RAZOR’S EDGE

That is what literature offers – a language powerful enough to say how it is. It is not a hiding place. It is a finding place.

 – Jeanette Winterson

The other morning, I nonchalantly walked out of the bathroom and into the kitchen with three or four little shreds of reddening toilet paper stuck to strategic places of interest on my face and neck.

Being ever the King of Cool (yeah, right – ha!), I knew (even then) my stroll was nothing more than a pathetic effort to minimize the obvious. Yes, friends, I had put in a new razor blade that morning.

This may not mean much to some who indulge in a spending spree of a new blade every week, but I’m not them. 

I am, however, the proud poster child for F-R-U-G-A-L. My other half smiles in his coffee and mutters something that sounds suspiciously like ‘cheap‘. To paraphrase Rodney Dangerfield, ‘I resemble that remark’. But in my defense, have you seen the price of the razor blades lately? Let’s get real. I paid for them. Consequently, I am within my rights to insist on getting all and every use from them before I begrudgingly slot in a new blade.

Old blades are friendly. Their growing dullness allows me to move through the morning task of smoothing my face quickly, and with dispatch. I know the feel of the handle. I know where the bumps are. I can skillfully move, without bloodshed, through the chore as if I were a downhill slalom skier on his way to a gold medal!

But what goes up, must come down. The downside of my hill comes as the blades lose their surgical edge with each successive use. As they fade with each new dawn, the more I find myself having to go back over the same patch of epidermis again and again – and from several directions. But like I said, ‘Have you seen the price of replacement blades?’.

Inevitably, there comes a point when even I, am forced to begrudgingly acknowledge to myself that yes, maybe it’s time. Filled with denial, I’ll even catch myself trying to tie the new-blade-event to the first of the month or a birthday. But slowly, I come to grips with the reality that there is simply no more function left in those once proud glimmering ribbons of steel. Time for a new blade.

Turning on a dime and filled with excitement at the prospect of my impending extravagance, in it goes! A new blade! It’s going to be a great day. How lucky am I, eh? This must be what it feels like to be a Vanderbilt!

Seizing my familiar and trusty handle, I move like I always have and no matter how my logical side may try to warn me, you guessed it…

Ouch.

‘OK, OK, slow down there hot shot…new blade…go slowly. But I don’t want to go slow…I’ve got places to be, people to see. I am a busy man’.

Ouch.

Having my coffee now in hand, I walk to the living room to catch the morning news while letting coagulation do its thing. Watching the traffic and weather updates, it occurred to me the other morning that my little bits of reddened tissue were an odd evidence of Occam’s Razor.

Put most simply, Occam’s Razor goes something like this; ‘All things being equal, the simplest explanation is better than a complicated one’.

So many times, I’ve over-thought or otherwise analyzed the obvious. I seem to have a real gift for over-complicating that which is plain as the nose of my bleeding face. ‘It can’t be that simple…’

Turns out, there are those who’ve gone before me that agree. Travel back with me in the Way Back Machine for just a moment:

In his struggle with matters of science, religion and faith, Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804) came to a point where he adapted the concept of Occam’s Razor by developing his own version…an anti-razor, if you will.

The essence of his idea was, “The variety of beings should not rashly be diminished.”  In fact, his work forms one of the fundamental tenets of what we now call the scientific method. In the face of Life and the natural world, Herr Kant asserted some things needed to be challenged beyond their face value.

I’m glad Kant refused to blindly drink the Kool-Aid of his Age simply because an answer, any answer, was allegedly self-evident. Not surprisingly, the powers-that-be of his time were not thrilled when Kant asserted it was not heresy to question. He reasoned that if there was a god up there, wouldn’t such a god want us to question ‘why?’. Wouldn’t the god-head who imbued us with our innate curiosity want us to flex it?

Whether he knew it or not, Columbus had already made Kant’s point by not falling off the edge. Ironically it was apples that did fall, that gave Newton the wild-eyed idea we now call gravity. Earlier still, Copernicus and Galileo did their part in studying the heavens and the movement in the night sky. Both Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo were doing autopsies long after the ancient Egyptians. Think about that the next time you watch CSI:Miami. You get the idea…the wonder of this world grew more magnificent, the deeper these guys dug into the ‘why’ of what simply is.

Lately, there’s been an open question bouncing around the blogosphere, “Why do you blog?”. The question has been nagging me until I ran across one of my scrawled notes on a stray piece of paper tucked in my ‘Blog Ideas’ folder I keep in the third drawer down, left-hand side, of my desk.

122811 1:16PM

If anyone should have been born straight, it should’ve been me.

I should not have found love, but I did.

I should be dead, several times over, but I’m not.

