Did Bob Dylan Die?


"What?" I said to Sven.
I was standing on the counter wiping a shelf in the cupboard in the duplex we lived in before we were married. The one with the olive-green vinyl flooring.
Sven had just walked in the kitchen door.
"Did Bob Dylan die?" he repeated and set his dusty lunch bucket on the table.
"Oh my God," I thought, "What does Bob Dylan have to do with my hair? I knew I shouldn't have done it."
You see, when God was handing out my genes, he thought, "Hmmm. Make her hair gray right away. It will keep her humble and give her something to bitch about."

"Millie, do you frost your hair?" my co-worker across the table asked as I took a bite of my salad in the air-conditioned cafeteria.
I sat up straight, uncrossed my steel toed boots, set them firmly on the floor and swallowed.
"No," I answered.
"So that's natural?"
"Look," I said. "If I were going to pay for something to be done to my hair, it sure as hell would not be to put gray in it."
"How old are you?" she says.
I was a twenty-six-year-old woman, dating a baby-faced Norwegian who was eight years older than me and at certain times of the year, nine years older than me, and I looked like I was the one who robbed the cradle.
No matter my political views, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Barbara Bush.
Because life ain't always fair.
And we shared the same pain.
But unlike Barbara, Millie Noe decided to do something about it. She decided to defy mother nature, right there in that quiet duplex, while the kids were at school and while Sven was hard at work nailing two by fours together.
I had the day off.
And for just $8.99 I had picked up a box at the drug store that said, Medium Brown.
That sounded nice.
I wasn't looking for dazzle.
I wasn't trying to be flashy.
I just wanted to be a regular twenty-six-year-old brunette.
I put on gloves as I read the directions.
Reading directions is against my religion.
I got that from my dad.
There were always parts left over on anything he put together.
"Must not really need them," he would say.
I despise directions.
But when you are planning to defy mother nature and mess around with God's intentions, you should absolutely read the directions.
Well, they were complicated.
First of all, they said that I was supposed to do a test area.
How much time did these people think I had?
That was definitely out.
I squirted a tube of something into a bottle of something else, put my finger over the tip with the hole I'd made and shook it for two full minutes.
Two full minutes is a long time.
But I did it as I stared at my eyes in the mirror.
They were huge and they seemed to be hinting that this might not be such a good idea.
I ignored my brown-know-it-all-eyes.
And soon my head was covered with the stuff.
I paced around the house for forty-five minutes, picking up dirty socks and putting away clean clothes with a pile of wet velvety shit on top of my head.
And then the buzzer rang, and it was time for the big rinse.
"Boy that looks dark." I thought as I patted my head dry with the towel.
"Wow that looks really, really dark," I thought as I stopped by the mirror an hour later.
"Son of a bitch, it is black," I thought as I spotted a glimpse of my hair out of the corner of my eye standing up there on top of that counter.
I said to Sven. "Bob Dylan is dead?"
"They're playing his music nonstop on 89.9 and they aren't saying a word. I have a really bad feeling."
"And why is your hair black?" he says.
It turned out that it was Bob Dylan's birthday.
He was forty-two.
And he was just fine.

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