I have become the purveyor of Styptic pencils in the locker room at my health center. This past year I dispensed personal ‘pencils’ to three different gentlemen who apparently have not mastered the art of shaving and sliced themselves on the lip, neck and earlobe.
As an experienced blade shaver, I understand a nick on the neck, but a laceration of the lip and excision of the ear, or portion thereof, befuddles me. It’s awkward, if not impossible, to have a conversation with a man whose blood is squirting down his cheek, cascading off his chin and splattering onto the floor like ink leaking from a cheap fountain pen. If not for the grey hair and loose skin that is a curse of us ‘senior citizens’, the bleeding gave each man the look of a pugilist who stepped out of the ring with the great Carmen Basilio*.
However, quick action saved the day, when I offered my Styptic pencil and stopped the carnage. For the uninitiated, the Styptic is a pencil thin chalk-like instrument packed with astringents that “contract tissue to seal blood vessels”(Wickepedia). A short stinging dab on the cut and the bleeding stops quickly. Every blade user should have one in his kit, or medicine cabinet.
Understand, the Styptic pencil is not ‘loaned’ to the bleeder. On the contrary, it’s a giveaway with the proper response, “no, keep it” when he offers to return it. Then, buy a replacement to make sure you keep supplied, as I did.
Styptic pencils are not expensive and last a long time, unless, of course, one spends his workout session during the peak ‘senior hours’ when shaky hands and diminishing eyesight contribute to cuts and nicks that call for a Styptic pencil, as they’ve called for mine, 3 times.
My ‘heroics’ wasn’t life saving but it still was first-aid. And, over time, my embellishment might just make it seem so.
Everyone who shaves with a blade must have a ‘cut story’. What’s yours?
*Carmen Basilio was a boxer who won both the welterweight and middleweight crown in the 1950s. He was well known for being a tough fighter who would wear down his opponent as the fight progressed into late rounds. Carmen certainly was accustomed to getting cut or bruised on his face and his ‘cut man’ would stop the bleeding between rounds. I wonder if he had a big Styptic pencil among the tools of his trade.