My Father Had Wind-Tourettes!

Brylcreem-new-n-old There was one thing that amazed everyone who knew my father. He had an absolute, unwavering, debilitating hatred of wind. He despised the wind, hated it in all its forms, from wintry bluster to tropical breeze. He was gust-phobic. Why? Because it messed up his hair. My father was obsessed with his hair, and for reasons no one could ever figure out, it occupied a lot of his thinking. One of my earliest memories of my father was observing him in front of the bathroom mirror as he performed what I’ve come to call his “morning hair ritual.” This involved a generous application of some 1960’s Brylcreem-type product. Once applied, a painstaking and meticulous process of sculpting the perfect style began. Oily? Yes. Obedient? Yes. Pretty picture? Hardly. But as a child, I was fascinated by his routine, and my attention never drifted. Though unspoken, I knew his hair had to be just right before either of us could start our day. The roots of our father-daughter connection began in the admiration of his perfectly coiffed, unnaturally dyed, overly lubricated, wind-detesting hair. Over time, as his hair thinned, my father’s relationship to the wind became even more turbulent. His wind bigotry became more apparent. He stopped trying to cover up his quick movements from car to building and building to car. He openly abhorred sun roofs and convertibles. He voted for politicians who were pro-climate control. He actively hunted for wind-free retirement communities. He cursed at anyone who would be so foolish as to touch his head. Eventually, in his latter years, the slightest breeze caused my father to spew venom at the sky. At times it seemed as if he had some sort of wind-Tourettes. “Damn it!” he’d shout at no one in particular. “I hate this damned wind!” (Of course, he also had traffic-Tourettes and overcooked steak-Tourettes, but those didn’t draw as much attention.) I never blamed him for his outbursts at the wind. I knew he couldn’t help it, and I secretly chuckled at his silliness. Maybe it was the result of premature greying as a teenager. Maybe he didn’t have the greatest self-esteem. Whatever the cause, it was that wind-phobic, hair-obsessed personality of his that lives on in my memory as one of his most endearing traits. I best go now. It’s starting to feel a little drafty in here.

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