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07/22/2005 Archived Entry: "Haircut"

I just tried to cut my own hair. Okay… call me nuts. But, I have been cutting my son’s hair for the last year or so and I have been sitting in the barber chair for 40+ years. It seemed easy enough. Especially the electric razor part. I mean, how hard could it be?

I ended up looking like a scalped chicken. Or, as one of my co-workers said, a poster-boy for those who – deep down inside – live for a challenge. I think she was trying to say something else to me, which is best illustrated by a story from my past.

I used to ski quite a lot during my college years. Never enough to be expert or anything of the kind, but I gained some expertise (e.g., I could make a convincing run) mainly on account that I skied with my roommate and his squad (his friends), single-mindedly rejecting any notion of being left behind at the bunny slopes.

So, I clung onto their coattails, like an annoying little brother, taking insane dares while doing my best to hide my absolute sheer terror. We skied all over California - Heavenly Valley was one of our favorites – great for hotdogging straight down the slope. A few of the guys groaned about me as a “klingon” but I soon gained their respect as being able to take a challenge and a joke and still come up smiling. And to my roommate’s credit, he never ever left me behind.

Once, at Mammoth, I took a challenge that I probably should have never taken: off the lip of "Cornice." If you have ever skied Mammoth, you know that the Cornice is the very top of the bowl – a 50-foot lip of hard pack snow concealing a 150-foot drop before you reach the grade 200+ slope of powder that runs another 250 feet of hard skiing. You really don’t catch your breath until you reach the bottom of the bowl for about another 200 feet.

About half way down I fell backwards (over compensating the urge to lean forward, which is certain doom). Yet, and most miraculously, I got back up on my skis before kinetics and centrifugal force took over and I reached the bottom with my dignity intact (albeit a bit frosty).

My roommate and company were actually quite surprised (and maybe a bit impressed). They thought for sure that they were going to see a "yard sale" (gear scattered everywhere) by the time I slid (face first) to the bottom of the bowl. My roommate just laughed and slapped me on the back. "Man," he said, "you have a lot more balls than brains."

I guess you could say that the ‘challenge’ spirit lives with me still.

By the way, I made it through four seasons of skiing with absolutely no injury. I stopped only because my roommate and I went our different ways after graduation. I could have been a contender. -HP

Replies: 21 comments

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