It’s voting season.
The other day I was talking to someone from my past. Not my way, way, way past, but my recent past. We reminisced about the past we shared together, and then we laughed about the pasts each of us had on our own.
It came up because my mom had sent me a copy of an old article from my junior high newspaper, the Churchill Chimes. The front page had a column on the school’s latest election (no mail-in ballots) and featured a picture of five cheerleaders, one of whom was me.
It was a strange time, back when the phrase “strange time” meant something different than it does now.
“Hey, these shoes are made of jelly,” I said.
“What? Jelly shoes!” my friend Marcie said.
“Strange times indeed,” I commented, having no idea that the year 2020 would ever be this bad.
It was a time when President Ronald Reagan had implored Mr. Gorbachev to “tear down that wall.” We were still excited about space shuttle launches. The largest war was the war on drugs.
But the biggest story of the year was something much closer to home. In fact, it was inside our home. In fact, it was very near me.
In fact, it was… the dead animal that had appeared on my head. Oh wait, that wasn’t a dead animal.
Those were bangs.
Not fringe. Not wispies. These were not some, “Oh, look how cute those short, reasonable hairs on the forehead are.”
No. This was 1989 — the crime scene apocalypse era of bangs. The kind that attracted lightning because they were the tallest thing around. The kind that provided shelter to squirrels and raccoons and other vermin. The kind that with a turn of the head became a self-defense mechanism.
Hey you! Creepy guy in the darkened parking lot! You want some of this? Just get within 5 feet of me and wait for me to Cock. My. Head.
We call that the bang circumference.
I know, “Bang Circumference” is not that clever. Maybe I should have gone with the “Bang Gang.” The “Cement Foment.” The “Open-the-fridge-without-using-your-hands-band.” I strutted through my kitchen, knowing that no matter how fast I walked, there wasn’t one hair on my head that would dare to move.
Wind didn’t exist.
I never left the house until I could lift one hair and have the entire bank of bangs follow suit.
“Bank of Bangs.” Lifetime’s most popular soap opera.
My friend from my recent past made a shooing motion with his hand. At least, I pictured him doing that. (We were texting.)
He talked about how my bangs were nothing. Check out his ′70s over-the-top belt buckle and his own Mary Travers bangs, which were cut at such a stark angle they could chop down a tree. They could slice apples. Richard Nixon resigned to the sharp cut of this young boy’s bangs.
My mom said, that’s nothing. When she was in college, her bangs were so feathered that she could have flown. They responded to duck calls on their own.
And when she was younger, the FBI found the treasonous Rosenbergs committing espionage under the cover of her friend Marcia’s bangs.
Amelia Earhart might be missing, but did you know she hosted a nightly show from inside my Grandma Yaya’s bangs?
*the above statement cannot be verified*
Yesterday I got my own mail-in ballot, and as I’m looking at my history, and my mom’s history, and my grandma’s history, I can’t help but think: It’s all about the bangs.
So, whatever your political leanings, whatever your decision-making processes, whatever dead animal rests upon your head, vote your conscience.
Or, at the very least, vote your bangs.
Brodi Ashton is a New York Times best-selling author who lives in the Salt Lake City area. She’s also an occasional columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune.