The forehead never used to be that important.
Time was that it was merely the slab of dead space between the hairline/scalp and the bony feature of the skull above the eyes.
It was too vertical to hold sunglasses by itself (that’s what the supraorbital ridge is for) and had few distinguishing features on its own, other than being a palate for wrinkles to show character at a certain age.
It needed little attention, maybe a dab of sunscreen in the summer.
The only function of sorts was providing some muscle power for facial expressions.
But it appears technology has now radically changed the forehead and what it can offer us.
Little did we know that the new forehead has the power to replace other sensory organs – namely the eyes.
I’ve seen it, with my own actual eyes – albeit with the help of polarized sunglasses to cut through the glare while driving.
It’s true. The forehead is the new driver’s radar.
I saw it yesterday, I see it today and I’ll see it tomorrow, all around me on my commute.
To my left: A young woman in a VW Golf. She’s wearing sunglasses, face down behind the steering wheel at a traffic light. There’s a non-vocal discussion of some sort going on with her personal electronic device. How will she know when the light turns green? Her forehead will tell her.
To my right: A guy in a commercial van is having a good read on his cellphone. In front of him is a steering wheel and traffic moving at 80 km/h or more. Thankfully, his forehead is facing the windshield – how else could he navigate without it?
On my left: A banged-up mid-1980s five-door Corolla with an octopus-shaped crack that drapes the windshield.
With a forehead totally in control, a 20-something blond driver with eyes down pokes at her BlackBerry during a left turn at a nearly red light. Her baby, strapped in the back seat, should be taking notes.
In front of me: A lady is tries to make a left turn in her Beemer at a yellow light. I’m sure she’s safe, since her forehead’s close cousin, the temple, is at the helm. It must be a nice chat – too good to pass the phone to her three passengers.
Behind me: The classic hybrid, forehead and temple working together, as a guy in a truck skulks down to his left, having a conversation with a little black box next to his ear. Is the forehead jealous of the temple?
I often see those hybrids from behind in silhouette or in my rear view mirror, where the driver’s head is tilted left of the headrest while talking, right of it for reading and texting.
The straight-on forehead is the most fascinating. It’s common enough that one can see it every few minutes in heavy traffic at moderate speeds or at stop lights.
Since I’m driving, I can’t exactly watch these people for long and make mental notes about timing – how long will their foreheads be in control?
I guess it’s like the tides, set to their own intervals. Or perhaps there’s another factor in play – maybe another sense that comes into effect in times of stress or possible danger.
Multi-tasking these days can be a minefield.
Be thankful that the forehead has moved to its rightful place in the narrative of human evolution.