Ever make a dumb mistake? I make dumb mistakes all the time, but this one I share with my daughter. It has become our mutual joke. We each blame the other, as if it still weren’t resolved. As if…
This was way worse than the time I checked the new bottle of mustard to see if it was opened. I looked into the nozzle and squeezed. Isn’t that how it’s done? That just resulted in an eye full of bright yellow mustard, easily cleaned up and the source of much hilarity. Try it sometime. You will be the hit of the party.
In other families, this dispute might be the annual conflict that divides everyone over each Thanksgiving’s feast of turkey and cranberry sauce. It is a tradition more durable than football.
This had lasting repercussions. I usually bring it up to my daughter when I see her, and she responds by putting the blame entirely on me. All these years and she is still unaccountable for her actions.
I own my part in it. But the outcome was purely her decision. It didn’t have to be that way. She can’t hide from the truth forever.
I have always described my daughter as ‘a force of nature’. This description has positive and negative connotations. You know how nature can be, capricious, awesome, relentless, and creative. I always mean it in the most positive sense. But there were times…
She has a mind of her own. I wouldn’t say she was a willful child, though. And yet, getting her to change course was not a task to take on casually. Stampeding buffalo herds, flood waters and volcanic eruptions share her spirit (metaphorically). But that’s just my opinion.
I’m proud to declare that she is artistic. Developing those skills requires a fearlessness about chance, ‘mistakes’ and randomness, from which others would shy away. In this, I am her biggest fan. I display many of her paintings and other art work at home. She is musical too, and sings beautifully.
My son and daughter came to visit. I always look forward to their presence. I treat them as adults and they generally act as expected. They are both really smart.
I planned to give myself a haircut with my brand new electric clipper. But I soon realized that trimming up the back of my neck was going to be impossible. I asked my daughter for help and she happily agreed.
I gave her the clipper. She instantly reached out and pressed the clipper to the top of my forehead. I couldn’t believe it. Was this her idea of a joke? I took the clipper back and dismissed her. Sheesh!
I now had a bald spot about two inches square, right in front. There was no way to fix it, cover it, or pretend it didn’t exist. There was no matching it, blending it, or feathering it. I was stuck.
Many men have a bald spot at the back of their heads. Many men have receding hairlines where they part their hair. I have both.
However, unlike everyone in the world, I had a hairline in the form of a hairy ‘W’. It could only be described as an ‘un-bang.’ Not wanting to look like a refugee from “Where the Wild Things Are,” I shaved my whole head. My daughter seemed amused and refused to apologize.
I never had a geezer-tail, but in my hippie days, I managed to grow a respectable mane. A glistening scalp was all that was left. I now looked like I was auditioning to play one of those weird hairless cats.
My social life plummeted. By all accounts, I looked like a psychotic Texas Ranger. If I resembled a Texas Ranger before, I was certainly a less scary one. People who knew me began to keep their distance. I felt like a pariah.
My parents came to visit. I went to greet them at the gate. So profound was the change in my appearance, my own parents didn’t recognize me. They walked by me without a second glance. “Oh! We didn’t see you there.”
My hair finally grew back and my life returned to normal.
To this day, my daughter insists it was all my fault. She takes none of the blame. Her sole response, repeated ad nauseum remains, “What did you expect when you gave a clipper to a six year old?”
She would say that. See how she is?
But she may have a point.