The Smart Ones

By Jim Hagarty

If I could be just half as smart
As the smartest guy in town,
Would I then be known as half as dumb
As the dumbest guy around?

Or would it be the dumbest guy
Would be half as smart as me?
And the smartest guy would then become
Twice as smart as the big dummy.

But if the smartest guy in town
Lost a thousand big brain cells,
Would I still be half as smart as him?
I’m not smart enough to tell.

And some day if I happen to
Outlive the town’s smartest guy,
But then fall sick with the same disease
And sadly, tragically die …

Would the dumbest guy in town become
The smartest guy just by chance?
Though no one is dumber than the big dumb ox,
Guess he would be the Town Smarty Pants.

All Buzzed Out

By Jim Hagarty
2002

Here is a question Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud and Sherlock Holmes, I am certain, couldn’t answer if they worked together on it for a solid year without a break.

Why does a man with a fine, full head of thick, bushy, flowy, curly, cascady, wavy, shiny hair walk into his barber shop one day and ask for a buzz cut? Is it not equivalent to the owner of the lushest lawn in town calling in a man with a cultivator to rip it all up and leave his yard a mess of stones, stubble and sorry-looking sod?

Of course, the latter scenario would never happen whereas the former one is taking place in every town, village and city across the land many tragic times a day.

What is it with these guys? Has the weight of all those lovely locks been pressing down on some vital part of their brains all these years, leaving them unable to make a wise decision any more? Because denuding a scalp that is still capable of pushing out such full-bodied fur is an affront to the owners of heads which have long ago lost that ability. A naturally bald man, seeing a fully haired friend voluntarily shave his head, couldn’t be more shocked if he were a homeless wretch watching the richest tycoon in town burn his own palace to the ground.

It simply isn’t right and something should be done about it.

Many bald-headed men, who arrived at that state through no act of their own free will but by the uncompassionate hand of a mean and merciless Fate, spend many years of their adult lives trying to reverse the judgment of Nature. They squeeze their craniums into ill-fitting wigs, submit themselves to painful surgical procedures, douse their heads with chemicals of dubious origin and effectiveness, and pop wonder pills with unknown side effects to try to look like they did in their long-ago youth when a brush and a comb were not redundant hardware that sat on top of their dresser gathering dust along with their cuff links and tie clips.

As the years pass and they come to terms with the futility of trying to recreate what God has chosen to uncreate, they enter a new stage where the object is not to turn back the tide of time but to conceal its effects from the curious masses. This period might also be known as The Hat Years, when every description of hat, cap, toque and even helmet are sought out and put to use in the never-ending quest to avoid detection. Some glorious day, when he’s rounded third base and is heading for home, it just won’t matter any more and the bald man will begin to finally brandish his bare noggin with no trace of whimper or excuse.

Before that sunny day arrives, however, he is left with the job of learning to accept the fact that his visits to the hair salon have now become little more than courtesy calls, made to renew old friendships, and that his hairdresser performs more like a patomime artist than a coiffure as she goes through the motions of styling a head which has nothing left to style. She brings out clippers, scissors, combs, and brushes but often stands there in a trance, as though she can’t remember why she is holding them. It has been years since she finally gave up the charade of using a hair dryer to finish the job. Using such a device on a man with no hair would be like sending a pair of roller skates through a car wash.

It may be that some would say the bald man should be flattered to see fully haired friends shaving their heads voluntarily, that it somehow means that, far from feeling pity for their hair-challenged associates, these guys have been looking at them with envy all this time. People who believe this are the kind of folk who gobble up such prince-wants-to-be-pauper notions like kids laying waste to a box of sugar-coated breakfast cereal.

It may even be, others will opine, that men with hair who purposely have it all removed are simply trying to get in on that “bald is sexy” wisdom that has been sweeping the nation like an urban legend. If this has been the motivation of the buzz cutters, let it clearly be said that they will soon discover how erroneous has been this idea. In this man’s experience, crossing the line from hairness to bald-as-a-baby’s-buttness has not, on one single occasion, produced a long line-up of love-starved women waiting impatiently outside his bedroom entrance to have their every animal need satisfied by the hairless wonder reclining sexily on the other side of the door.

And the sudden strange turn this story has taken leads the writer to an even more disturbing question. What, in the name of Samson and Delilah, is society to do with the woman who shaves her head bald?

Close to tears, now, the author of this piece must stop to prevent a complete breakdown. He has barely the emotional strength left to issue this paraphrased plea:

What God has thought to treasure, let no man strive to plunder.

Abe Has Left the Building

This is a view from inside a courtroom where Abraham Lincoln once practised as a young lawyer. It was moved to Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, a fantastic day awaiting you if you haven’t yet been there. The photo here is part of the wonderful collection of my son, Chris. JH

An Oh Bee’s Dilemma

By Jim Hagarty
Renowned Terrible Limericker

There’s a bee in our backyard
That’s obese, a real tub of lard.
He can just barely fly.
Other bees pass him by.
“I’d lay off the honey, but it’s hard.”

In the Fair Lane

Fairlane side with letters

By Jim Hagarty
When you bought a 1967 Ford Fairlane convertible, you got a lot of car for your money. This model was at a car show in my hometown tonight. A bit dark out for iPhone photos but you get the picture, pun intended.

My Unbearable Musings

By Jim Hagarty

Those of you who are regular readers of Lifetime Sentences, and it seems there are about a hundred of you a day now, will know that I was out of commission for the past few days, the first time I have not posted anything on my blog since I started it in April.

As I explained in a note on Saturday, my family and I were on vacation deep in the woods of Northern Canada, and I had no WIFI access. Then how did I post the note explaining that, you wonder. Well I drove a half hour into town on Saturday morning and used my phone to relay the message. After that, it was back to the lakeside camp to await my doom.

We had been invited to the camp, as we are every year, by a community of bears who range the properties in the vicinity looking for humans to munch on. So far, they have not been successful on snacking on any of us but I am sure it is only a matter of time. Last year they brought along a garage-sized bullmoose with them to help with the job and this year, for fun, at least one wolf whose tracks were spotted.

One of our camping neighbours.
One of our camping neighbours.

So there we sit, like flies that have landed on a swatter, waiting to be smacked to smithereens. Now and then, the bears play peekaboo with us, just to keep us interested.

It is said that what we fear, we attract. None of the other ten or twelve humans who camp there with us is worried about these bears. Only me. Which, in some weird cosmic way, make me attractive to them. Only a few people in the world know exactly how they are going to die. I have no doubt about my end. When it comes, I will be staring into the oversized, dog-like face of some kind of bear. Which kind won’t matter. It will have been sent by the gods and the gods will be pleased.