heard the things he suggested I say to my mother...it's alright for him... I'm the one she'd slap.

River said...

Oooh! I like this guy!
"the less you know, the less you can tell".
I LOVE that line, I'm going to use it the next time the workplace gossip asks me what it was I was talking about.

Symdaddy said...

As a squat, (nearly) bald man, I would just like to make it absolutely clear that I have been NOWHERE NEAR Pearlchen's head!

And I do so hope that my wife is reading this and lets me back into the house! Puh-leeeeeze!

haphazardlife said...

Mine is rail thin and wears too much makeup and spandex. Oh and her hair is the type of blonde that comes from a bottle. A cheap bottle at that. Yes, she's the type who gets pointed out. But damn can that woman snark.

NYEMT said...

I don't know if I have an entire alter ego. I know I have an Evil Inner Voice, which occasionally (and usually without any warning whatsoever) makes hash out of my interactions at work. He also makes periodic appearances in my Facebook posts, where he's both wildly popular and viciously hated, for similar reasons by different people. :)