Assistant“The eyebrows: that dense and bushy congregation of tiny little hairs which superciliarily surrounds our twin visors, have awakened my curiosity since my early years of this experience we call life.”

So it commences the prologue of the prizewinning book, written by the famous anatomist, odontologist and dustman (but only during bank holidays) from Rotterdam, Joos van Wonderen[1].

His entire life was obsessively marked by this curious anatomical concern. His first published novel was Tussen de Wenkbrauwer (edited in English as Between the Eyebrows).

His most successful book for children, an odonto-infantile-fiction, is called Frons de Clown (published in English as Frown the Clown).

And during the last interview he shared with humanity, which was witnessed and carried out by a reporter from Der Telegraaf just a couple of days before his passing, van Wonderen confessed that his sports hero was the famous Argentine goalkeeper Cejas (Surname which in English means eyebrows).[2]

Each one of his ninety-eight Octobers had been marked by the limitless obsession he felt for his reddish eye foliage.

In his famous Encyclopedie van de Anatomie (today a compulsory inhabitant of any suggested bibliography of all the major medicine schools worldwide), he ponders:

“The eyebrows, or I shall better use its original name villi protruding supra oculos, find their raison d’être in their innate capacity to protect the eye (or eyes if the subject in question enjoys such a plenitude) from the profuse sweating that occurs as a consequence of the higher hairs which populate the superior extremity called head (if the subject in question indeed enjoys such a plenitude).”

Such an assertion stirred up an incredible stupor and rale within the entire scientific community, occurrence that obliged our obsessed Joss to perform certain experiments in partnership with the Max Planck Institute of Germany: studies designed to prove and confirm his ground-breaking intuition, once and for all.

Below, the results of those sweaty experiments:

“It has been certainly noted and proved that the subjects who bear or sport profuse eyebrows share the following characteristics:

  • They compulsively sweat during sleep and wakefulness alike, despite the given ambient temperature
  • They do not use antiperspirant
  • They sweat even if the exterior temperature is below 0° in the Celsius scale
  • They enjoy and eat spaghetti
  • They own pets, and dogs in particular
  • It is observed a presence of a splayfoot, semi-splay or demi-sec
  • They possess a remarkable abundance of hair on the superior head, which is always their own (applied both to the hair and the head)
  • Those subjects who use a wig suffer a 45,798% loss of sweaty liquid fall

“On the contrary, those subjects whose eyebrows represent a lean hairy conjunction, share these characteristics:

  • They have no hair at all on their superior head
  • They present a total lack of sweating emanations
  • They use antiperspirant
  • They shave their eyebrows in order to avoid shame and embarrassment
  • They have an irrepressible tendency to read in French despite the fact that the paragraph in question has not been written in any other language
  • They eat sushi

“It has been fairly determined, by the correct procedure and in respect of the scientific method and intrinsic laws that rule our very lives and thoughts, with an accuracy of 98.864873%, that those subjects who do not enjoy a superciliary ocular hairy protective presence – beings also known as diseyebrowed – suffer and undergo a certain number of problems with the sense of sight.

“Through the same results of our fine and worthy observatory activities we can assume and therefore infer that the cause of these sight problems lies in the descending sweat that falls down from the superior hairy scalped area (head), thus affecting the indefensible ocular realms.

“Running behind this assertion and chasing the studies that have been dutifully performed, I can reveal:

“The anteroposterior, parietal and frontal sweat, of descending movement and saline consistency, when carrying a PH measure that surpasses the 4,6%, is the primordial cause of all types of human ocular disorders, when present in abrowed subjects, or with a certain degree of lack of consistency in such hairy barrier.

“The reason lies within the intrinsic properties of the fall of the salty forehead water; it possesses a highly corrosive power which makes it extremely hurtful for the ocular retina and the organ as a whole. It is precisely for this reason that musicians in general and those who perform erudite-classical music (due to the demand of concentration) are among the most exposed.

“By the above, I dare to rule and predict that:

“All human specimens – be those of masculine or feminine nature – who have no eyebrows, are already blind; or are inevitably heading toward that obscure destiny.”

Finally, it seems that the researcher van Wonderen eventually caught its supposed and chased assertion.

This late scientific report, published by the University of Rottersburg, inspired heated refutations within both the scientific and erudite scopes. Here some examples of the used rhetoric:

“Borges, the great Argentine writer, was blind, though he possessed bushy eyebrows; Andrea Bocelli and Stevie Wonder are famously blind but with gorgeous examples of hairy eye protectives.”

However, and even before this valid contesting unravelled, the super intellectual and erudite philosopher Archie van der Neumann, speculated and ventured:

“Borges’s blindness was mainly due to (according to the medical history facilitated by his long-time doctor, the endocrinologist Tito Gómez) a rare and odd disease or disorder endured by our beloved and admired Georgie. The origin of such inclination of health is still unknown, so is the name that will, in some probable future, label the aforementioned ailment; there is already a process underway to determine the baptismal form that the in-famously dread disorder is to assume. For this reason, debates are still being carried out in the world’s leading libraries. Once the descriptive name has been chosen, the whole process shall be explained, thus revealed. The description of such a regrettable condition, according to what is known today, is the following:

“’Directional alteration of the facial sweating, whose course is not of a descending nature viz. from the top hair mass placed in the upper head toward the chin, but horizontal: thus finding its origin in the snail shaped ear, moistening its path unto the eyes.’

