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Messing Up by Mac Macduff
Jimmy, the kid that wheeled around the mail cart, was a bit on the slow side. He was sweet natured, but he was the butt of our jokes and remarks from time to time. Everybody was always careful not to say anything in front of the bosses. The day he came in with his bowl cut gone and a crewcut in its place, I couldn't resist some good natured teasing. When the afternoon mail run came through, several of the other guys had joined in. So, I gave him a good rub and made a crack about how aerodynamic the new hair made him. I didn't know I had been overheard by the big boss. At the end o the day, there was an e-mail telling me to be in a half hour early to meet with the Boss. I didn't think anything much about it, just figured it was something to do with a project I was working on.
I got in good and early and knocked on the boss's door 2 minutes early. "Johnson," he said, "do come in, I see you are a bit early, very aerodynamic of you. The penny didn't quite drop when eh said that, but what he said next did. I understand you were "admiring" my nephew Jimmy's haircut yesterday. His mother called to say that Jimmy came home very upset. It comes to my attention that you were the ringleader behind the teasing Jimmy endured yesterday." I tried to protest, but he wasn't having it. "Jimmy is doing the best he can, he was born with some learning disabilities, he cannot help the way he is." I was obviously in big trouble. I apologized profusely. Promised I'd never do it again. Begged for a second chance.
The boss looked at me and said "I will give you a second chance, but you are going to get a taste of your own medicine if you want to save your sorry self." With that, he came around his desk, and picked up the scissors next to his tape dispenser. Out of his breast pocket he pulled a small pflat package. It contained a black comb. The boss said, "I am going to give you a little trim of your lovely locks. I knew I couldn't protest. Hepulled the comb out of the package and proceeded to comb my bangs down over my eyes. My hair was pretty long and the bangs reached below my nose. I felt the scissors high up on my forehead. Then came crunch, crunch, crunch of the shears. Suddenly,the hair was out of my eyes. Whew, I thought, that is over, I'll be able to work with this, get something cool done. Then I felt the comb in my hair at the top of my ears. Crunch, crunch crunch and all the sudden my ear was uncovered and 5 inches of hair hit the carpet. Crunch, crunch crunch, and my collar was free of hair. Curunch, crunch, crunch and my other ear was uncovered. "Now stand up and look in the mirror" he said. Oh my God, I had a rough looking bowl cut, my bangs were only about an inch from my hairline. I looked ridiculous. As I was staring, shocked, in the mirror, he produced a small broom and dustpan and said, now clean up this mess, before we finish our conversation. There were tears in my eyes, as I got down onto the floor and started t o sweep. I thought I heard the office door open but was so apalled by the prospect of being seen looking like I did that it didn't really register.
As I turned around to get the last bits of my beautiful hair, I saw a pair of sneakers and looked up to see Jimmy standing there with his uncle, the Boss. "I believe you have something to say to Jimmy," said the boss. I apologized to Jimmy who looked at me and said "your hair looks silly, you need a new barber." The boss laughed and said "that is right Jimmy and you are going to help him get one." He turned to me and said, "Jimmy will be taking you to his barber at lunch time so that you can get a nice neat haircut like his. In the mean time, get out there and let your colleagues see you as you look now. What followed was one of the worst mornings of my life. Everybody was laughing at me. "Dork" "What the hell did you do?" "not a good look, dude" were the least offensive ones.
When noon rolled around, I found Jimmy at my desk. "Lets go to the barber" he said happily." As we were walking what turned out to be three blocks to a very old fashioned looking barber shop, Jimmy asked me why I was mean to him yesterday. "Is it 'cause you think I'm a dummy?" I felt like dirt.We got into the barbershop and barber had a big smile for Jimmy. "Is this your friend that your uncle called me about?" "Yes," said Jimmy, "he got a bad haircut and now he needs to get one like mine." The barber looked at me with disdain, he obviously knew the true story. In the chair, sport." I was caped up quickly. The barber ran a comb through what was left of my hair. "Wow, he did some job on you. The best I can probably do is a short buzz with a bumper." Oh, great, I am really going to look ridiculous. The barber turned on the clippers and ran them all over my head, leaving just a little bit of hair in the front. My cool little sideburns were removed and arches were carved above each ear. With scissor and comb he trimmed up the front. Then, he cleaned me up with shaving cream and a straight razor. Finally, he applied a little wax and brushed my bumper straight up. He turned me around to face the mirror, and looking back at me was somebody that, to my eyes, looked about 15 with ears sticking out. I almost cried. "OK, Jimmy, now you and your buddy look almost the same" said the barber. Jimmy proudly pulled some money from his pocket and said, my uncle gave me the money to pay for this haircut."
The barber thanked Jimmy and said, "your uncle told me that you will both be coming back all summer long to keep these short haircuts looking sharp and in the fall, I will start giving you both big boy regular haircuts." I guess I'll have lots of time to think about the wisdom of being a wiseacre at work.