And yet, there must have been some tutorials. He just could not recall them. Like one of those thick science tomes whose actual worded contents remain vague, but whose lessons are used in reference constantly-acids, bases, photosynthesis, carbonization. There, of course, remained the possibility that Allister was simply born with the ability to shave. Like Einstein, no teacher was needed. Einstein, you will recall, was a poor student of math. Likewise, Allister was poor student in terms of hygiene-until the fateful day that he picked up a razor and met his muse. Carving paths through hair, like a modern-day (now past-day) Daniel Boone chopping away roughage, leaving the skin smooth and bare for the building of factories and housing developments. So long, Allister had lulled in a la-di-da world of personal hygiene. But, with the razor, he just knew how to make it glide like a condor-a condor with bladed wings, barely above the ground, whisking away reeds and weeds, clearing the way for other birds.
Yes, that was how he felt he may have been-a modern-day (now past-day) Daniel Boone condor. And his skin seemed to agree. No bumps. No red rash. His skin respected the artistry, the perfection of each stroke, as if nothing was cut at all-no, no, no such violence. But, instead, the hair was lifted away-dandelion fluff carried away by the breeze. A born genius. His place of relevance, in front of a washroom mirror.
And one day, in looking around the washroom-his studio where his art was made (on the outer edge of the sink, in the medicines cabinet), Allister was aware that this recent (now past) realization of perfection was botched. For, he was surrounded by objects and tools whose mentoring he, too, had long ago forgotten. Combs, toothbrushes, soaps, clippers, scissors, shampoos. Whom did he have to thank and why could he not remember those fateful days? The first time he removed tartar from an incisor, the first time he freed strands of hair from snarls. He imagined that most of these lessons came from his parents. But, where was the memory? Faded behind the knowledge? Allister must have been so proud to do it on his own, to finally grip the handle and shave.
Were they all slight memories of nature? The passing of the razor from wise father to the ready hand of his maturing son? Was it a rebellious moment? One of the moments in the, "No, I can do it on my own Dad," vein? Where Allister grabbed the razor from his father's hand and shaved his face in defiance? His father realizing his son had grown, would leave soon, would shave on his own now so someday he, too, could have a family, children he would show how to shave and brush, and who would leave him and find their way.
And Allister did not know. He knew he could shave. He knew that he had learned how. But, he could not recall the story behind it. Time had transcribed the memory in such a way the words of the story were lost in the action of doing. And, try as he might to get those words back, he could not. So, every morning he shaved. He shaved so perfectly. Just like he had always remembered doing.