Gardner Dozois is one of the nicest guys in the world, and a good and true friend for something like thirty-five years. But he does have his quirks. One of which is that he's convinced that I live in the suburbs. My house is half of a duplex, it has no front yard, and it's deep within the boundaries of Philadelphia. No matter. I don't live in Center City and that means I'm out in the 'burbs. As far as Gardner's concerned, South Philly, the Greater Northeast, Chestnut Hill, Fishtown, the Liberties . . . anything that isn't Center City is the suburbs.
Well, I now have proof that I do so live in the city. The Tang Thai Restaurant just opened up on the corner yesterday, and Marianne and I were among the first to order take-out. It was all excellent and the spring rolls were a revelation -- light and crisp on the outside, delicious on the inside. They made me realize that I'd never had decent spring rolls before this.
And it goes without saying that it would be a very strange suburb indeed that had a Thai restaurant just four or five houses down the block from you.
And today's story . . .
is . . .
Swiss Army Hair
– It’s a wig, it’s a hat, it’s a sun visor! It keeps off rain, it cushions the skull, it deflects dust and dandruff! It’s . . . Swiss Army Hair! Here to tell us about it is Andy Burton.
– Thanks, Jim. As you know, the first Swiss Army Knife was made in 1897 and Konrad Zuse’s Z3, the world’s first electronic fully programmable computer, was created in 1941. Yet it wasn’t until this very year that somebody thought to combine the two innovations with modern grooming technology. It looks natural, too! In fact, I’m wearing one right now.
– I thought that was your real hair.
– I wish, Jim! Now tell me what color my hair is.
– It’s brown, Andy.
– And now?
– Wow! Look at that – it’s bright orange! No, it’s blue! I mean red! It’s cycling through all the colors of the rainbow. I’m guessing that ought to come in handy when you want to change hair color.
– You bet it will. But that’s not all that Swiss Army Hair can do. It’ll serve as a burglar alarm while you sleep. It can get you up in the morning by gently tickling your nose. It can also – here, let me lift up this plate of food – do this.
– It’s actually feeding you! If you didn’t have to hold up the plate for it, that would save you a lot of effort. I’m guessing that those tendrils can also wield gardening tools every bit as deftly as it does knife and fork.
– Yes, although you’ll need itty-bitty shovels and hoes and of course you’ll need to be limber enough to bend close to the earth. So I’m thinking there’s not a great deal of market there. However, with these clip-in hair extensions you can actually add new skill sets to your Swiss Army Hair. This one combines martial arts and commando skills.
– That’s actually kind of scary, Andy. It looks like that thing could do real damage.
– Yes, it knows seventeen different ways to kill a man. Which would turn out to be pretty darn useful if you were attacked by ninjas – a possibility that grows stronger every day that the government delays building that wall along the Canadian border. Now watch what happens when I add a second extension which gives it what we call “leadership initiative.”
– It’s patting me down. Now it’s removing my pocket knife from my trousers pocket. That’s absolutely terrifying, Andy.
– No, that’s synergy. Incidentally, I wouldn’t make any sudden motions if I were you. It sees you glancing toward the studio door. I promise you, you wouldn’t get very far if you tried to make a break for it. It’s best you simply do what it wants you to do.
– What . . . what does it want me to do, Andy?
– It wants you to wear Swiss Army Hair. It wants everybody to.
Above: The Tang Thai from the inside. I'm thinking we'll be eating Thai food once a week far into the foreseeable future.