Reprint from K.L. Smith’s CruiseLetter – May 1996
Sharon Jackson Editor/Publisher
Cruise Humor: A Hair-Raising Story by Tom Gauldin
My wife is a sweetheart of a person, who I met for the first time while attending kindergarten in our home town of Marshall MO. She beat me up that first day of school. We were always friends during our school years and continued to be friends right up to the time we were married. We’ve now been married for 29 years and she has mellowed to the point where she seldom beats me up anymore, since it upsets the dog when it happens.
About a year ago, my wife and I decided to “reward” ourselves for the last kid going off to college with a trip to Alaska and a leisurely cruise down the Inside Passage to Vancouver. It was to be a vacation of a lifetime for us. Planning for the trip went smoothly, with the only glitch being my good wife forgetting to make an appointment at the beauty parlor for the day before we were to leave.
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I spent the day before the trip straightening up my shop so that a burglar wouldn’t trip over anything and sue me for his injuries. My wife came downstairs in the afternoon to ask me if I would trim her hair just a tad so that it would look better for the trip. Since I’ve been virtually bald since my days in college, I have always just cut my own hair with an old pair of Oster clippers that I bought while in college. There, I had learned the simple fact that food is more important than a professional haircut.
In my shop, I have a 3-hp Jet dust collector that is fed via blast gates from both ducts in the floor AND via a 25′ 4″ flex hose that connects to the floor sweep/planer/jointer or other movable tools. Since my wife’s hair is about 3″ long, I thought that it’d be nice to hold the clippers inside the 4″ flex pipe so that her hair would stand straight out from her head. This would make it easier to get a smooth cut, in my opinion.
Authors note: FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO MIGHT BE SENSITIVE, quit reading right here!
For those of you continuing to read this tale of woe, here’s what happened. This is absolutely true and unadulterated or exaggerated.
My dear wife of 29 years, and the mother of my children, placed her rump on a stool I keep in the shop and proceeded to tell me exactly how much hair she wanted removed from the top, sides and bangs. I walked over to the DC, fired it up and closed off all but the blast gate leading to the 4″ flex hose. With the old Oster clippers up inside the hose and me grasping the cutter end of them between my thumb and forefinger, I could hold the 4″ flex hose with the other hand and maneuver both things easily. I leaned over my wife’s pretty face and made the first cut- doing her bangs.
The hair stood out perfectly from her forehead and the results of that first swipe was terrific. I figured that I would probably get some reward from a beauty college for my wonderful invention. The second swipe was from side-to-side just above and behind the bangs. It went equally well. Then all hell broke loose.
I claim that my wife moved, but she claims that claim is merely caused by the random firing of obviously defective neurons in my addled brain.
For the third swipe, I had walked around to the rear of my wife’s head and was beginning to make the cut across the top of her head. Regardless of the cause (I still say it had to be her fault), the damn 4″ flex hose somehow sucked down onto the top of her dear, sweet head. The clippers were running full bore inside the pipe and doing the job that Oster clippers are designed to do.
The suction of a DC hose isn’t great, but when even the most modest suction is spread over the area of a 4″ hose (that conforms well to the shape of a wife’s head), there actually is a momentary “grab.” It startled my good wife, who let out with a squall and tried to stand up/ kick me/ brush the 4″ hose off of her head and explain how I was mentally defective all at the same time. During all this, I was attempting to knock the hose away from her head as well. I naturally succeeded in dislodging it (actually, it probably fell off on its own), but it fell to the OTHER side of her precious little head.
The result was that my wife now had perfectly trimmed bangs, followed by a bald stripe that went …from ear-to-ear across the top of her head. Think of it as an inverted Mowhawk that has been rotated 90 degrees. This was NOT what my dear wife had in mind when she asked me to trim a bit off of her hair.
This tale now goes from bad to worse, because I tried to remedy the problem by tapering the hair toward the “kerf” and shortening up the rest. Saying that my attempts to remedy the situation were unsuccessful would be like saying that Custer was unsuccessful at taming the Indians.
When that poor old woman finally got to the mirror, I knew that a personal Hell for me was at hand. It was. Now I stand just over 6′, am in pretty good shape and tip the scales at almost 280#. My sweet wife and companion of all those years couldn’t be over 5′-4″, weighs a LOT less and has Multiple Sclerosis. However, she took one look at her new “do” and took off after me like a rabid doberman. She runs pretty darn well when she’s mad. The things that woman said, and the things that she called me, have absolutely prevented her from EVER enjoying the pleasures of heaven, in my humble opinion.
I got little sleep that night, since my good wife felt the need to wake me every ten minutes to further discuss the consternation I’d caused her, and to share her emotions and feelings with me. Since Lorena Bobbit had been in the news recently, I had very real additional reasons to remain awake and sober. We were leaving that next morning and there was no time for her to get a wig. We simply went ahead with the trip, with my wife looking (and acting) like a madwoman. Needless to say, the subject of her hair came up frequently. Whenever things would get a little boring on the cruise, I’d tell her, “Vicki, that haircut looks [awful],” and it would start all over again.
I tried to alleviate the tension by confidentially offering more rational explanations to inquiring folks than that she was “having a bad-hair day.” I explained to our steward that my wife had been in a fight with a wildcat while knife-hunting in Colorado. I told our waiter that she had she had almost completely overcome a terribly contageous case of head lice. A waitress in the lounge was told that medication had almost completely curbed my wife’s terrible impulses with butcher knives. Generally, I’d just comment to curious folks that, “She’s much calmer now that the medication is taking effect.”
A year later, my good wife STILL winces whenever she hears my DC winding up in the shop. The hair has grown back and is as pretty as before my “trim,” but the fleeting trust that my wife has for my abilities is certainly diminished.
Tom Gauldin of Raleigh, NC is an avid cruiser and frequent visitor and contributor to the Newsgroup rec.travel.cruises. Tom wrote a great article entitled “Cruising with Limited Mobility” published in our March 1996 edition. Our apologies to Mrs. Gauldin, but what a funny story, Tom! If you agree, please email your thanks and comments to Tom: [email protected]
Copyright 1996 Thomas Gauldin and Jackson Publishing