Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Stop the Madness!

I am apparently the darling of the facial hair removal industry. I don't know why this is, since my beard grows so sowly that I would make an awful spokesperson, but it does appear to be true. And when I say "slowly" I think you should understand that my beard growth is rivaled only by plate tectonics in terms of sheer breakneck speed. What can I say? The men in my family are genetically nearly hairless- a trait that extends to the tops of our heads usually by our mid to late thirties. Male pattern baldness, however, is a topic for another day when my self-loathing drives me to torment you, the readers, with even more inane drivel than you have yet experienced. Today we're talking about facial hair.

As I said, given the rate at which my beard grows, I am not sure why I'm so popular with razor manufacturers, but it does indeed seem to be the case. Their affection for me first became apparent during the latter half of my high school career. One day, out of nowhere, Gillette sent me a free razor. Specifically, they sent me one of their Sensor razors. You know- the one that has two blades mounted on some sort of independent suspension system? It amuses me that based on this description my razor is more capable of operating offroad than my car, but I digress. In any case, I wasn't about to look a gift horse in the mouth and, seeing as how Gillette is the best a man can get, I decided to start using this razor.

Well, apparently Gillette wasn't done with me yet because a few weeks later they sent me a second Sensor razor. There was no explanation for this, so I attributed it to a glitch in their system and considered myself fortunate. Now, I told myself, I had a second razor to keep in my travel kit for debate tournaments. Ironically this made very little difference since when I was debating in high school my beard grew even more slowly than it does now, so a razor wasn't really a weekend-trip necessity. Nevertheless, I packed away my second free razor and decided that I'd come out ahead.

Little did I know how far ahead I was coming out, as a few weeks later I received yet another razor from Gillette. This time they sent me one of their new Sensor Excel models, which appears identical to the regular Sensor except for a gray color and some rubbery ridges on the head. No doubt those ridges are supposed to massage my skin or some such thing. Because we all know that a scant millimeter of rubber is the ideal tool for massage. By this point I was perplexed by this veritable deluge of facial hair removal technology. Despite the fact that this could, hypothetically, have supplied me with cheap holiday gifts until the end of time, I decided to call the Gillette corporation and ask them to stop sending me razors. They agreed and, fortunately, I stopped getting packages from their evidently-deranged marketing department.

Yet, it has come to my attention that the facial hair industry isn't done with me yet. I recently received yet another new razor, absoutely free of charge. This time Gillette is not responsible, but rather Schick, and they have sent me one of their Quattro razors, which comes standard with four blades and two "comfort strips." No doubt bucket seats are optional. It seems like a fine razor, and having used it I can assure you that it does a perfectly good job of removing facial hair, but I must also admit that with four blades and two comfort strips the damned thing is so big I feel like I'm dragging a deck of cards across my face.

What all of this is leading up to, however, is my very personal bewilderment about the development of razors. Consider for a moment: in the beginning we had straight razors. They were very effective at removing facial hair, but were also very capable of slitting throats. So, eventually, we moved to the so-called safety razors that encased the blade in a protective metal sheath. You might still manage to cut yourself, but you were unlikely to do yourself grievous bodily injury. From here we progressed to disposable razors. These devices incorporate the blades, fixed at a constant angle, into a cartridge. The entire cartridge can be disposed of and replaced, thus simplifying cleaning and maintenance. Most men as well as women now use disposable razors of one sort or another.

However, having reached this pinnacle of safety and convenience, we are suddenly faced with an explosion in razor development. First they had only one blade, then two, then three blade razors emerged from the primordial razor soup, then super-duper three blade razors, then came the aforementioned four blade razors, and even a new sort of razor that is disposable yet still requires a battery. The variety of ways to remove hair has increased explosively, and one wonders where it will ever end. Yet, what are we getting with each new leap forward in razor technology?

I don't mean to sound like a Luddite here, you all know I'm a big fan of technology, but this new four blade razor doesn't seem to shave any better than my old, out-of-date two blade razor. I find myself similarly doubtful that my old two blade was any better than a one blade, although I am grateful that I didn't have to learn to shave with an actual straight razor. As high-strung as I am, my bathroom would constantly be decorated with Jackson Pollock like marks from arterial spurting. It just seems like we've given up on making actual improvements to the razor and have settled for making absurd cosmetic changes- such as the charmingly-pink Lady BIC that, I believe, has flowers molded into the handle. Obviously all women just loved this innovation as it allows them to feel oh-so feminine while dragging a sharp blade over a large portion of their bodies. Come to think of it, what could be more feminine than that? Oh, yeah, baby...

Look, I love capitalism. I'm a fan of its semi-efficient approach to resource allocation. I know I favor certain measures for income redistribution, but that's really just to save capitalism from itself. So, I understand that corporations need to keep selling us new products. I get that. I'm okay with it. Mostly. Okay, partly. Okay, I'm not okay with it, but I don't know how to solve the problem.

In any case, I get that companies need to sell us new and improved products but, and this is just a thought, is it too much to ask that the damned things be improved, rather than just new?

Or, at the very least, could you stop sending me this shit? I have a razor for every limb now, and believe me when I tell you that it is not easy to shave with your feet.


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