A Weekly Column
By Joseph Walker
CAN’T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS MULLET
Hudson is a really nice
guy. That’s probably what got him into
You see, my older sister, Amy, is going to cosmetology school, and last
week the girls in her school put on a fashion show. Each student selected a theme and styled two
Hudson just happened to be
at my house when Amy arrived. Explaining
to us the theme she had chosen, Hudson
reluctantly agreed to be one of her models.
After all, her theme would call for a classic Frank Sinatra-type
look. How bad could that be?
Pretty bad, it turns out.
The day before the show Hudson
went in for his hair cut. As Amy greeted
him he could tell that something was up.
Apparently she had been flipping through magazines and found a whole new
theme she wanted to do: Punk Rocker. Because
he had already committed to the show – and because he’s a really nice guy – he
smiled and said, “Sure. I trust you.”
And so the pain began.
After what seemed like hours under the scissors, Hudson
was finally ready to see what had been done to him. Turning to face the mirror, his jaw
dropped. He could barely recognize
himself with pink hair and a spiky mullet.
He tried to laugh it off, knowing that in three days it would be
gone. But he couldn’t figure out how he
was going to get through the two days in between during which he would have to
attend school and work as usual.
During this period of time Hudson
noticed many different reactions to his Crayola-colored
hair. His mom couldn’t stop taking
pictures and his dad couldn’t stop laughing.
Some of the reactions were hurtful.
Adults stared, children pointed, and his friends suddenly didn’t want to
hang out with him. He found himself
wondering what the problem was. He knew
why he looked the way he did, and he knew he wasn’t any different inside than
when he looked clean-cut and all-American on the outside. He could hear people whispering behind him,
making comments about him being too wild.
Some people were even afraid of him.
Returning to his car one night after a concert he found himself walking
toward a noticeably nervous teenager, who was pacing in front of his car. As Hudson
got closer he noticed the kid becoming ever more anxious. When he started to unlock his car the
trembling teenager walked up to him.
“I was backing out and hit your car,” he said. “That big dent in your door is my fault.”
Hudson shut his door and
looked at the damage. Then he smiled.
“It’s no problem,” Hudson
said. “It doesn’t look any different to
“But there’s a huge dent in it,” said the new, nervous driver.
“I know,” Hudson replied,
still smiling. “I did that about a year
ago when I ran into a pole. No worries,
man. It’s alright.”
The boy, who clearly had been expecting trouble from this hard-looking
punk, took one last look at Hudson
– his eyes focused on Hudson’s rosy
coiffure – before he hurried off.
Hudson was relieved when he
could finally return to his normal look.
As far as he was concerned, the wild and freaky Hudson
didn’t act any different than the straight-laced Hudson. He was still the same guy – a really nice guy
– with or without the pink, punk hair.
But he sure was treated different.
And that has made me think. Every
day I encounter people who have different styles and different ideas. How often do I judge them – for good or for
ill – without actually knowing anything about them? First impressions can be deceiving –
especially if we don’t take the time and effort to dig deeper. What really counts is what’s inside people.
Because you never know when there’s going to be a pink mullet on a
really nice guy.
# # #
— © Joseph Walker
For more ValueSpeak, please visit http://www.sfpnn.com/joseph_walker1.htm
E-mail Joseph at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Look What Love Has Done:
Five-Minute Messages to Lift Your Spirit
Can You Mend a Broken Spleen? Home Remedies for an Ailing World."
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