March 2003 (v5 i5)
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The return of the chili bowl
A call to arms against the non-wedged masses
by Todd Nienkerk, Managing Editor

It's about time that the American public realized something: the mullet's out. It's overdone, past its prime, and just plain stupid. Relegated to the annals of pop-culture, it passed away last year and joined Flock of Seagulls and Jehri Curl up in the great salon in the sky.

We shouldn't mourn the mullet. It outlasted its competition by a decade, providing contemporary humor literati with a seemingly bottomless well—a well that has finally run dry. What kind of permanence would you expect, after all, from a product of Appalachian inbreeding and pro-wrestling? These things come and go, and the mullet has definitely gone. It's dead. It's not funny anymore.

But this presents us with a dilemma. What will fill the cultural niche left void by the ape drape's departure? What haircut can possibly match the absurdity, functionality, and distinction of the SFLB? The answer is, of course, the chili bowl.

Also known as the "wedge," the "butt cut," or simply the "bowl," it is a haircut as old as time itself, reaching back eons upon eons to the very dawn of human history. Jesus Himself spoke of the chili bowl, touching upon it during conversations with his disciples. I quote now from Luke: "Yea, verily, place upon your head a mixing bowl, whether it be of the finest porcelain urn or the humblest earthen clay, and, with knife in hand, trim your mane around its circumference, taking care to square it 'round the ears. Remove the bowl and part your hair down the middle, yea, verily, like Moses parted the Red Sea. Then, my children, go play soccer."

Lost for centuries, the chili bowl re-emerged during the Enlightenment. Historians credit Jacques Descartes François Jean Luc Truffaut, a French philosopher, with its popularity during that time. In his seminal work "On the Butt Cut," Jean Luc Truffaut defends the superiority of the wedge in a fictionalized dialogue between himself and a young pupil. By the end of the dialogue, the young pupil takes his own in frustration as he realizes that all he had known was false—that the chili bowl was indeed the Divine Coiffure.

Little is known of the bowl's whereabouts up to the 1980s, where it made a triumphant return to prime-time television on 21 Jump Street and Saved by the Bell. Religious figures hailed these programs as the electronic incarnation of the word of God. Unfortunately, this golden age was short-lived.

In truth, the bowl never died. Its temporary revival in the 1980s and 90s was simply a prelude to its ultimate return—the tremor preceding the 'Big One,' if you will. As is customary with events of such geological magnitude, the bowl went dormant for a decade, quietly slumbering in southern California and low-budget pornography.

That which lies dormant, however, must ultimately erupt, and it is time for the wedge to reclaim its well-earned crown. Thusly, I have taken it upon myself to breathe new life into the butt cut. With a trusty set of clippers, I transformed myself from a lackluster 'fade' to a wedge wrought of the pure gold, shaving three lines of victory into my sideburns to elicit gasps of awe from passersby.

I beseech you: join me on my mission to revive the bowl! Under my tutelage, my armies of Tylers, Hunters, and Dakotas, will rule the globe like soccer gods, banishing the Dreadlocks to the Realm of Soap! Donning Copa Mundials and Umbros, my forces will be invincible—their eyes shielded from the hot sun by carefully parted bangs, their tanned bodies kept cool by the mild breeze blowing against their shaved necks!

We will traverse land and ocean, spreading like victorious rays of light evaporating the fog. No land will be safe, no people left unconquered. And when our journey is ended and the last battle is won, we shall rise up from the smoke and muck, throw our fists to the air, and shout our victory cry: "Rad!"
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