Serious stuff

This head-shaving thing has turned into quite the big deal.  It seems that most people couldn’t really conceive of it before it happened, but now everyone is blown away.  But, aside from the general wows and whoas, I’ve been reminded that this is serious stuff.

One good example of the importance of these efforts:

It was unseasonably warm – in the 90’s.  Yep.  Of course, being unseasonable, it was also changeable.  We’re back to the 60’s, and we had some time in the 50’s.  Still warm compared to the Baltimore we arrived to, with the snow and near-zero wind chill.

While it was bitter cold out, I developed a relationship with my friendly local propane suppliers.  A couple of good people – the lady in the office and the guy who went out in all weather to fill my tanks for me.  The guy is a practiced bull-shitter, but really nice about it.  The lady is a bit taciturn and careful in measuring out her smiles.  I earned a few, a fact of which I am proud.

With the down-turn in temps, I needed to refill our propane tank for the heater.   Arriving at the supplier’s, I realized that they hadn’t seen me since the big shave-down.  I went in with a big smile and did the show-off thing I do so well.

The lady seemed quite affected by the whole story and was shaking her head as I left the office to see the tank-filler.  He and I joked around about baldies and hair growth (I have more hair than he does, even when shaved to a millimeter).

When I reentered the office, the lady was wiping tears from her face and had obviously told a coworker about my head-shaving.  I handed the ticket to her, with its propane totals written on the damp triplicate form.  Though she took it from me, her head shook from side to side.  She clutched it, wrinkling the paper where it was wet from the drizzle outside.

“You just get out of here,” she choked out.  “This one’s on me.”

Incredible insight was not required.  I wondered who she’d lost or watched through the torture of cancer “therapy”.  I asked, “Shall I put this through the website properly?  You can make the donation on behalf of someone if you like.”

“No,” she managed, head turned to the side as though dodging something.  “This is for you – to say thanks to you.”

I smiled at her, trying to offer sympathy, understanding, gratitude, delicacy, strength – heavy freight for a single moment of eye contact.

So after all the hoopla of attempting to get donations, having my head shaved on stage with six other women, and budgeting generous amounts of time to walk anywhere at work, due to the multiple conversations on the subject…it was a lady selling propane who rewarded me directly.

And I’m not talking about the free propane.



  1. I’m not surprised you agree with James…All of a sudden, I’m having images of you two ganging up on me. As long as it’s just in praise or in an attempt to make me laugh while drinking sticky liquids…I guess I’m okay with that.

  2. Congrads. One more step to that “civilization search “. I’ve seen my share and People have a way of making it right..

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