The Wedding: A Parable.

Recently I attended the wedding of one of Max’s oldest friends, who was also a member of his band.   It was a joy to see this wonderful young man celebrating his love for his adoring bride, his obvious soulmate.

The wedding was also an opportunity for me to see old friends, and to see some of Max’s school pals who were now grown ups.   There were babies and toddlers everywhere and I got to hold a placid baby girl wearing a pink tutu.

We couldn’t help but notice a family with three or four young children, all completely bald.   I assumed that one of the kids had lost his hair from chemotherapy and the others had shaven their heads in solidarity. You hear about this practice more and more, and I respect the  sacrifice  and devotion involved.

After several funny speeches, the bride and groom danced to a recording of a silly song about bees or something.   It looked like a dance you learn in preschool, with funny hand-motions. It was adorable. During their dance, one of the bald kids joined in, weaving between them and spinning around happily in her own world.

It was such a poignant bittersweet image: The glowing couple embarking on a new life together, the little child with cancer, whose fate was uncertain.

When I was drunk enough, I danced with my husband, who wouldn’t let me lead. Then I danced with some women who just wanted to shake it up regardless of the too-fast beat and our painful high heels. When we finally said goodbye to the groom, we learned that the bald kids had  head-lice, not cancer.

Ha! See how things change depending on your perspective? It’s a good reminder that all experience is filtered through interpretation.   From now on, I hope I can remember that a tragic worldview could be a lapse of judgement or a  tendency  to see cancer instead of  head-lice. I can’t think of a proverb to  illustrate  this insight.

Anyone up to it? It has to include the word  head-lice.

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30 Responses to “The Wedding: A Parable.”

  1. Dexter VanDango Says:

    ..uh.. to save on anti-lice shampoo the parents chose to shave their kids’ heads???

    Perhaps the parents ought to know they’ve inaugurated a wave of unnecessary pit?

  2. Dexter VanDango Says:

    ..pity..

  3. annemarie Says:

    Tragedy makes good poetry. Comedy makes good lessons.

  4. Jones Says:

    Love this, of course. As far as worldview goes, I want to add that when I first saw the bald family, my first thought was that the Manson accolytes all shaved their heads after Charlie shaved his. Less poignant.

  5. Liz Says:

    shaving all of your kids’ heads for hair lice is…extreme. seriously bizarrely extreme. I’m not sure anyone would have thought head lice in this situation, but I like the idea of looking at things with a different perspective, I tend to view situations the same way as you, and it would just be better to give like the benefit of doubt i guess.

  6. Lux Says:

    shaving is done in order to free hair from lice eggs
    unless one wants to take the risk to pour extra strong poison
    on fragile scalps to kill said eggs

  7. Sister Wolf Says:

    Lux – That’s too long for a proverb. Can you be more concise?

    annemarie – I love this. But but I wanted the word ‘head-lice!’

    Jones – You have a Manson-driven worldview, I should have known.

  8. candy Says:

    Don’t think you have head lice if your scalp itch.

  9. candy Says:

    I think they could use vinegar and water, that kills lice and eggs. Since they are small, they can get away with a shaving, because adults are still meaner than kids. Adults are supposed to have reason (distinguish good from bad).

  10. Andra Says:

    Well, my first thought was head lice.
    You see how your thoughts are much darker than mine?
    Head lice goes around and around in schools and kids and then siblings and then parents, etc.
    It is extremely hard to eradicate unless drastic measures are taken by an entire school class.
    I think your husband was mean not to let you lead. I’ll let you lead when we dance.
    Just be happy it’s not Hendra virus. We have that here at the moment. That’s pretty scary.
    Love

  11. Alicia Says:

    You know, I thought they were Krishnas when I saw the picture…

    Perspective, indeed!

  12. Felicia Says:

    Your story was funny, because when I was around 5 years old, my brother and I had alopecia and lost all our hair. While I lost maybe half of my hair, he lost all of it, and suddenly people were much nicer to us because they just assumed the worst. I won’t lie, if it happened again today, I’d take advantage of it. Teach them a lesson.

  13. annemarie Says:

    i was plagued with head lice as a child. my hair was like a jungle for the little fuckers. i remember once bending my head over a book in school and three of them fell out of my head and crawled across the page. i spent a lot of my childhood sitting in the garage wrapped in newspaper with the smelly anti-nit lotion in my hair.

    funnily enough, i recently bought a face cream by Philosophy and it took me right back. Whatever is in that shit is the exact same chemical in the delouser.

    as soon as i had gotten rid of them, i would catch them again. then my mother began to worry that i was generating them myself. FOR REAL. given that she would also chase me around the house telling me that Satan was inside me, the thought that i was a lice-breeding machine was rather worrying for me.

    Here’s my new proverb, with the word “head-lice”:

    in case of head-lice, ’tis better to destroy the habitat and receive much pity, than be considered a leprous vessel of contagion.

