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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution


 
The Essay
Show #114
The Earwig and Other Hairpieces
David Gunn
In the old days -- that is, at such a time in the foreseeable past when a black hole referred to the infamous Calcuttan hotel room where scores of 18th century British curry dippers met unpleasantly premature suffocation, and not to a caramel-colored badger- shaped celestial body whose surface gravity is so strong that nothing can escape from within it except certain lime gelatin desserts with measurable intelligence for learning parcheesi -- hats were worn to protect cranial extremities from sudden meteor showers as much as they were to provide sufficient noggin shade to foster a friendly environment in which head lice might flourish, which is obviously a time long before such misunderstood nuisances became so unpopular with the general but unenlightened public. It was at this time that the Huxley Hairpiece Factory in Polaroid Falls, Michigan began to widen its marketing base by manufacturing faux whiskers for various other portions of a potential customer's anatomy. Huxley's peel-off mustache, dubbed the snoot peruke, was a favorite among women from Cleveland who were at the vanguard of the movement to refute the Chickahominy theory of time and space. Equally popular among men working on the Erie Canal was the earwig. Much of the territory through which the canal was designed to snake was the intrinsic habitat of naturally-occurring low-level nuclear waste storage facilities. No matter its benign intent, the radioactivity that constantly percolated from these places caused great tufts of fur to fall out of the workers' ears. Huxley's small, wiry shock of follicles restored what nature had taken away, simultaneously making a dashing fashion statement in a land otherwise devoid of such pleasantries. But the company's most popular hairpiece was also arguably also its most specialized. Designed exclusively for the floral print padded covers which kept home ceiling fans free of dust during the long, dark winter months without electricity -- which in itself limited the sales arena to Michigan's upper peninsula -- Huxley's cozy fan toupee inspired a plagiarizing young Austrian composer to pen a comic opera of almost but not quite the same name, basing the piece's numerous musical jokes not on scalp doilies, but rather on crustacean equilibrium and food fights. While not on a par with the great food fight scenes in Bellini's "quot;Norma,"quot; those in the aforementioned but unnamed southwestern European's opera -- subtitled Le flambeau oriange -- are wacky enough to excuse his unacknowledged theft of Huxley's manufacturing genius.

What, you may ask -- as have many before you as well as another here in this studio today -- does this have to do with the 113th episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar?, this portion of which interrupts the previous portion to pose that very question, but in pluperfect time, allowing the answer to precede any disputational discussion of the query's antecedent. The answer, my friends, is blowing in the windy city of Chicago, a burg as unlike Cleveland as is cheap psychiatric care. That is to say, the answer is in the radioactive constructs of the Erie Canal; it's in the psychedelic black light and burdock incense which radiate from the foyer of the Calcutta Hotel a week before its demolition; it's in those indestructibly creepy pear halves that remain when all of the lime gelatin has melted away; and it's in the upper peninsula voice -- note the glottal indulgence in his diphthongs -- of he who, according to legend, drove the earwigs into Ireland, Kalvos.




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