My organization was just selected for an important and prestigious, multiple-year grant, one of four organizations chosen among over a hundred applicants. To celebrate, I went to Anthony’s Beauty School to get a haircut for 5 dollars.
Now, I always prefer beauty training schools to regular salons. The students are extra careful, and they’re usually very nice people. Sure, it’s like playing Russian Roulette with your hair, but the rewards far outweigh the potential risks, and I haven’t had a bad experience yet. This time, I met a charming young Vietnamese woman named Stacy, who went into hairstyling because she got bored working at a hospital. She was rather talkative. “Are you Vietnamese?” she asked, and I said yes. “That’s funny, you look Chinese. Are you married or are you single?” And I thought, Oh no, my manly charms must have overwhelmed the poor girl.
“I have a girlfriend,” I said, “and we’re going to Vietnam this summer.”
“That’s great,” said Stacy, “I think it’s important to keep your roots. I came here when I was 2 months old, and I’m fluent in Vietnamese. I think Vietnamese people who don’t teach their kids Vietnamese are stupid!”
“Yeah, stupid!” I said. We both laughed. See, that’s what you get when you do not always take the beaten paths, you get to meet all sorts of cool people. Stacy and I had a great conversation while she clipped and buzzed. In our modern world, we get into comfortable routines, which stabilize us. But my friends, I’ve argued before, that life is short, and sometimes we need to have the cojones to grab the bull by the horn, or have the horns to grab the bull by the cojones. Either way, it is important to grab the bull by something every day. Today, do something different: Take the scenic route to work, buy hot instead of medium salsa, high-five a passer-by. Life is too short to fall into the mundane.
Then Stacy was done, and I put my glasses on and took a look in the mirror, and realized she had completely screwed up my hair. She had cut it way too short, and it was not even. Horrified, her teacher came over with a pained look and spent the next 15 minutes trying to fix the damage, all in vain. With my big ears, my head now looks like a personal watermelon with wings. And a porcupine on top. Jameelah said I looked like an “Asian Simon Cowell,” the mean judge from American Idol; just so you can image the extent of the damage, here is what Simon Cowell looks like.
When I walked into the office today, one of the staff, Kim, shrieked, “Oh my God!” then quickly covered her mouth with her hands and tried to get back to her work. I went to our after-school program, and the kids were brutal. “Mr. Huy,” one of the teenage girls said, “you look horrible.” Dee-Dee, a volunteer tutor, was determined to be optimistic. “It will grow back,” she proclaimed, “You. Will. Be. Fine.”
My friends, I’ve learned several lessons from all this. First of all, I should be careful how my irresistible manly charms affect unsuspecting hair stylists. But more importantly, life means nothing if we do not take risks. Sure, I may have lost this round with the game of Beauty School Russian Roulette, but does this mean I won’t take any more chances? Hell yeah, it does! Don’t take risks, ever! Stick to routines! Routines are there for a reason! Don’t fix what ain’t broke! Stick to medium salsa! Don’t grab the bull by the horns; the bull will kick you in the cojones!
I hope that this post has inspired you to not take any risks in life, whether small or great. Send me any advice on how to take care of this situation. Should I wear a hat? Should I put gel in my hair and look like a Japanese cartoon character? I am going into hermit-mode, where I will stay inside during the day, and leave my lairs only at night to feast on the flesh of plants, a creature feared and pitied by all, and laughed at by teenagers.