I've often been accused of overconfidence. I'm one of those people who looks at a piece of jewelry, furniture, clothing, or a particular entree', and immediately thinks "I can do that." This thought is immediately followed by a second thought: "It can't be that hard." This tendency is genetic, because I grew up hearing my father actually say these exact same sentences. Overconfidence can be a great trait for a person to have. It can make you try new adventures that you might never, ever be brave enough to attempt, like trying out for a play.
Overconfidence can be not so great. Not everything that looks easy is actually that simple. Talent takes hard work and skill. Some people have dedicated their entire lives to making particular sports look easy, for instance, and I'm certainly never going to think that I can dunk a basketball like Michael Jordan or play soccer like Lionel Messi. That would just be stupid. But my tiny brain hasn't quite figured out which activities look simple due to talent and hard work, and those which I might actually be able to do. So occasionally, my tendency toward overconfidence gets me into trouble. Especially when I am trying very hard to impress a person.
was 2000. My then-fiance' was going through chemo(yes, we've dealt with cancer before), and his wonderfully
curly hair became too hot to bear. Larry asked me to cut it for him, using
these clippers that he bought with an adjustable guard. The commercials regarding these clippers made everything look so simple.
You adjusted the guard to a certain number, say '3', and went to work. The lady in the commercial clipped her way through her entire family of eight in the span of 30 seconds!
right? That's what I said. I didn't even blink, because I thought it
would be so simple. I'd watched the commercial. How hard could it be? I was very overconfident.
I wasn't even nervous.
sat in a chair in the back yard of our duplex, and began chatting about something. I plugged in the
clippers, set them to '2', and turned them on. Confidently, I
began with the back of Larry's head. And promptly shaved down to
scalp right there in the back of his head. A rectangular strip of pink
skin glared at me as the sun hit it.
I first looked at the clippers in
accusation. That wasn't a '2'!!! I then looked down at the hank of hair that had fallen to the
ground, willing it to float back up and reattach. It did not respond to my will. I panicked a little. What had I done?
people would have just kept going. Other people would have been certain that they could fix their
error, or at least cover it up. Not me. I had already hit skin; images of how bloody head wounds can be floated through my brain. Nor could I fix this particular issue with a comb over of any kind. It was time to face the music, so I began the time honored tradition of accepting responsibility and being
"What do you mean, 'Oops'?" Larry stopped talking and turned around hurriedly. I stood there looking sheepish, the clippers now held behind me.
I cut it shorter than I was supposed to?" I offered hesitantly. People have
strange relationships with their hair. Would this be a deal breaker in our relationship? What if he was angry? What if he decided that an overconfident woman was not the kind of wife he wanted, all because of my error. I winced a little, in anticipation of the big blow up.
Larry just stared
at me. I sighed. It was time to be me, and just be frank.
"You have a bald spot now." I said. "I screwed up. We need to go find someone else to fix it."
To my surprise, Larry took the news rather well. He even laughed a little about it, reminding me that he had wanted his hair cut short so his head would be cooler. Such a sweetie! We had to drive around town a little to find someone who would
"fix" my mistake. After they stopped laughing, of course. I also had to deal with an entire salon of
stylists pointing and laughing at me while Larry sat in the chair. I took it all in stride.
"Not so easy, is it, now?" They teased, and I had to agree.