Monday, May 1, 2006

Coming To Terms With My Stepfather, via Edge Pro Gel (Normal Skin)

I've been planning to write about this for some time. I knew the can was going to run out, but I kept putting it off. Well, today's the day. No more Edge Gel! I've had all this time to come up with a long, delayed internet eulogy and I wasted it.

On May 20th, 2003, my Mother died. I flew up to Montana to pack things up and get her affairs in order. Her husband, Bert, had passed away a year or two before. In the process of cleaning out her stuff, I also ended up cleaning his stuff out.

In his medicine cabinet was the usual stuff (nothing embarrassing, luckily). Since I'd forgotten my shaving stuff, I snagged his stuff for the return trip, including one can of Edge Pro Gel (Normal Skin). I used it once or twice, then stuck it in the back of my medicine cabinet. Something like four years later, it finally runs out. It's not a magic can: I've had a beard/van Dyke for all this time...

A few months ago, I became clean shaven and started shaving daily; really using up that can fast. A few weeks back, I realize that the can's time was running short. I've been a little sad since then. I don't know what to do. I've even contemplated burying the can, which was my inspiration for this riveting piece of crap (archeologist of the future) .

Anyhow, this morning, the can spurted it's last squirt. One last full shave, at least.

I cleaned up the can, put on the lid, and set it on my dresser. I'm still not sure what's going to happen, but since I don't really have much to connect me to my Mom's late husband, it seems wrong to toss it in the trash.

I was never close to Bert. He was a strange one, Bert. He was a writer of do-it-yourself columns, a "humourist," a former small business owner (paint store), father of several kids who I don't really know, and a former military man. He was also a physical wreck, both from a variety of injuries and from smoking. Apparently, he also had "normal skin," as can be seen by the variety of shaving gel that he used.

I didn't really get his sense of humour, but my Mom did (or claimed to), so that's fine by me. He made her happy until the day he died and she talked about him a lot after he was gone. If my Mom was going to live far, far away from me, at least she was with a man that made her happy. He treated her well, too. A son can't ask for much more for his Mom.

They met the old fashioned way. By answering an ad in the singles column in a newspaper. I thought it was weird, but it worked for them. It was a long time that they wrote back and forth before ever meeting each other in person. Phone calls were expensive, there was no email, or internet to speak of, so they relied on the United States Post Office to be the go between for them.

Are the odds more with you if you fall in love via words and pictures rather than going to movies and dinner all the time? Likely so.

There's something to be said for physical attraction. Seeing and touching your girlfriend is certainly important and desirable. Very desirable! Extremely...

But, how much does a man get distracted by sex and overlook the fact that he has nothing in common with his girlfriend? Quite often, I'd guess.

Not sure exactly where I'm going with this. I've been blessed by the internet to have met someone, yet cursed by the distance involved.

I thought my Mom was a whack job for falling for some guy through the mail. I wish now that I'd at least talked to her about her experience. Not just to get her take on the subject but so he would have had a chance to share.

I thought my Stepfather was a whack job for the same reason (plus some...). I'm sure he knew I thought that, as he made jokes about it all the time. He seemed proud of his whack-job-ness. I suppose that's good.

I wish I'd talked to him about it, too. I might have learned more about my Mom.

After Bert died, I learned that he called me his son, when referring to me with his friends. I thought that was kinda nice, at the time. His own, natural children didn't appreciate him, I'm afraid, so I was happy to have made him a little happier.

So, it's strange how aspects of your life come back to you in strange and different ways. Ways that you wouldn't expect. Now that I have my own long distance, pen-pal style, singles-ad-esq relationship, I've come to appreciate parts of my parents that I hadn't just overlooked, but actually shook my head at. Shame on me.

So, that's why I can't just throw the can of Edge Pro Gel (Normal Skin) away. But, what can I do with it? I've got no pictures to speak of. None of his things. Just this can.

Any suggestions?

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