William Collier: Synopsis of a Memoir, Pt 7 - A Call from Mr. Carl

September 23, 2015

About the time I had made all the necessary purchases, had my smock ready, my pants and shirt pressed, with my tie laid out, my first day was less than a week away and I was ready. A day or so later I received a phone call from Mr. Carl, requesting a follow-up visit to go over a few items. I agreed to the day and time without any thought of an obstacle or anything seriously in the way of my admission... I just assumed we had missed a signature or something. It hadn't crossed my mind ever so slightly that this meeting could involve something more serious or perhaps we could have taken care of it on the first day.

When I arrived the receptionist was obviously informed of my visit and was prepared to usher me directly to Mr. Carl’s office. Her demeanor was no indication of this being something more than a routine visit. As I entered the office Mr. Carl politely stood and extended his hand. I was beginning to feel a bit concerned. The greeting had too much of the formality one would expect on their first visit...and then there was the look on Mr. Carl’s face. My impression was that there was more to this visit than I had anticipated. I took a seat and Mr. Carl got directly to the point: One of the instructors had expressed concern about my long…ish hair, and primarily was most concerned about my facial hair. She carried enough influence to convince Mr. Carl that my appearance was unacceptable, requesting that I not be allowed to enroll with a beard. I felt like I was back in high school. I wanted to be clear that it was the facial hair; apparently it was specifically the facial hair. Without the slightest hesitation, although I felt the request to shave my beard was ridiculously petty, I assured Mr. Carl we absolutely did not have a problem and that I was willing to enter on the prescribed day clean shaven. He seemed a little embarrassed and assured me that he personally did not have a problem with my appearance. This was the beginning of an ongoing pickle that some people had, up you know where.


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