While melamine foam, the substance which is behind all the ‘magic’ in a magic eraser, has been around for a long, long time, it wasn’t until 2003 that we were able to buy the special foam with micro-cells, at the grocery store, for at-home use.
I love melamine foam. It has allowed me to wipe walls instead of paint them, clean coffee stains from inside white ceramic mugs instead of frowning at them, and remove Sharpie from our wooden kitchen table instead of being arrested for assault and battery on a child under seven. This product is truly magical.
This morning, as I lightly scrubbed out my favorite mug, I thought about how very useful–and profitable–a magic eraser could be were it to have the magical power to obliterate things other than stains: Eg. the bad permanent I got in 1984, all those times I said to myself as a teenager, “My parents won’t mind,” and the foolishness I have displayed in believing that all people are motivated by the greater good.
Were I to have a post-bad-experience “magic eraser,” I could smooth over so many of those things that just didn’t go the way I had predicted, expected, or hoped. Unlike some people who might want to go “back in time” and just skip the bad perm, the ill-informed juvenile thinking, and the myopic trust improperly placed in others, I liked those events–to a degree. I liked them in that they were learning experiences and that, ostensibly, I learned from them. (Truth be told, I made many mistakes as a teenager and as an adult, however, I only got one epic-fail “spiral perm.”)
I’d want to keep the memory filed under the category “Really Foolish Blunders That Comprise the Whole of Myself.”
For it had occurred to me lately, that without all those past mistakes, I wouldn’t be able to put my characters into ugly situations not of their (complete) choosing. And while I have yet to write about a 13-year-old girl who suffers from post-salon scalp burns, I have a constant thread that weaves through each story of someone trusting someone else to the point of self-sacrifice.
It’s ugly–almost as ugly as a bad perm. The ironic piece is that there is real permanence to the betrayal, while hair can be cut and it always grows back.