How to Die

My brother, Mark, died with grace and aplomb. His deaths were always flawless. Whether he was shot by Indians, stabbed by a pirate, or murdered by the Mob, he always died with such finesse.

Of course, we all took turns dying. The barn was the perfect place for it. There were stacked bales of hay with a pile of loose hay just below to cushion your fall. One by one we would climb to the top bale, clutch the wound where the bullet entered, and pitch headlong into the hay below. Yet Mark always made it seem so realistic.

One time he seemed not to notice he had been shot. He put his hand to his chest as if he had an itch. Then he pulled it away, staring with surprise at the warm, red blood on his hand. His eyes glazed over, and he fell face first and spread-eagle into the hay. Another time, the impact of the bullet knocked him into a half-turn. His arms went up as if he expected to by picked up by a gentle deity. Then he fell backward into the hay like a rag doll. Once dead, he also would linger longer in his final pose; it lent a greater air of verisimilitude to his death to see him lying there unmoving, not even breathing, for what seemed much too long for play.

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The Truth about Hair Care

Shampoo is hair-washing detergent. Its main mission is to clean your hair, removing dirt and the natural oils that accumulate in unwashed hair. Since the main job is to clean your hair, not add body or volume or shine or bounce or manageability, your shampoo should not leave anything behind in your hair. When you rinse it out, your hair should be clean. If you don’t know what clean feels like, try washing your hair with dish-washing liquid. It may be a little harsh, but it will give you the experience of what clean hair feels like. Once you know that feeling, buy the cheapest shampoo you can find that gives you that feeling. Don’t use shampoos that include conditioner. The job of leaving something behind in your hair is at odds with the job of cleaning your hair. It will do neither job well. Don’t do it.

After washing your hair, if you like it when it is dry, you are done. Style it however you like and go about your day.

If your hair becomes frizzy or limp or flat or dull or anything you don’t like, you can add product to it to make it more likable. Don’t use rinse-out conditioner. Why would you add something to your hair to obtain a particular effect and then rinse out 90% of it? Use leave-in conditioner. Use whatever conditioner you like. It doesn’t have to be the same brand as your shampoo. If you just want to be able to get a comb through it, try a little olive oil. If you don’t want to smell like a Mediterranean deli, try something with a smell you like. Keep in mind that whatever you put in your hair has to come out the next time you wash it. If you use product that binds to your hair, such as products that “repair” split ends, you will have a harder time washing them out.

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Forsaken by God

Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. -Psalm 9:10

God never forsakes those who trust him. So it is tempting to conclude when we feel forsaken that we have insufficient faith or we haven’t sought him enough. But Jesus himself felt forsaken: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It was not because he lacked faith or did not seek his Father’s will enough. Nor was it because his Father abandoned him. It was because the trial he faced, he had to face without feeling his Father’s presence. Sometimes God asks us to face trials where we cannot sense his presence. We feel abandoned. We feel forsaken. He asks us to keep on trusting him despite how we feel. He will not upbraid us if we cry out, “Why have you forsaken me?” If Jesus could ask this question without sin, we can do the same.

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