OP-EDS

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June 2, 2006

Leila takes on the biggest issue in her world

After two and a half years as a columnist, I give you this, my final “Apathy In Action!” for the Maroon. Though this column has dealt, in its time, with many pressing world issues, including neither the war in Iraq nor global warming, I have always shied away from the one topic that is most important.

Because I’m graduating, I will finally discuss this issue with you—only not quite yet, because I have to build suspense first. Trust me, this is big.

Before I reveal this deeply consequential topic, let’s take a walk down memory lane and review some of the useful lessons this column has explicated over the past few years. This is my legacy to you, the University of Chicago. Heed it well.

If you have an impressive Internet persona, it doesn’t actually matter what you’re like in real life. If your Internet persona is particularly notable, you should probably never leave the house because meeting you “IRL” would serve only to disillusion people.

Twin, thin, win! This is a novel theory which my friend Allison and I invented. The idea, basically, is that if you are a twin, and if you are also very thin, then you will win at life. Proof of this theory comes from Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. Should you need further, more mathematical proof, please refer to Tia and Tamera Mowry. Q.E.D.

Please note: This theory is open fodder for B.A. theses. It’s yours if you want it.

If you are hot and famous, people will want to sleep with you. By “people,” I specifically mean “me.”

The best way to deal with any crisis is to go to sleep. Life is filled with trauma. But at the end of the day, if your apartment is a cockroach-infested hellhole, if you are suffering a nervous breakdown because you’re unable to make a minor purchasing decision, if you haven’t done your Sosc reading since last quarter and, truth be told, can’t even really pronounce “Nietzsche”—well, then, wouldn’t you rather be asleep? Every problem looks more manageable when you’re facing it after a long night of sleep, or, alternatively, when you’re not facing it at all because you are still sleeping.

You can believe anything you read on the Internet. The same can be said for the Red Eye, and for anything you see in an E! True Hollywood Story.

Clearly, these are all important topics which I think about often. But the time I have given to all of these ideas, combined, still sums to a paltry fraction of the time I spend thinking about the most essential idea of all, namely, my hair.

No matter what else I’m doing—studying, dancing, building a fortress of pillows around my cat so that she cannot escape and then laughing at her—at least 18 percent of my attention is always devoted to my hair. Whenever I make casual conversation, I am really, deep down, thinking about my hair. In order to make something good happen, like finding enough quarters to do my laundry, the first thing I’ll do is fix my hair. On the flip side, when bad things happen to me, I always, at least a little bit, blame my hair.

The reason why I fixate on my hair is that it is not curly and it is not straight. It is exactly in between. Given much love and attention, my hair can behave straight, and given love and attention of a very different sort, it can also behave curly. But left to its own devices, my hair will frizz and wave—not those gentle waves like you see on television personalities, but the unpredictable, serpentine waves of a 1980s perm gone grotesquely awry.

To avoid this in-between mess, I have to plan days, even weeks ahead. “Right,” I say. “I want to wear my hair curly on graduation, so that means that today I must also wear my hair curly, using ‘corrective styling mousse’ and a ‘diffuser,’ and while showering I must shampoo the roots but not the ends, and then when I towel dry I must LIFT but not RUB my hair.”

(That doesn’t even work, by the way. That’s all just stuff I do to make myself feel better about my hair’s constant failure to live up to its potential.)

Despite all evidence to the contrary, I am convinced that my hair would be thoughtful and obedient had it only a) the right hair product, and b) the right hair dresser. As such, I am a notoriously unreliable customer, flitting from shampoo to shampoo whenever I have a bad hair day and some magazine advertisement promises a product to make it all better.

Nearly everyone with curly hair goes around wishing that her hair were straight, whereas most straight-haired people moon over ringlets. All these people are idiots. It doesn’t matter what your hair does, kids, so long as it CHOOSES ONE APPROACH and STICKS TO IT. At this moment, for example, I have one strand of hair in a perfect ringlet, atop another strand of hair which is perfectly straight. How did this happen? Did I LIFT one strand, yet RUB the other? I am seriously considering chopping off both with a hacksaw.

That is definitely the image I want to leave you with as I finish my last column.

Finally, before I go, I want to thank the Viewpoints editors of the past few years: George Anesi, Andrew Hammond, and Alec Brandon. Thanks, guys, for your constant encouragement, for placating me when I ranted about insignificant grammatical rules, and for quietly, without making any fuss about it, changing most of my sentences from caps lock to normal font (Editors note: For the first time ever we are allowing Leila to run in the original, uncut, form. ENJOY).