Machine Munch by Laura
Two years ago my hair was mid-back. I had just cut 16 inches off and it was as short as it had been since I was 8 years old. I always had long hair and thought I always would. I loved the feel on my back. I loved to brush, comb and style it. My boyfriend, Pat, loved it and loved to stroke it and brush it. He saved the 16″ cut-off tail and had it hanging from the rearview mirror of his car.
I worked in a factory at the time, and was working at the label machine. It’s a table-sized machine that has rollers like a wringer washing machine. You stick the labels in, and these are like 2×3 ft labels, and as it is pulled through the rollers, the back side is coated with glue and then we pick it up and put it on a box. Well, we kept hearing a funny noise, and everyone was putting their ear to our machine to see if it was the source. I thought I’d do the same – bad mistake! It didn’t dawn on me that they all had short hair, and were in no danger of having their hair eaten alive by that machine.
When I leaned down to listen, the rollers grabbed a hold of my hair. I felt a hard tug and then each crank of the machine it twisted my hair around a sprocket further into the works of the machine. Very quickly it pulled me down so my head cracked the plexiglass shield that was supposed to protect dummies like me from things like that. Luckily for me, someone knew where the off switch was, so I wasn’t injured… however, I was trapped there, bent over the machine and my hair was bound tightly in the guts of the machine. It seemed like an eternity, while the maintenance men took the machine apart and tried to get my hair unstuck. He told me it was stuck fast and he would have to cut it out. He started cutting and pulling 3 and 4 inch chunks of hair out of the machinery. I could hear the scrunching as it was right next to my ear.
After about 15 minutes of this surgery I was finally free. I was very thankful to be able to straighten out. I went to the bathroom to check out the damage and wash up. The left side of my head looked like I’d put my finger in a light socket. Chunks of short hair stuck out in all directions. All I could do was cry. What would Pat think? I looked like a freak. My boss cut me loose to go home and cool off.
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I just got home when Pat arrived. He hugged me and I cried again. “Hey babe! Why so sad? You are fine right?”
“Yes, but Pat, look at my hair!”
He gave me a hug and said, “So what, kind of funky don’t you think?” Those were some of the most reassuring words I had ever heard. Then he said, “I’ve always wanted to be a hairdresser. Let’s even it up and then go get a first class haircut.” Out came the kitchen scissors as I pulled up the stool.
“A bit off the top and sides,” I said.
He brushed my long hair and sectioned it. He checked the shortest pieces on the hacked-off side and matched the length. Snick, snick went the scissors. And the lock fell free. “See, he said – didn’t hurt a bit.” He sectioned another lock.
“Aren’t you going to save it like the last,” I asked.
“Good idea! I’ll have two ponies now.”
Snick, snick, snick went the scissors. Each lock was carefully sectioned, cut and laid on the table on the front of me. At the end he gathered up the ponytail and tied off the end. I felt better already, somehow when the rest of my hair was straightened out I felt much better. We went to a local hairdresser and got a great, cute bob. I must admit I looked great, and have kept it short ever since.