Now that Covid-19 is calming down for us in this country, people can’t wait to get out and move again. People are starting to travel. I have friends who recently had a great week in Hawaii. Others are now going on a dream vacation that they had postponed.
I spoke with some of their travel plans. These conversations, coupled with a report involving Pope Francis the other day, once again reminded me of a funny little story. I heard it a long time ago.
I may have shared it here in this space years ago, but with memories of what they are and new readers, it bears repeating. There are several variations that I know of, but, of course, I prefer mine. It goes like this.
A man was having his hair cut and, sitting in the barber’s chair, announced that he was going on a trip to Europe. The barber immediately asked why the man would want to waste his money on such a frivolous trip.
The man explained that there were three things he had always wanted to do in Europe. He had dreamed of seeing the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace in London. He longed to see the famous painting “Mona Lisa” by DaVinci at the Musée de la Louve in Paris. And he wanted to see the Pope in person on the balcony of St. Peter’s Square in Rome.
The barber chuckled and laughed at how naive he was to think the trip would be satisfying. He predicted that the crowd at Buckingham Palace would be so huge that he would be lucky to catch a glimpse of the Changing of the Guard.
The barber told the man it was foolish to believe he would have a decent look at the “Mona Lisa” painting in Paris with everyone and safety. And finally, he explained that even if he got to see the Pope, the Pontiff would look like a small dot in the distance with the crowd of people gathered in the square.
The man was not to be discouraged. He had his long dream of traveling to Europe. Finally, he returned to his hairdresser. The barber, of course, wanted to hear a report, being certain his predictions had come true.
The man was overwhelmed with enthusiasm as he related how wonderful the trip had been. It was beyond his wildest dreams. Not only did he have a perfect location to watch the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, the Queen herself drove by in her car. She caught the man’s attention and waved her hand. She stopped the car and shook the man’s hand. She dedicated her guide.
At La Louve, by inexplicable circumstances, the man was able to see the “Mona Lisa” in solitude, being the only visitor in this particular gallery for about half an hour. He sat in quiet contemplation and meditated on the portrait with the mysterious smile. It was a dream come true.
In the Vatican he was waiting for the Pope with thousands of others. The Pope arrived in the “popemobile” and, for some strange reason, stopped right next to the man and invited him to get into the vehicle. A few minutes later, they were in the Pope’s private apartments, and then they appeared together on the balcony and greeted the crowd in the square below.
The Pope then asked the man if he wanted a blessing. The man, of course, was delighted and knelt down and bowed. The Pope put his hands on the man’s head.
As the barber could see that the man was about to finish his story, he asked enthusiastically, “What did the Pope say to you? What did he say?”
“That’s what the Pope told me,” the man replied slowly, “My son, where did you get that terrible haircut?
I love this joke – if you want to call it a joke. I believe there are a few lessons to be learned.
# 1) Don’t rain on someone else’s parade of hope and optimism. Keep your pessimism to yourself. Unless someone does themselves irreparable harm, allow them to chase their dreams.
# 2) Realize that complainants often don’t take care of their own work as well as they should. They are too busy worrying about others or “raining on someone’s parade” to mind their own business.
# 3) Sometimes dreams come true. And when they do, the “rainers on parades” have to eat crow.
May all your dreams come true. And may all of your haircuts be good. But remember, the difference between a good haircut and a bad one is only about three weeks. — Merrille
PS The report I referred to at the top of this article involving the Pope was about a Polish woman who met Pope Francis last week. She is one of the last survivors of the Nazi Auschwitz extermination camp. She was in the children’s area of the camp for 3 years. The woman uncovered her arm and showed the Pope her tattooed prisoner number. After looking her in the eye, he leaned down and kissed the number.