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This Won't Hurt--Hold Still

How to save Big Money around the house.

12:00 AM, Apr 10, 2006 • By LARRY MILLER
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A great artist cannot be rushed, especially when one's métier is children's heads. But I was starting to feel nervous. I was halfway up one side, but only in patches, and was suddenly horrified that the razor seemed to be losing juice, or getting clogged. So I turned it off, and told the second one to hold tight while I showered the first. He asked if he could stand up, and when he did, I got a good look at my wife's makeup chair. This was not a positive development.

It was like the outline of a kid, but surrounded by hair. I tried to wipe it off, but the chair is upholstered in a velor-ish fabric, and the hair wasn't budging. In fact, I spread it more. And the floor? Caked. Filthy. Stacked. Piled. All her perfumes and jars were covered, like that ivy from Japan that eats trees and cars. Frightening. Nauseating. That's why the guy comes by every ten minutes in a real barber shop with the giant broom.

I was leaning into the shower busy shampooing the first one, which explains why I didn't notice the stream of water spilling out and mixing with the hair to form a slow soup. "You look good," I yelled to the other one. "Like one of the Star Wars characters. Not one of the handsome ones, but still. I'm kidding, we'll fix it up, you'll see. Hey, that's what baseball caps are for, right? I'm kidding again."

That's when I noticed the rising water on the floor and felt a very rare curse forming in my throat, which was, happily, cut off the second I looked up and saw, naturally, my wife standing in the doorway.

Perfect. Just perfect.

She glanced at one kid, then the other; admittedly, they looked like mental patients. Then her knowing eye ran over the counter, chair, bottles, and floor. Then she noticed the hairy water lapping at her feet. Maybe she saw that first, though, I don't know. It's hard to know what women are thinking.

But her eyes told the story. They looked like . . . Remember the close-up of Lee Van Cleef's eyes at the end of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly? That's how they looked.

LATER, around a quarter to 9:00, after she'd spent hours with a scissors and comb gently finishing/correcting/jury-rigging their hair . . . after they were re-showered and in their pajamas, and in bed with us watching cartoons . . . after lotions and powders and a little Bactine . . . and a couple of Band-Aids . . . and a glass of milk and a cookie Mommy had baked the night before.

A cartoon ended, and one of them stretched, and I looked over to my wife on the other side. She felt the glance and turned away, shaking her head. Then, after a second or two, the corners of her mouth turned up a little. She tried to stop it, but couldn't, and started to laugh, and couldn't stop that, either, and we both laughed, and then the kids got it, too, and joined in, and no one said anything to anyone, and we all laughed for a long time.

When the kids were asleep, and after I'd done a little shaving and re-showering myself, I went downstairs and made her a drink without asking, and sat down on the couch and handed it to her, and she was still trying not to smile. Then she turned, and we looked at each other for as long as we had laughed before.

By God, in this light, she looks just like Barbara Feldon.

Larry Miller is a contributing humorist to The Daily Standard and a writer, actor, and comedian living in Los Angeles.