Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tales of Terrible Ideas

Bad Idea Potluck wants you to start the new year off right (How could you not? It'll be a full moon.) with this inspirational story of methodically executed yet patently inadvisable actions. I met a guy last night who told me how he grew up in the Valley in Los Angeles. In high school he had long hair but a lot of his friends had mohawks. He's 24 and still has long hair.

One day he was eating lunch with his friends in the "punk section" of his high school (the quotation marks are his, conveyed with crooked fingers, if I remember correctly.) and this Asian girl he knew walked into their midst. She always dressed very conservatively, got good grades, and played the role of an honor student in every way. But on that day she pulled out some hair clippers and demanded that someone shave her head. This must have been a well calculated move because one girl took her up on it right there. After that, he said, she started dressing and acting like a boy. He guesses she had something to prove. I would not presume to guess what that something might have been.

I don't even know her name but I'd like to meet her. I can't stress enough that when we say "bad idea" here, we often mean "transformative experience that is hard to explain or justify to other people later." She is absolutely a Bad Idea Potluck Icon and the first I've chosen in some time. I wasn't there. But I believe his story. He still knows this girl. She's marrying one of his best friends. I'd apologize to The Breakfast Club but this one is on reality and not me.

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