Prognostications to ponder

Published 12:00 pm Friday, July 8, 2016

Predicting the future nowadays is almost unnecessary. After all, things happen before the seers can see what’s coming. But an impulse to play prognosticator sometimes must be humored.

For a trial subject, we might consider personal matters, even things that apply to who we are: females and males, boys and girls, men and women. Take a brief stroll down memory lane.

Who predicted that punching holes in human skin and pinning pieces of metal in them would become popular. Wonder what happens when the dude decides to quit doing body adornment? Does he get a doctor to patch the hole? Might be sort of difficult with the half-inch earlobe holes one spots these days. Some of us may be old enough to remember seeing the pictures of National Geographic with people have rings in their noses. Sort of made you quickly check to see if your shnoz was OK.

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Then along came dermal decoration, i.e., tattoos. Out of the shadows of gangland and honky tonks and truck stops came the artists with their injections devices and cups of ink. And, Voila! Walking billboards, sporting everything from R.I.P. for a departed loved one to the Lord’s Prayer in Spanish. Of course, folks change their minds (or partners!) and the old tat doesn’t cut it. So back to the needle guy for a do over, only erasing tats often doesn’t leave the skin as it was before it took on color. And, sadly, there is aging, which tends to make the tat from a wild fling look pretty wilted.

Was it predictable that the fad of shaving men’s heads would crop up? Predication: it is likely that the other sex will find it attractive to be bald, just as they have found dyeing their hair purple or green or orange to be pretty.

The razor makers must have had real concern when so many beards began to grow.

Not to worry, Gillette! Now many men have pseudo-beards, which are carefully trimmed and resemble a cultivated five-day shadow from non-shaving.

Is it fair to suggest that more and more the push to equalize the genders has caught fire? The old (can one call it the natural?) order of things is helter skelter. First, we have couples of the same sex. They get married. One TV commercial presents two men and a little boy. One man says, “I’m your father.” The other says the same thing.

Poor kid.

Now comes the move to de-genderize public facilities. And there is that university up in

Tennessee that’s trying to replace gender-specific pronouns. Would it be against all odds to bet that we’re not far from a woman making the case that being required by law to cover her breasts is gender discrimination? Boy, won’t the courts have fun with that one!

TJ Ray, a retired professor of English at Ole Miss, can be reached at