  14. mimi Says:

    thinking of head lice makes my head itch even if i dont have head lice.
    now im scared i have head lice. damn children and their scalps!

  15. Kellie Says:

    Compared to cancer, head lice is nice!!!

    its the best I can do.

    But I would have thought the same as you.
    Cancer.
    seems to be the case more and more, younger and younger.

  16. Vy Says:

    these “proverbs” are separate and should be considered seperately.
    maybe i’ll triple space between them to make that clearer.
    proverbs need space to declare their profundity.
    how profundiferous i am!

    if one thinks only cancer shall suffice,
    don’t forget it may simply be head-lice.

    cancer does not beget one’s shaved head only,
    for head-lice can make scalps lonely.

  17. Vy Says:

    better (small change):

    cancer does not beget one’s shaved head only,
    for head-lice too can make scalps lonely.

  18. jlynn Says:

    A child with shaved head (seen through jaded eyes)
    appears to have cancer, but might have head-lice

  19. EJ Says:

    Sometimes assume it’s headlice. It might make you itch, but it won’t make you cry.

    (Hopeless, I know. I did think to myself “or it could be headlice” when I first read your assumption. Or, of course, they might just have wanted their heads shaved. It’s just hair!)

  20. ames Says:

    This is the wisest thing I’ve read all day:*

    From now on, I hope I can remember that a tragic worldview could be a lapse of judgement or a tendency to see cancer instead of head-lice.

    *I read a lot of fashion websites.

  21. Jaimi Says:

    I would assume cancer, as well. Or Hare Krishnas. Heh. I feel fortunate that I never picked up those afflictions as a child, nor did I catch the dreaded head lice.

    Cancer would be my default assumption, too. I don’t have any wisdom there, Sis, but the actual outcome is beautifully alright in a way I can’t phrase in a parable. Nothing particularly horrible has befallen me, but I can’t shake those negative vibes so I’m just going to embrace ‘em.

    I don’t comment all too often & I hope she sees this, but annemarie’s comments often make me smile!

    Unrelated: I was perusing HelloGiggles earlier, born of some masochistic impulse, but dear gawd do I wish Bitter Intellectuals existed!

  22. Sister Wolf Says:

    annemarie – God, your mom could even give my mom a few lessons in being crazy! Max got headlice plenty of times when he was a kid, because he went to a swanky private school. None of the parents shaved any heads. At some point, I paid Max one penny for each nit I could find. This got him to sit patiently for as long as it took.

    mimi – Me too! I’m very suggestible. My whole scalp becomes alive when I hear the words head-lice.

    jaimi – Annemarie is a genius. I’m glad you love her too.

    Andra – what the fuck is Hendra virus? It sounds like a Greek myth and I don’t want it!

  23. brunehilda Says:

    man, I had head lice when I was a kid and I sincerely think a head shave (along with burning everything I’d ever touched) would have been 10x easier than the repeated shampooings and nitpicking

  24. annemarie Says:

    Jaimi (and my beloved Sister Wolf): Thank you so much for those kind comments! In Real Life I struggle with the fact of being visible (a shy alien), so this was so very lovely and unexpected and very greatly appreciated!!

  25. Tricia Says:

    I thought head lice immediately, as my sister, mother to 3 young boys, told me recently that if Hazel gets lice, just shave the head. She also says money paid to nitpickers is the best $85/head she ever spent.

  26. Kimberley Says:

    I would have thought cancer, too.
    My (now 21-year old) daughter had head lice as a wee school kid- I used tea tree oil amd a shower cap to get rid of them. Then I used a few drops every morning on her dear head as a repellent- worked very well.
    I must admit a sick pleasure at picking the nits out.

  27. Andra Says:

    Sister
    Hendra virus is something that bats carry. They roost in trees and their droppings can fall into water and the water is drunk by horses and the horses contaminate humans and the humans (and the horses) can die.
    There is a lot of it going on in Australia at the moment.
    Very worrying.
    We have millions of flying foxes (bats) and they are protected as they are essential to pollenation of rainforest plants apparently.
    Actually we have TOO many bats and they should be culled a lot and soon.
    Horses and people are dying.

  28. Sista Coyote Says:

    Not uncommon in my neck of the woods. Every summer a bale of kids goes bald due to head lice. *shrug*

  29. Hammie Says:

    I had to comb my younger sisters long blonde hair when she got nits as a kid. She had made friends with some pikey kids who were never treated and caught them. My mum was too pissweak to take care of it so I stepped in. I remember other pikey kids (Gingers!) who always had crew cuts because of head lice now – it was a class thing! posh people had to comb through. Xx

  30. sketch42 Says:

    I love this. Love the idea of flipping the switch on your perspective. Perfect.

    Haven’t been here in a while, miss you and your blog.

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