My hair-dresser, a gay Australian, wants to know what I think of after a day's work. I tell him that I think of thinking. Then he asks: "of the Danes?" "Why would I do that?", I ask in return? "Because they are so strange," he says.

This statement comes from the mouth of someone who speaks perfect Danish, no accent, and who has been living here the past 12 years. I ask him if he wants me to generalize. He says, "no, I want the special story." So I tell him the special story, that I love all the Danes I know, because not only are they the most decent people I've encountered on the planet, but also because their intelligence is quite astonishing. I also tell him that I also love some Danes that I don't really know, but whom I am certain that I know that I know. At this moment, I experience a deja-vù. I'm sure that I feel like Donald Rumsfeld - he also had a famous 'knowing' moment, when he once declared that there are known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns. "Well, yes," my hair-dresser continues. "Everybody knows this" - that we know people that we don't know. "This is logik for perlehøns," he furthermore says. Right I think.

Then he wants to know, "now what?" I tell him that I want to go home, have a nice Pinot Noir and listen to Kathleen Ferrier. "Why Ferrier?", he asks. "Because it sounds like hair," I tell him. "Like hair and fair, and Guy Davenport's short story "Boys Smell like Oranges" from his collection The Cardiff Team, where he merges sensuality with bookishness in order to achieve a kind of intellectual eroticism that makes Kafka feel good in his pants." If it's not logik for perlehøns, then it's certainly, some knowledge that affords us the possibility to unknow the ones that we don't know we know, so that we can just say that we know them, no matter what. That knowing in itself creats enough mental scenarios to keep us entertained. My hair-dresser goes: "that's right." I have to admit that, once at home, such knowledge made me feel good in my hair.


Anonymous said…
I am sure you don't know that you unwittingly know the following very tangled and entangling poem by John Ashbery. Now, I may be mistaken!? But, as you know, Ashbery also once wrote: "We see you in your hair". So, here goes:

"The Grapevine"

Of who we and all they are
You all now know. But you know
After they began to find us out we grew
Before they died thinking us the causes

Of their acts. Now we'll not know
The truth of some still at the piano, though
They often date from us, causing
These changes we think we are. We don't care

Though, so tall up there
In young air. But things get darker as we move
To ask them: Whom must we get to know
To die, so you live and we know?
Anonymous said…
unknowing the known seems to be what we human rehears on a constant basis. sometimes to learn to unknow the current known could be a recipe for getting out of misery, while other times we must try to remember what we have unknown and to reactivate the known so that it all becomes present again...
Bent said…
One of the things I know that I know is that hair shouldn't get too tangled (up in philosophy, poetry, or blue)...

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