Monday, September 13, 2010

Bad Hair Days

When faced with the soul-numbing task that is my weekly reading assignment for Management Class, I must find a release that brings me back to reality. I don't plan to wax poetic on the ridiculousness of too much management/leadership lingo, so don't worry.

However, if you were hoping for my much-hyped multi-picture blog that I've been working on for over a week, I must disappoint you yet again. Take heart, dear reader. I am tentatively planning to spend some time at MY home over the weekend, and in between study breaks I may be able to finally get the job done.

At some point in my day, I was reminded of a time in my life that perhaps is better left forgotten. Unfortunately, I've already delved into that era more than once already, so I really can't ignore it any more.

Yes, I am referring to that magical and idiotic time known as my freshman year of high school. As you should be well aware by now, I was a bit boy-crazy in that year. In addition to several other ridiculous schemes and antics that I engaged in (with my friends) as a response to these out-of-control hormones of puberty (that I shall likely relate to you later), I made a very odd and uncharacteristic choice to become a manager of the varsity track team.

First of all, let's back up and have an explanation. My very good friend, Liza, was a well-established distance runner on both the varsity cross-country and track teams by the time she was in 7th grade. By 9th grade, she was quite familiar with the practice patterns of both teams. She was also quite familiar with the roster.

It just so happened that a high percentage of our adored senior boys were on the track team in the spring of our freshman year. We were all quite jealous of Liza that she would be able to spend nearly every day after school in close proximity to these boys and possibly even (gasp) speaking to them.

I believe I have mentioned before that my friend Liza is very intelligent. In this case she was a genius. In what was probably both an attempt to spread the joy of hot guys in running shorts and a way to have her friends close-by to talk about said guys, she suggested that I, along with two of our friends, volunteer to be track team managers.

If I remember correctly, I had moments of doubt about my skills to manage anything. In addition, I knew next to nothing about what a track manager would do, and I pretty much knew next to nothing about what track and field events really were.

Despite our collective ignorance, we actually were able to pick up on our duties quite quickly and I would like to say (from my foggy memory) that we did an OK job overall.

Now that I have given you the back story, I have to come to the point of this entry: hair dye.

There was a girl on the track team who was a freshman, like us. She was new to the school as she had recently transferred from a smaller district nearby. I think her parents thought that a Willmar education would improve her chances for the Ivy League. On a completely unrelated note, she was transferred to a boarding school on the East Coast after sophomore year. So much for that plan.

To come to the point, this girl was a bit "spoiled" to put it mildly. She always had the newest and most fashionable things that her parents bought her from Minneapolis. Ooh la la indeed. One of these unique items that she brought to the school was real permanent color hair dye. I'm not talking about Loreal or Clairol. This was professional-grade, from a jar solid color dye in bright pink, green, red, orange, etc.

For the most part, these colors only appeared during spirit weeks such as Homecoming and Snow Week, when one day was fully devoted to "Weird Hair Day." She really took it to a new level with the permanence of her color as it stayed with her far beyond the end of the week (or month, for that matter). I was always a bit intrigued by her bravery, and although I often imagined what I would look like with purple hair, I never took the leap.

At the end of the track season, the team was preparing to go to the regional meet. There were several team members who were quite promising, and there was just a teeny tiny chance that they could advance to the state championships. We were all fired up and ready to go as we rode the bus into a high school that I cannot now remember.

Prior to this trip, the big point of discussion was that as a show of school spirit, various members of the team were going to let the hair-dye girl paint their hair red. (My school colors included this color as a main feature.)

Ever the prudent child, I asked the permission of my mother to participate in this plan. Not surprisingly, her answer was an emphatic "NO." My friend Liza took a different approach by simply not telling her mother anything about the plan and thereby avoiding the denial of permission.

I should add here that neither Liza nor myself intended to dye our entire head of hair. At most, we wanted to just add a small streak. We weren't that daring, after all.

However, once we got on the team bus to travel to the regional meet, my fear of motherly disapproval began to waver under the seemingly logical persuasion of peer pressure. As I watched my fellow track managers and Liza get their streak on, I made one of my only bold and defiant moves as a 15-year old and decided to defy my mother.

Although I decided to break the rules, I was not stupid enough to do so blatantly. With my hair in a ponytail, a small amount of hair always escaped at the back on my neck as the length was overall somewhat short. When my hair was down, this section of hair was completely hidden by the top layers. I decided to have this small amount dyed as it would stand the best chance of avoiding detection.

I spent the rest of the day feeling like a real rebel and trying to block out the fact that my mom was definitely going to find out and that I would likely have to face severe punishment.

The day passed in a blur, and I cannot even remember my initial arrival at home. I do remember the next morning. I was preparing to take a shower, but was somewhat unsure of the protocol for washing newly dyed hair. As I was pondering this problem, my mother happened to check in on me and discovered my disobedience.

Here is where the story gets a little weird. I had been expecting some anger and probably some punishment, but I actually think that my mom found it a little bit humorous. She told me to just get in and wash my hair. Strangely enough, it washed out almost completely, leaving me with a slightly pinkish tint to the bottom layer of my hair. Within a week it was completely gone, and oddly, I received no punishment.

Now that I look back at this event with older eyes, I can see why my mom did not react as forcefully as anticipated. First, I had not dyed my whole head. Second, I really did not ever get in trouble for anything, because I just didn't know how. Third, I had done it as part of a school-sponsored group event.

Really, how much more lame could I be?

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