(cartoon copyright Nance Thacker 1991. All rights reserved.)
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My mother stood with her face mere inches away from the mirror that hung on the side of the cabinet in the kitchen. She often did this on sunny days.
"What ya doin'?" I was filled with an eight-year-old's curiousity because I was an eight-year-old.
"Never mind, go away!" she swatted in my general direction, never taking her eyes off the mirror as she looked down her nose at the offending object and then directed her tweezers with the dexterity of a surgeon.
I leaned in closer too and I was amazed and puzzled by what I saw. Then I began to giggle uncontrollably and point at her face. "You've got hair on your chin!"
She was mortified, which made me laugh all the more. Yes, children...OK, let's take more responsibility here, I could be cruel and I was, unrelentingly so. "You've got a beard just like Dad."
"It's not a beard, it's just a few chin hairs," she sounded like an upperclass New Englander as she jutted her chin out to dig at another tiny black stray and yank it free.
I was in convulsions of outright laughter now.
"You'll get them too." She said, still squinting away, casing out her reflection for more stray, offending outgrowths.
Whoa, what did she say? That shut me up real quick, "No way".
"Yes, you will," she stopped what she was doing, turned and looked me in the eye, "you just wait til you get to be my age and the hormones change... " Then she issued her prophecy, "it'll happen to you too."
I stood like a deer in the headlights as the horrific thought sunk in.
Now the tables were turned and she was tormenting me with glee. "Yup, just wait, then I'll be the one laughing," but she didn't wait; she laughed then and there and waived her tweezers in the air as I ran out of the room. "You'll see."
So, here it is a few decades later. I'm washing my face and watching my reflection in the mirror. I rinse off the suds and as I reach for a towel the sun hits my face revealing a rarely glimpsed angle and there it is, the longest, wiryest, thickest, blackest chin hair ever. Now this isn't the first chin hair experience I've ever had (the date on the cartoon attests to that) but IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO MISS. HOW MANY CONVERSATIONS HAVE I HAD WITH PEOPLE AND ALL THEY'VE TAKEN IN IS THIS HIDEOUS THING WAVING IN THE WIND? WHY DIDN'T SOMEBODY TELL ME!
In a nursing home, not far away, a little old lady is laughing.