birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Chin

Every day I lather up my face with soap, and I shave my entire face like a man, especially my chin.

After the soap or shaving cream, I put on lotion and sunblock and shave once more for good measure.

Then I apply base, concealer, and powder - not much but enough to conceal and pray for the best.

If I have to teach a night class I do it all over again at 4:00 p.m.

I have tried it all - plucking, Nair (uggggg), electrolysis, but to no avail. The razor is quick and I buy the best blades.

I have not tried laser but I've thought about it.

It's just so embarrassing.

My chin is an embarrassment as it's the worst.

Southern women are stunned that I've never had my eyebrows threaded.

What does that even mean?

Threaded eyebrows?

I remember my grandfather used to sit at the kitchen table reading the newspaper and shaving with an electric razor in his dental blues.

I remember my mother's lip of Nair and plucking.

I remember everyone said Cousin Rita was plucking until she walked down the aisle and wound up having eight kids.

But my greatest fear is that I will get into an accident and fall into a coma for weeks and awake the bearded lady - not that I will be paralyzed or brain-damaged, but bearded.

How vain and stupid is that?

But I have a pact with my beloved husband, who could care less about such grossness, that he will do what needs doing.

But he lives far away as we have jobs in different states.

We can't retire anytime soon.

So I drive very carefully and look both ways when walking.

No comas for me thank you very much.

One daughter is hairy, and the other daughter thinks she is hairy.

They both tell me, "Thanks a lot, Mama."

I keep the razor blades stocked.

I think about poor cousin Rita plucking.

I think about my grandmother keeping three pairs of tweezers on the windowsill in Leavenworth next to the mirror because the outside light was better.

I think of shaving my arms in sixth grade and my mother freaking out.

I think of my chin and make a wish that one night all the follicles will say, "We've tortured you enough. Good-bye."

Lack of Integrity

A Cup