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“An Ode to Bobby Pins” by Matt C.
Roses are red.
Thin Mints won’t make you thin.
I just stepped on another bobby pin.
My fixation with bobby pins started when, shortly after getting married, I discovered a tiny, oddly shaped (long on one side, bumpy on the other) metal object seemingly misplaced under a couch cushion like some ancient artifact from a bygone civilization. I had so many questions. What was this trickery? Where did it come from? How did it get there? What purpose did it serve? I questioned life itself.
Still, I was drawn to its magic. I stared at this simple, yet confounding contraption. Little did I know I had just made a discovery that would forever change the course of history. From that day on, and for every day since I have eagerly anticipated the unearthing of yet another stash of bobby pins.
Bobby Pin Fact #1:
Became popular in the 1920s as the hairstyle known as the “bob cut” or “bobbed hair” took hold. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_pin)
Eventually, I made the connection that my wife, Emily, used bobby pins to hold her hair in place, and that she would take them out and leave them scattered about her environment like some sort of trail of breadcrumbs. Only, she wasn’t retracing her steps and searching long and hard for her long-lost bobby pins. They were being left behind like in that Kirk Cameron movie—never to be heard from again.
“Only a monster would do such a thing,” I recalled thinking as more questions came. How could she do this? At what expense was this costing us? Would she show the same blatant disregard for her offspring?
In 2012, we welcomed a son, Landon, and a few years later, brother Levi was born. To my relief, Emily’s maternal instincts were strong. And yet, while she selflessly loves and cares for our kids, she continues to orphan her bobby pins with reckless abandon. I find them carelessly cast off in all manner of locations. On her nightstand (a common area for bobby pins like some sort of sacrificial mound). On the kitchen counter. Rusting at the bottom of the center console cupholder in her car. At my workstation behind heavy security miles from home. Was this some sort of mind game? Was it a puzzle to be solved? I had to know.
Bobby Pin Fact #2:
They appear in pairs. If you come across just one bobby pin, RUN!!! You are about to be ambushed by a second bobby pin.
I lacked the courage to speak up. Would I be springing her trap? Would it be the End Times? I resolved to live out my remaining days in acceptance of this rite of passage. She would forsake her bobby pins. I would lead them to salvation.
Recently, while tidying up in our bathroom I knocked over a mysterious bag full of bobby pins. I had found a treasure trove. I couldn’t risk gazing at this seemingly priceless collection for too long, but I noticed within this bag a thin piece of cardboard, and on it were nearly 60 bobby pins. The Target price tag read $1.99.
The clouds parted. The sun was shining brightly. Huzzah! At least we weren’t going broke.
Follow my journey on Instagram (@bobby_pins_left_behind).
Matt and his wife, Emily, and their two sons, Landon (6) and Levi (4), reside in Bloomington. They have a rat terrier, Chipper. Matt received his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University (’08) and is currently a Marketing Content Specialist for Cook Medical’s Urology division. The second of 11 children (10 boys and 1 girl), Matt loves spending time with extended family, playing outside with the boys, building pillow forts, watching cat videos on YouTube, and working on his golf swing.