“This could have been the pathology that condemned not only his father, Jorge Guillermo, but also himself, the humble literary genius known as Borges, to a lingering blindness.

“Such an ailment is provisionally called horizonti sudorem.”[3]

But we cannot afford to mention the porteño, the shy gaucho made of gold and of tigers, without remembering and honouring John Milton, through the force of word or pen. Despite the lack of accurate portraits, it can be noticed, according to the literary critique and major dealer within the world of art Mr Ulver Hure, that Milton’s eyebrows do tend to appear, in the few existing humble and mediocre depictions, in a scarce, perhaps shy or even evanescent fashion; another hint that gives the blowing winds which pull our rational ships towards van Wonderen’s primal intuition some more strength.

John Milton’s expert, Monsieur Illman Ulmaz, who used to be a door to door cable TV and internet salesman during those abundant and speculative Spanish times at the beginning of the real state bubble and euro craze, suggests today that in the case of his beloved poet, a virus or bacteria shan’t be ruled out as a primary cause for Milton’s blindness; Ulmaz suspects that whilst working as Secretary for Foreign Tongues, John could have been tempted to suck the wrong one, thus obscurely infecting himself.

Such an ailment is provisionally called horizonti sudorem.[4]

In the case of Aldous Huxley, his partial blindness had nothing to do with the brow-effect, but possible due to little silly accidents that occurred while attempting to walk after his psychedelic drug experiments.

In regards to Andrea Bocelli, his blindness could have been induced by the solemn and interminable spitting that his faulty singing technique forced him to produce since he was a little bambino.

The pH levels of his salivatious production have already been measured: it carries an absurd 98,9%, certainly showing some high and aggressive corrosive levels[5].

Such theories immediately reached the ears of Joos van Wonderen, which though a little bit waxy, heard the news with utmost attention. At once a new set of experiments was started, with the same Germanic sponsorship as before; Joos then published a paper describing his findings with divine generosity:

“The obtained data provides us with the absolute certainty to freely assert that Andrea Bocelli’s visual dysfunction is due to the contact of his own salival spit, which is speedily expelled whilst singing – a generous use of the verb –, with his very eyes. It is actually impossible to determine the precise period of his life in which this misfortunate self-spitting episode began to take place, but bearing in mind the one and only probable cause (a defective singing technique), it had to be during his formative – again, another generous use of a word – years.

“It is remarkable how a side-effect in such a liquid form of singing has left a footprint in the behavioural pathos of the so called singer: do note that whenever he sings – again – a certain measurable force attempts to protect his already damaged eyes – an automatic and conditioned response that might have been of use in the past, but which is now merely an echo carrying the essence of the origin.

“The other irrefutable empirical proof is that the pseudo-tenor sings with his eyes closed, thus showing a certain reflex attitude that in a particular moment in time, worked (unsuccessfully) as a defence to the salivatious invasion (variation of a déjà vu).

“The Stevie Wonder affair presents ulterior difficulties.

“Whereas some still believe that he is not blind at all: just cheaply resorting to that dark disadvantage due to marketing reasons – the marketing of pity –, others suppose that the actual cause of his true ocular disability could be found in the hefty and speedy contact of a portion of his Rastafarian hair style – during his youthful and furry years – with his open eyes, attentive to the keyboard.

“An important aspect that reinforces this theory is the frenetic headly movement of the obscure composer and singer which is still witnessed during his recent masterly performances; the perfect excuse needed by the blinding dreadlocks, which indeed could have produced that dreaded disability.

“A prototype inspired in the shape of the crane still belonging to mister Wonder – which by the way is identical – has been recently constructed in order to study the velocity of the impact of one of his old Rastafarian dreadlocks that probably damaged his eyes (variation plus one déjà vu).

“The result was incontestable and final: his blindness is a natural consequence of his old hairdressing style”.

As a corollary to such a scientific feast, a definitive example that would forever underwrite the great work of Joos van Wonderen, is provided by a nameless extra-terrestrial observer:

“During my young and lustful years I have observed that in the north-westerly region of the Iberian Peninsula, more precisely in Galicia (a part of the world in which eyebrows grow in full strength and inspire marvel and amazement with their protective bushy splendour, even in the most illogical and zealot atheists), for more than seven hundred years, a single record of a blind man, or woman, is yet to be found.”

Under such scientific titans, little is left to be said or written: little.

Though a natural question arises: was Ensaio sobre a cegueira simply a mocking literary exercise performed by a man of letters who probably knew that such an ailment would never struck him because of his amazing eyebrows?

The debate is still open. Please visit us within these hours: from 7 am to 11 pm. Ask for Tito.


[1] We assume it’s about his work, entitled De Metamorfose van de haren. (Ed.)

[2] It is impossible to determine the exact date of the quoted interview, but surely it took place during the early 60’s of the XX century.

[3] Horizontal sweating.

[4] Literary déjà vu.

[5] Apparently at school he was known as the uomo mosca. The man-fly. Is there a kind of bond or fraternal relationship between actor Jeff Goldblum and Andrea Bocelli? Is it a mere coincidence that once asked about his perfect fantasy woman, the Italian pseudo tenor mentioned the name of Geena Davis?