Poor sister-in-law.  She doesn’t get much press here at SHLOG.COM.  I’ve mentioned just about the whole family tree in some way or another but not Kathy Lineberger , Becky’s youngest sister, the most pitiful twig of the bunch really – the single one who never gets to share her Dr.Pepper and french fries, never wakes up in the middle of the night and breast feeds…anyone…ever, never frets over toilet seat position or wet towels on carpet, never hurries through a visit to the restroom while tiny hands knock and voices ask repeatedly from behind the locked door “Are you going number one or two?”, always listens to the coolest most current music as loudly as she wishes and always goes to the movies…always…sometimes more than once a day.  We hate her…I mean, pity her for this.

Like so many single people, who are usually lying liars, she beams and spunkily answers, “Fantastic!!,” when we ask how things are going.  But we hear the tears pooling behind the curtain of her fained exuberance. Oh sure, sometimes life kicks a nut into her nest, like when she was asked to style me (buy all the clothes with my label’s money, cut my hair, put some gel in it, pull it periodically, say “looks good” a few times, and sit a lot) for my first and third album photo shoots.  But that was but a single solitary shining red#7 Crunch Berry in an otherwise bland drab Peanut Buttery life.

Pathetic.  No matter how much she tries to convince everyone that she’s “doin’ great.” Great indeed.

I ask you, how great can the life of a barber be?  And that’s what she is.  Let’s don’t kid ourselves.  A barber.  “Image Consultant.” “Stylist.” These are just masks she wears upon her pain, rainbow and blue sky fancy-pants linguistic smoke and mirrors, code words for “I’m a miserable BARBER. I cut hair.  It sucks. I want to die sometimes.” Seriously, how full of wonderment and satisfaction can a life spent with magazine cover gracers be?  How uninspiring must a job that is never the same from one day to the next leave someone?  How many late night talk show hosts and movie stars and rock n’ rollers can one really converse with before chunking it all to manage a Sally Beauty Supply?  Really?  It’s only a matter of time.  Jerry Curl and Dippity Do – that’s the future, I fear.  “Fantastic,” she claims.

And I suspect the more miserable she becomes the more she feels she must work in search of any salvation from her ho-hum existence.  And work she does: hair for Vertical Horizon when they appeared on Conan O’Brien, wig styling for The Dukes of Hazard, styling for Robbie Seay’s photo shoot, Faith Ford’s hair for Faith and Hope, hair for All My Children, hair for Priscilla Presley and Christie Brinkley and lots of others.  Hair. Hair. Hair.  Celebrity.  Hair.  Hair. Hair.  Big pay check.

That’s no life.  That’s a death sentence…in Texas…with a brick and no blindfold. 

You know, her job really, now that I ponder it – no, her whole life – yea, might make her the most pathetic and needy person this Christmas season – a time when we’re to reach out – no – reach DOWN to the downtrodden – or maybe it should be OUT to the downtrodden to avoid the redundant use of “down” – anyway, it’s the season when we’re to reach beyond our own stockings full of pleasure and prosperity and offer a leg up, a place to crash, a free meal or two to our sisters-in-law (literally and metaphorically speaking) or anyone else we know who is, again, truly pathetic and dying inside from mediocrity or highlight fumes. And I guess that’s why we – Brian, Amy, Becky and I have decided to open our door to Kathy this year – tomorrow night I hope – then remind her of the bed time routine, kiss the kids goodnight and run away, leaving her alone with a whole house full of the joys she’s so lacking.  Running everywhere.  Eating from HER plate.  Knocking on the door while SHE goes number one or number two. She needs the happiness we figure, the spice, some kool-aid and Cheeto in her otherwise bland lobster bisque and white wine life.

Merry Christmas, Kathy.  What’s ours is yours.  Don’t wait up.

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