Pulled taut, the curved hair shown in the photo above is easily between three-quarters of an inch and one inch long.
It takes about a year and a half to get this length. I know, because I’ve been plucking it from my right upper eye-lid at about that intereval for the last 29 years.
It is not an eyelash. That’s because my right eyelid is not my right eyelid. It’s a reconstruction utilizing a patch of skin harvested from behind my right ear and reattached to the ragged bits that remained after I lost the one with which I was born.
My original eyelid was torn off on the evening of July 6, 1994. It was one of myriad disfigurations and injuries to my face and body that I endured T-boning a white Ford Taurus whose driver failed to check his driverside mirror and pulled from the curb to make a u-turn about forty feet in front of me and my Kawasaki K-1000 motorcycle doing about 40 mph traveling westbound on Burbank Boulevard in Van Nuys. I had no escape route, could barely lock up the brakes and on impact had a death grip on the handlebars as I went over them and torpedoed helmet-first into the driver’s side window and door frame.
The point of impact in front of the apartment building at 13911 Burbank Boulevard was two blocks from where I was living at the time, and where my girlfriend Christine was waiting for me because we were set to go see a late showing of “Forrest Gump,” which had opened nationwide that day. Sudden change of plans.
But this isn’t a revisiting of that horrible night (I’ll spare you that until the big-three-oh anniversary of the life-changing event effs with my head next year). This is about the traumas from it that manifest in a variety of big and small bags I continue to bear psychologically, emotionally and physically, the latter which includes this single fucking wild hair that always regrows from the edge of my rebuilt eyelid — and always into my eye.
My guess is that when the doctor removed the skin from behind my ear, the patch unknowingly included a fully functioning hair follicle. Lucky me.
Some of you might be saying, WTF. It’s a hair. Just pluck it. Ultimately that’s just what I do. But the problem is it’s a stubborn little cus, which is both hard to get hold of and then does not come out gracefully or with any ease. There’s almost an audible ploink! when it does come loose from the follicle. On top of that it’s sooooo much fun to stand in front of a mirror while coming at your eye with the business end of a pair of tweezers.
So I end up waiting and waiting until it gets long enough to more easily grab either with tweezers or with two fingers — and that inevitably takes a number of failed attempts. In the midst of all that the tip of the hair sometimes cooperates in staying out of my eye (usually redirected with a lot of frustrated and irritating rubbing), but most of the time it doesn’t.
Last night it didn’t and was irritating my eye something fierce while I was in the living room trying to watch the Dodgers ultimately come back and beat the Phillies 10-6 on Max Muncy’s walk-off grand slam homerun. I finally got to that point that I get to about every year and a half where I’d had enough and this time just worked my thumb and index finger over the lid like a pair of clumsy pincers until I miraculous pulled and found I had the hair firmly between them. Then I took a deep breath and counted to three and pulled and ploink! I was so pleased that I photographed the bastard.
There’s this wave of relief that always comes with this small victory, but it’s soon replaced by the realization that any celebration is short lived and that the next in these never-ending hairs is already on the way and with it all the aggravation and another trip back to that bloody night in front of 13911 Burbank Boulevard.