I should have caved in to the demands of my birth family, but I didn’t.

I should have led an empty and pathetic little life, but I haven’t.

I should have a son. I did, but I don’t and wished (for the both of us) that others would have stayed out of it and it were different. But for now, it is not.

I have a granddaughter, but I’ve never held her.

My family should love me, but they don’t. So I forged a new one that does.

My life would have been different had I followed someone else’s easy path prescription, but I didn’t.

This blog is the story of how I lost it all, and found so much more.

There are as many blogs as there are snowflakes. Each with its own unique and varied purpose. But I agree with what I’ve seen several wise minds write, blogs are all about sparking dialogue…sharing that which is common to us all in order for each of us, to meet the uniquely personal challenges that come with drawing a breath and waking up with the chance to do better this day…wiser for having lived through yesterday.

Blogs help me adopt new habits, new ways of looking at old-blade problems that have grown so familiar they’ve become comfortable and safe. In reading your blogs, I am better able to realize my old habits and patterns have dulled over time to the point where the simple things take a lot more time and effort than I think they were ever imagined by the Cosmos to require.

I’ve grown. I’ve learned to redefine that which was cast in the past. I continue to learn new applications for what I discover in looking at myself from new perspectives.

And like new blades, improved habits and better, more accurate ways of seeing yourself can hurt at first. They can take some getting used to – both for you and those around you. Remember, all they’ve seen is you using your old dull blades. Seeing some bloody tissue stuck to your face is going to tell them something is new. Go slow with them and be gentle with yourself because some of what you’re learning about yourself is going to hurt.

And just like it did for me, the bleeding does stop in time for you to go to work. One note of advice gained from my own experience…Remember to look in the rearview mirror before you get out of the car…

I write. I learn. I love. Therefore, I am – and so are you.

I don’t think blogs are for hiding the lost. I think they are all about uncovering the way to the found. I’m grateful to get to read what you write. I am glad each of you is on the Planet.

Blog on…and pass the toilet paper.

Photo Credits and Attributions: Nicked Shaving: http://masshysteriasports.blogspot.com/2009/06/great-beards-in-history-billy-mays.html; Vintage Gillette Ad: http://gillettemach3razor.org/so-you-want-a-clean-close-bloodless-shave-eh.html; Chrome w/blades: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Double-Track-Chrome-Tear-Drop-Safety-Razor-w-Blades-/380337677938; Chin Shaving Image Source: http://www.cliniqueformen.co.uk/magazine/page/feature/perfectshave.tmpl

Occam’s Razor: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam’s_razor; Portrait of Immanuel Kant (April 22, 1724 – Feb. 12, 1804): http://www.yourbest100.com/2011/07/top-100-western-philosophers/; LightBulb1: Image courtesy of Jacci Howard Bear http://desktoppub.about.com/; light bulb lit among dark ones: http://doughoneyman.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/tony-dunne-is-on-a-mission/; Vintage Soldier Shaving: http://artofmanliness.com/2008/01/04/how-to-shave-like-your-grandpa/; Light Bulb Sailing Sunset: Check out

http://www.inkity.com/catalog/img/4/9083/1.jpg; Simple Rainbow: Travel Photography by Dmitrii Lezine – http://sillymonkeyphoto.com/2012/03/23/simple-rainbow/– Ode to Danny text by Dan4Kent;

Curious about Jeanette Winterson? Read more at:

http://www.jeanettewinterson.com/pages/content/index.asp?PageID=207

Her latest book, “Why be happy when you can be normal” is filled with insight you can’t buy…Ms. Winterson has earned every word.

And in closing, a personal word to the Community:

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About dan4kent

Born and raised in the Midwest, Dan lives in the Chicagoland area. With a grown son from a previous marriage, he has since built a committed relationship of 32 years with his partner Rick, the Love of his Life. Having written his whole life, he blogs because he has to write…he can’t help it. Know the feeling? There’s ‘good‘ to be found in all of it. “If all I do is leave someone (or something) better than I found them, then I’ve done my part. Thanks for letting me grace your screen, if only for a little while.”
This entry was posted in Gay, Hope, Humor, LGBT, Life, Life Lessons, Love and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to RAZOR’S EDGE

  1. yearstricken says:

    I’m sorry to hear about Danny. I hope each heart finds comfort.

    I like how you tied in your razors and Kant to your blogging. Nicely done.

  2. ntexas99 says:

    One … my thoughts are with you both as you attend the services, and with his family

    Two, I was able to accept / hear / acknowledge the new blade metaphor, and appreciate the effort. Surely you recognize the irony of bringing up the subject of razor blades? Thank goodness your frugality didn’t extend to your words today, because I’m pretty sure I needed to hear all of them.

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