The two of us were sitting in the backseat of me dad’s car. It was sunny and lovely outside, I’m sure of it. Oh, that glorious day when my dear, sweet friend Ryan reached over and- for reasons that to this day still remain a mystery to me- planted that juicy, sticky, piece of sugary-sweet, slobber-covered gum into my hair.
The gravity of the situation was apparent even to my five-year-old self. I could romp with the worms in the garden behind my house, I could roll in mud puddles without the slightest worry for my clothing, but the idea of gum being stuck in my hair was horrific. Ryan had just broken one of the most imperative laws of life. You don’t mess with someone’s hair. You don’t pull it, you don’t cut it, and most importantly you do not put gum into it.
I am pleased to report that I was a tough little kid. On multiple occasions I can recall humiliating him in front of his boys by pinning him to the ground and making him cry. It’s quite possible that I would have killed him had my father not intervened. He pulled one of those “if you two don’t cool it back there I’m going to give you something to cry about” maneuvers. That command failed to reach our ears and we continued to abuse each other. Every now and then I reached up to feel the sticky mass that was my hair.
Needless to say, my dad pulled over at a gas station. After separating us, he tried to remove only the gum from my hair. He struggled with the sticky goo for what seemed to be only around five minutes. He grabbed a pocketknife from his key ring. Before I could protest, he chopped the gum from my hair.
In a normal situation I would have been horrified. But, my father in all his childishness decided that the removal of my hair would be a game. He took the gum and the clump of hair attached to it and fashioned it into a doll; a gum doll to be more precise, complete with flowing locks. To some, this might seem disgusting, but I think it was a stroke of pure genius. I was placated. I had little hair, but I had a new toy, and Ryan was still fairly intact.
This I believe; never grow up too much. You never know when creativity and a wild imagination will come in handy.
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