Friday, May 22, 2015

"People will stare, make it worth their while."


"Mr. Shepherd, why does your face hair grow faster than the hair on top of your head?"

"Mr. Shepherd, when are you going to grow your hair back?"

"Mr. Shepherd, why do you like to have no hair?"

Many of the students at CAS are perplexed when they contemplate my slick pate. While many of them have grandpas or father's with unfortunate hair patterns, they had not observed anyone who voluntarily shed their locks.

I knew from past experience that if I kept it consistent, the shock and novelty would soon give way to normalcy. For the most part this is true. This past week I encountered a mission partner who hadn't seen me for several months, and he was a bit surprised. It took me a few moments to understand why he looked so unnerved... until he uttered slowly, "uh... your hair."

I thought surely I'd heard all likely responses, but this week I encountered something entirely new. I walked into a 10th Grade English class to find everyone say... look at Jimmy. I glanced over at Jimmy to see that he had a black scarf wrapped around his head. Jimmy is always doing funny things, and so I just said... "nice scarf, Jimmy" and then turned away. The class immediately began urging me to look back at Jimmy.

I turned as he unwound the scarf from his bald head! He said, "Now I look like you, Mr. Shepherd." He reached out his arms and said... "Hug me?" What was I to do? I walked over and I leaned into his hug. He immediately reached up and rubbed my head, saying, "Papa."

This was awkward! The class erupted with laughter as I nearly collapsed with the hilarity of the moment. Jimmy surprised me! I never in a million years expected any of the kids to copy my non-traditional hair-did.

I arrived the next morning to find that two of his friends had joined him. They informed me that there was a method: my head was shaved with a razor, so it was a zero. Jimmy had used a 1 guard, Javier a 2, and Esteban used a 3. We were the perfect sequence of head shavedness!

Since Wednesday, each day has greeted me with at least one more student with a shaved or tightly clipped head. I'm not quite sure what I think about this... but it is a unique phenomenon to say the least! I've never been a trend setter, and I certainly didn't set out with that intention when I decided to live life as a bald man again. 

The owner of the school asked me if I'd noticed that students were shaving their heads, and did I know why? I thought I was about to be fired as I answered, "yes, I've noticed. Jimmy started it, saying he looked like me." She cracked up laughing and it seems I'll keep my position.

Torres, after showing me his bald head yesterday, told me, "You know, it feels really good. Especially when you do this!" (He proceeded to pour a little water from his water bottle, and rub it on his head). Yes! Indeed! This is quite refreshing! 

So... if you're in the neighborhood and you see a group of close cropped young men, please do not be afraid. They're not a gang, they're not neo-nazis, and they don't all have cancer. 

They're just under my influence. 

Pray for me?

Quote attributed to Harry Winston