My friend Tim never combed his hair.
The front of it looked like a tangled bird’s nest dangling from his forehead.
And though he was smart, he had no common sense.
In short, not a guy you want to see try and operate a propane barbecue.
But try it he did one summer in Los Angeles when we were both in our twenties.
Tim wanted to grill a plate-load of hamburger patties for a party he was having that night. So he turned up the gas and pushed the igniter button, but the barbecue wouldn’t light. So something in Tim’s head told him to keep turning up the gas ’til it would.
By the time it lit, Tim had enough propane swirling around his head to light all the barbecues in California.
Tim was lucky. Despite the huge flash of flame, his only injury was the loss of that bird’s nest worth of hair that hung over his forehead.
Later that night at the party, Tim, who never had much luck with girls, was approached by the prettiest girl at the entire party, a girl he knew from his work. A girl who knew nothing about Tim’s accident.
“Hey Tim,” she said.
“Hey,” he said.
And then Tim got the only compliment about his personal appearance that I believe he ever got in his life.
“Your hair looks great,” she said.
But his euphoria wouldn’t last. Because of the next question.
“Where’d you get it done?”
He could have lied. He could have ambiguously said, “The place down the block.” Or made up the name of a barber shop.
But he didn’t.
He said this:
“My propane barbecue blew up and singed all my hair off.”
The girl said nothing. Either did Tim. So the girl walked off.
I can only imagine what Tim said the next time his barber asked him how he wanted his hair cut.
“Do it just like my barbecue.”