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ME AND THE MAGICAL MIRACLE WIG. (a true story)

Once long ago and far away in desolate West Springfield, Massachusetts, the nuns running our high school issued a ukase: all girls must have hair above (not touching) their shoulders. What prompted this absurd dictum, you might ask. Apparently, the good Sisters believed that long hair corrupted the innocent Catholic lads roaming our corridors leading to impure thoughts of (gasp) SEX. In vain did we argue that even the BVM (Blessed Virgin Mary), sported long locks. Many tried tucking the offending strands under and pinning them up but this too was unsatisfactory. The nuns were unmoved and decreed that the penalty for disobedience was suspension or expulsion. WHAT? Memory check: In the late 1960’s most young females wore long, flowing hair. Shearing it off was a painful process akin to self-mutilation.

Slowly, inexorably after a few rebels were disciplined, the traumatized masses fell in line. Except one.

My mother and I devised a different plan. We purchased a short distinctly unstylish wig of dubious origin whose only virtue was that it fell nowhere near my shoulders. Make no mistake: it was truly hideous. When I appeared in class wearing it, I received accolades from the staff. They lauded me for obedience and complimented my new look. The other kids instantly knew what the score was but to their credit they stayed silent.

Ultimately parents complained to the Bishop and the Cardinal about the absurd policy and it was rescinded—Small consolation to the girls in the school, a case of much too little too late.

When the reign of terror officially ended, I pranced into class the next day sporting my own waist length hair. The principal, a daunting blend of Torquemada and Robespierre, summoned me to her office. Through clenched teeth, she demanded an explanation for my sudden metamorphosis. Quick thinking and fancy footwork were required. I faced her and with perfect composure said the following:

“It’s a miracle, Sister.”