He said, yeah the hack is that right when you wake up in the morning you stand up, lift your fists in the air and pump and shake them vigorously as you say YEAH YEAH OH YEAH!!!

Huh, I said.

Yeah it’s 100% guarantee of a good mood, he said, looking back down to the phone in his hands. 

Woah makes sense I said, cracking a smile. 

The boyfriend was sitting on the floor, petting the dog. The girlfriend was in the chair I’m now sitting in, legs crossed. I had sectioned off a one-inch square of hair on the lower left side of the girl’s scalp. And crotchet hook in hand, I was transforming her fine silky threads into a knotted single dreadlock. Because of the hair’s fineness, and because I only use a crotchet (no wax or pre-perm, or other product), it took a few minutes. Like 40. The boyfriend and girlfriend were on their phones, messaging back and forth. To each other, and to friends they planned to day drink with later in the afternoon. 

I was miffed and slightly sour because the appointment was at 3 and these two lovebirds waltz over and tap tap the door at 3:30. At 3:10 I went in the kitchen and ranted to Kate about how I’m refusing service to these fuckers. At 3:20 I repeated my threat and added more vulgar words. At 3:30 I told Kate if they come I’m going to coldly explain that I’d been waiting since 3, because that’s when the appointment was, and that I’m a busy dude, and burning 30 minutes is unnerving to the 9th degree. Like charring the whole turkey on Thanksgiving. I mean I was working during that 30 minutes, but still. I hate the false suspense. 

They came a few minutes after 3:30. The peanut had just woken up from her mid afternoon coma. I had just given up on them, moved onto other things. Like the ham. I unwrapped the 10Ib butt, placed it fat side up on a deep baking tray, tin foil sealed the sucker and slid it into the 350 degree cook box. And then the tap tap tap on the door. My hands thoroughly slimed with uncooked ham grease. I rolled my eyes. Looked at Kate and shook my head. Said I’m going to talk to these kids. Another expletive. I rinsed my hands in the sink. Not scrubbed, like I maybe would have if I was floating in a good temperament. Just rinsed. The thought that ham hands equals ham hair occupied an eighth of a second. So I rinsed, dried and met them at the door, smiling. 

I wondered if tattoo artists get subtle retribution on annoying or tardy clients? Shade in a metaphorical middle finger? Or if cooks get vengeance by introducing bodily fluids onto the plate? Snot in the mayo. Spit in the sauce. Seems like human nature. 

I opened the door and smiled and they came in and I said nothing about them being late. Nothing at all. Not a peep. I showed them to my office, explained I only had an hour and a half before I had to be somewhere else, and we mutually decided that the girl would get her single dreadlock today and the guy would wait for his dreadlock maintenance until next week. I didn’t say anything about their tardiness. Not a peep. Why, because ultimately I wanted their money, and I didn’t want to jeopardize future business, and in order to ensure both, I wanted them to have a “good experience,” without the dread loctician shaming them about being late. And since I don’t have dreadlock clients banging down the door, I take what I can get. Only stupidity would scare off the only business in town. 

So I sat the girl in the chair. The guy took the floor. I pressed play on the last few minutes of Joe Rogan’s podcast with Ben Greenfield, and I slipped into the smooth thoughtless ether space of total rote movement concentration. 

Actually the whole point of me sharing this story was something the guy said mid-way through the dread session. Him and his girlfriend were talking (and texting) about how he got up early this morning and was making a ruckus in the house, with their other male roommate. They were chest pumping and howling and jumping around at 2am. The boyfriend looked up at me, and explained his rationale. 

He asked me if I’d heard of this website called Stumbled Upon. 

I have not, I said. 

He said okay well it’s like a website and app that features stuff from random sites. 

I nodded because I was also trying to listen to the last few morsels of Joe Rogan and Ben. 

He said yeah so I was scrolling and found this psychology article, talking about a mood hack. 

I paid attention because I’m interested in mood hacks because I’m a very, what’s the word, non-emotive but still emotional kind of person. 

He said yeah the hack is that right when you wake up in the morning you stand up, lift your fists in the air, and pump and shake them vigorously as you say YEAH YEAH OH YEAH!! 

Really I said.

Yeah it’s 100% guarantee of a good mood. 

Woah makes sense I said, cracking a smile. 

Shortly after, I finished the dreadlock. Told her to wrap it with string asap, and palm roll it after showering. I scheduled the boyfriend’s two hour session for the next week. I told him I’d send a reminder text the day before. In that text, I’ll say please be punctual because I have another engagement. What more can you do? They left smiling. I went into the kitchen to check on the ham. Kate and the baby were in the backyard, the sun glinting off their foreheads. 

>>>YO HEY: want to keep the real talk rolling? take a hot minute and become a monthly alt dad supporter. sign up in less than 30 seconds at patreon.com/altdaddiary. even one dollar a month is a super helpful contribution. i promise you'll feel so good afterward. i'll certainly feel good. which means i bet you'll feel good. alrighty bye. ps. cutting a ham neatly—into thin, straight slices— is incredibly difficult. but really, why do we need neat edges on our ham? weird civilized fetish… anyway. namaste.