‘Never Forget the Guard!’

I took a trip to Houston this past week and met up with a couple of good friends that I hadn’t seen in quite a while. As always, when you meet up with people you haven’t seen in years, you are reminded of how fast time passes, and the silly things you did when you were young. It struck me, as I said my ‘hellos’ to John and John, that neither of them seemed to have hardly aged a bit. Maybe there is something in that Houston water. They also reminded me that some stories will never die, as within 30 seconds of seeing them, I heard the trigger phrase, ‘Remember the time …’.

It was in the spring of 1995, and we were all working on a project together in Toronto. When one of our team members got delayed at the Canadian border, I volunteered to pack and jump the next flight possible. I hurried home, and in between feeding the dog and trying to keep an eye on my 18 month old son, I packed my bags. As I passed by the mirror, I noticed that my hair was looking a bit ragged. These were the early days of being folically challenged for me, and not long before I had adopted a clipper cut strategy and invested in my own Wahl clipper. “No problem”, I thought, “I’ll just grab a quick cut before I go.”

It was certainly a bit hectic, trying to pack and make sure I had everything I needed, while my son Connor was toddling around trying to catch our Norwegian Elkhound. Kayla was a wonderful dog, looking much like a sled dog, with a tail that curled up and over her back. Of course, this left a bit of a bulls-eye target exposed on her rear-end that simply looked like something to push from the perspective of an 18-month-old. Kayla, although very understanding, didn’t care for it much. I distracted Connor, got him to sit and focus on a toy, and knew my window of opportunity was limited.

With a spring and a dash, I had clipper in hand, bent over the shower area and took the first clip pass from my forehead, straight back over the top of my head and down the back. As I cut, I remember thinking, “Wow, my hair was really much longer than I thought!” As the clipper returned into my field of vision preparing for the next pass, I saw the gleaming blades and realized that I had not snapped the plastic guard onto the clipper. Frozen in place, I snapped the clipper to the off position and stood up. “Hmmm, how bad could this be?”, I pondered as I turned to face the mirror. I had artfully created the perfect rendition of a reverse Mohawk cut. I don’t believe I could have actually created a more perfect stripe if I had tried.

After placing the guard back on the clipper, I attempted to ‘blend’ the surrounding areas into some semblance of a reasonable cut. I soon realized it was hopeless, and resigned myself to removing the guard and finishing the complete shave. To this day, I can vividly remember the look of shock on Connor’s face when he saw me … and it isn’t easy to shock an 18 month old. Even Kayla let out a bit of a growl at first, until she was sure I was somebody she knew. And when my wife Anne returned from working out, I decided it was probably best to yell a warning and explanation to her before she could actually see me. But the best was yet to come, for after a quick flight to Toronto, I was treated to the laughter and heckling of the project team, including John and John. And to this day, they get a good chuckle out of it, as I must admit, so do I. It was great to see my friends and be reminded of that story.

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One Response to ‘Never Forget the Guard!’

  1. Scott E says:

    I remember getting asked by all the floor workers who the bald guy was when you got there. “Um… that’s my boss. He forgot to put the guard on his clippers.”

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