Leon's comment about his 28 year old son who still has his mom cut his
hair (smart lad! It's always great to talk to Mom while you've got her
full attention) and my own haircut today (Mom did a great job) brought to
mind Tom Gauldin's story about cutting his wife's hair.
So here's a repost of that story.
A little over a year ago, I had a serious accident in my own shop
involving my 3 hp Jet dust collector. The recent discussion about dust
collecting has given me the "shove" necessary to write about it and the
passage of time has dulled the memory to the point where I can now
discuss it in public.
My wife is a sweetheart of a person, who I met for the first time while
attending kindergarten in our home town of Marshall MO. She beat me up
that first day of school. We were always friends during our school years
and continued to be friends right up to the time we were married. We've
now been married for 29 years (now it's 33) and she has mellowed to the
point where she seldom beats me up anymore, since it upsets the dog when
About a year ago, my wife and I decided to "reward" ourselves for the
last kid going off to college with a trip to Alaska and a leisurely
cruise down the Inside Passage to Vancouver. It was to be a vacation of
a lifetime for us. Planning for the trip went smoothly, with the only
glitch being my good wife forgetting to make an appointment at the
beauty parlor for the day before we were to leave.
I spent the day before the trip straightening up my shop so that a
burglar wouldn't trip over anything and sue me for his injuries. My wife
came downstairs in the afternoon to ask me if I would trim her hair just
a tad so that it would look better for the trip. Since I've been
virtually bald since my days in college, I have always just cut my own
hair with an old pair of Oster clippers that I bought while in college.
There, I had learned the simple fact that food is more important than a
In my shop, I have a 3-hp Jet dust collector that is fed via blast gates
from both ducts in the floor AND via a 25' 4" flex hose that connects to
the floor sweep/planer/jointer or other movable tools. Since my wife's
hair is about 3" long, I thought that it'd be nice to hold the clippers
inside the 4" flex pipe so that her hair would stand straight out from
her head. This would make it easier to get a smooth cut, in my opinion.
note: FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO MIGHT BE SENSITIVE, quit reading right here
For those of you continuing to read this tale of woe, here's what
happened. This is absolutely true and unadulterated or exaggerated.
My dear wife of 29 years, and the mother of my children, placed her
fanny on a stool I keep in the shop and proceeded to tell me exactly how
much hair she wanted removed from the top, sides and bangs. I walked
over to the DC, fired it up and closed off all but the blast gate
leading to the 4" flex hose. With the old Oster clippers up inside the
hose and me grasping the cutter end of them between my thumb and
forefinger, I could hold the 4" flex hose with the other hand and
maneuver both things easily. I leaned over my wife's pretty face and
made the first cut- doing her bangs.
The hair stood out perfectly from her forehead and the results of that
first swipe was terrific. I figured that I would probably get some
reward from a beauty college for my wonderful invention. The second
swipe was from side-to-side just above and behind the bangs. It went
Then all hell broke loose.
I claim that my wife moved, but she claims that claim is merely caused
by the random firing of obviously defective neurons in my addled brain.
For the third swipe, I had walked around to the rear of my wife's head
and was beginning to make the cut across the top of her head. Regardless
of the cause (I still say it had to be her fault), the darn 4" flex hose
somehow sucked down onto the top of her dear, sweet head. The clippers
were running full bore inside the pipe and doing the job that Mr. Oster
had designed his clippers to do, and doing it very well..
The suction of a DC hose isn't great, but when even the most modest
suction is spread over the area of a 4" hose (that conforms well to the
shape of a wife's head), there actually is a momentary "grab." It
startled my good wife, who let out with a squall and tried to stand
up/kick me/ brush the 4" hose off of her head and explain how I was
mentally defective all at the same time. During all this, I was
attempting to knock the hose away from her head as well. I naturally
succeeded in dislodging it (actually, it probably fell off on its own),
but it fell to the OTHER side of her precious little head.
The result was that my wife now had perfectly trimmed bangs, followed by
a bald stripe that went darn near from ear-to-ear across the top of her
head. Think of it as an inverted Mohawk that has been rotated 90
degrees. This was NOT what my dear wife had in mind when she asked me to
trim a bit off of her hair.
This tale now goes from bad to worse, because I tried to remedy the
problem by tapering the hair toward the "kerf" and shortening up the
rest. Saying that my attempts to remedy the situation were unsuccessful
would be like saying that Custer was unsuccessful at taming the Indians.
When that poor old woman finally got to the mirror, I knew that a
personal Hell for me was at hand. It was. Now I stand just over 6', am
in pretty good shape and tip the scales at almost 280#. My sweet wife
and companion of all those years couldn't be over 5'-4", weighs a LOT
less and has Multiple Sclerosis. However, she took one look at her new
"do" and took off after me like a rabid Doberman. She runs pretty darn
well when she's mad. I learned something else that afternoon. I learned
that the sweet old woman had obviously been kicked out of the Marine
Corps because of her foul, potty mouth. The things that woman said, and
the things that she called me, have absolutely prevented her from EVER
enjoying the pleasures of heaven, in my humble opinion.
I got little sleep that night, since my good wife felt the need to wake
me every ten minutes or so to further discuss the consternation and
distress I'd caused her, and to share her emotions and feelings with me.
Since Lorena Bobbit had been in the news recently, I had very real
additional reasons to remain awake and sober. We were leaving that next
morning and there was no time for her to get a wig. We simply went ahead
with the trip, with my wife looking (and acting) like a madwoman.
Needless to say, the subject of her hair came up frequently. Whenever
things would get a little boring on the cruise, I'd tell her, "Vicki,
that haircut looks like hell," and it would start all over again.
I tried to alleviate the tension by confidentially offering more
rational explanations to inquiring folks than that she was "having a
bad-hair day." I explained to our cabin steward that my wife had been in
a fight with a wildcat while knife-hunting in Colorado. I told our
waiter that she had she had almost completely overcome a terribly
contagious case of head lice. A waitress in the lounge was told that
medication had almost completely curbed my wife's terrible impulses with
butcher knives. Generally, I'd just comment to curious folks that,
"She's much calmer now that the medication is taking effect."
A year later, my good wife STILL winces whenever she hears my DC winding
up in the shop. The hair has grown back and is as pretty as before my
"trim," but the fleeting trust that my wife has for my ability to cut
hair is certainly diminished.