A wayward wig, rescued from the arts supplies closet at my son’s school, snuck up on me on cleaning day. When I saw it, my instinct was to grab a broom and whack it senseless.
“Keep it away from me!” I shouted.
My son smiled as if he had done something incredibly resourceful and valiant. Now, entire orca pods would finally be saved from unexpected, unwanted, and intrusive contact with hair enhancements.
“See? It’s rainbow colored!” he said.
He knew that would shut me up because I absolutely love rainbows: rainbow cakes, ice cream, socks, shirts, notebooks, pens, drinks, stickers, and actual rainbows. However, the rainbow colors, on this wig, were somewhat faded—perhaps because it had been heavily used—for what purpose I didn’t know. I can’t imagine how much hard core use a wig could get during a typical high school art class, but I guess a grading rubric might look something like this:
Use of line: 5 points
Color: 5 points
Overall Design: 5 points
Hard Core Wig Use: 85 points
“Look! I’m putting it on my head!” my son said.
I now feared for the safety of his scalp. Mine was already itching in sympathy. Quickly, I pulled up health information on my phone and read it aloud: “Wig wearing can lead to headaches, dandruff, hair loss, and allergies.”
“Indoor cats could lead to all of those problems too,” he said.
“But you don’t wear them on your head,” I replied.
“Tell that to the cat.”
He had a point there. Our cat, for some reason, likes to rub himself all over our heads. So, I had to come up with a new tactic: I could dare to wear it in public and embarrass him.
However, my son is pretty smart, so here’s how that would go:
“Go ahead,” he would say, while opening the front door.
“Okay—I will,” I’d say. And then I’d count to three, but my son would just stare me down until I put that filthy thing on my head.
Then, the panic would set in, and I’d have questions: What if the wig became permanently stuck to my head, and I found a bathing suit that fit just right, but I had to wear it with the wig? What if I went to the county fair and children cried out, “Mom! I want cotton candy—for my head—just like that woman there!”
Perhaps, later on, I would catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror and actually like what I saw. Maybe the frumpy, shiny polysynthetic curls, pressed into the shape of roadkill in pastels, would be just what I needed for the “little black dress” that’s hanging in my closet. It would add that unexpected pop of color without the annoyance or extravagance of jewelry. Yes, this art closet supplies reject would be just the thing to complement my own closet of rejects, which include a flapper costume, a prom dress with spaghetti stains on it, and a Hawaiian shirt.
While I was lost in my thoughts, the wig disappeared. Perhaps it was trying to find someone else’s backpack to crawl into—or a grilled cheese sandwich to mate with. I don’t know. However, I later found it in my son’s bedroom, tossed into the middle of the carpet—and a miracle appeared to have taken place. It seemed to have spawned something else—a gift that had also come from the arts supplies closet: ugly Christmas sweaters, two of them. I decided that maybe they could be a mother/son duo. I couldn’t wait to slap that wig on my head, pair it with one of those sweaters and finally be the resourceful, responsible mother my son is teaching me to be.
Cecilia Kennedy once taught Spanish and English courses in Ohio. She now lives in Washington state, and writes horror stories. Her blog (Fixin’ Leaks and Leeks: https://fixinleaksnleeksdiy.blog/) chronicles her humorous (and perhaps scary?) attempts at cooking and home repair. She is also the adult beverage columnist for The Daily Drunk.