06/28/2012 12:30 pm ET Updated Aug 28, 2012

My Pompadour

Dear Waldo,

What makes you think you're such a big shot telling everybody this and that like you're some great big know-it-all even though you got no special training or credentials or anything like that which would make you more believeable? Also, do you have t-shirts with Waldo Mellon on them or anything like that? Or hats?

Pissed Off But Would Like A Hat,


Dear Cammy,

Thank-you for your note. You are absolutely right. I do have no special credentials, no special training that might make me a good candidate for helping people to work their way out of everyday jams. And I know that everyone has his or her own ideas about how to behave, and that right after hollering fire, the best way to clear a crowded room is to yell 'Anybody wanna hear my philosophy on life?'

And so why am I doing this?

To answer this, let me tell you about something that happened yesterday. I was standing in a line at the bank, and the cordoned maze forced my line to turn sharply. And so I found myself facing, less than a foot away, an elderly woman -- she must've been eighty -- and we exchanged brief oh-boy-stuck-in-line-again smiles.

The line was moving very slowly, and so I spent a good three minutes in the unnatural circumstance of being face to face with an old person I was not talking to. In this configuration I was able to look at her -- I mean really look at her -- and I could see now that her eyebrows were really just pencilled-on drawings of eyebrows, and that the flush of her cheeks was really crimson powder caught in the pores, and that the line of her lipstick bled like tiny insect legs into the creases around her mouth.

Someone sneezed, and my attention turned to the security guard blowing his nose, a nice looking gentleman, maybe sixty-five, with a magnificent silver-grey pompadour that rose like a surfer's wave a good three inches above the beach of his forehead. He folded his handkerchief just so and tucked it back into the breast pocket of his security-guard blazer, flaring the exposed edge before looking up.

Cammy, when it comes right down to it, we are all just animals that want to be noticed. We want to stand out in some way. We want to look as good as we possibly can. And so, in answer to your question, I would have to say that these words you are reading are my drawn-on eyebrows, my pompadour, my bleeding red lips, my way of hoping to be special.

Your Fan,

Waldo Mellon

p.s. As far as hats and t-shirts go, I'm sorry to say I have no plans in this area. If this changes, you will be the first to know.