The Squeaky Wheel

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying. The squeaky wheel gets the oil. I’m sure you’ve even seen it demonstrated. Maybe at home. Your sister/brother/significant other frequently points out the unfairness of life, the smallness of their dessert, the rudeness of their waitress. Oddly enough, the next time around your beloved relative really does get the better portion.

Or maybe you’ve seen it at work. A fellow employee complains often and vehemently to a supervisor. Somehow that same employee manages to get exactly what he/she wanted. Bigger office, better title, more money.

And then one day you decide that maybe this principal will work for you.

Let’s just say, hypothetically of course, that you got a bad haircut. And please remember this is all conjecture. A piece of random fiction. No one ever gets bad haircuts. Least of all me. All of my haircuts are perfect.

But if we wanted to imagine such an event, it might go like this . . .

You arrive at a salon with great anticipation. One of your dearest friends gets her hair done here and she always looks fabulous. Of course, that could be because she is beautiful—but this realization can only be made in hindsight. If you had thought about it beforehand, the end result would have been much different.

You sit in the chair. Describe how you want your hair cut.

Strangely the stylist seems distracted. Is it because he’s color processing another client’s hair right now? Is it because he forgot to pay his rent? Is it because his underwear is too tight? There’s no way to know what’s going on inside his mind. If anything.

You wonder if he’s listening to you, but finally you acquiesce. Of course he’s an intelligent and considerate individual. He must have heard your instructions and being a consummate professional, he has absorbed them completely.

Snip. Snip.

Tufts of hair fly. Fall on the floor.

Scissors swing through the air at dangerous speed.

Layers. You are seeing layers. But you wanted your hair all one length. Is it shorter in the front than in the back? Is it feathered around your face?

Is it even remotely like what you requested?

Too stunned to speak, you leave the shop. Thinking that perhaps when you get home you’ll be able to fix it. Maybe if you style it yourself—

Hours later you realize there’s no hope. This is awful. It will to take months for this mangled mess to grow out. And even then, who is trustworthy in the hairstyling hierarchy? Are there any who wield a comb and brush that can be called honorable?

If you were married, right about now your husband would say that you need to call that stylist and let him know how you feel. Remember, the squeaky wheel gets the oil. And you are upset. You don’t normally do this sort of thing. Usually you let it go. Granted you cry in your pillow, wear sackcloth and ashes, and refuse to go out in public unless absolutely necessary. But you never call someone up and tell him what a bad job he did, either in cutting your hair or in listening to what you wanted.

Well, you never call. Except this time.

You know, squeaky wheel and all.

Snarl. Growl. Bang. Grrrr. Grrrr. Squeak.

Resolution? Not so much. Feel better? Not really. Still have a bad haircut? Yup.


Maybe it’s time to update the old saying. Change it to something like:

The squeaky wheel rolls downhill, really fast, destroying everything in its path.


The squeaky wheel irritates all the other wheels and should just shut up.


The squeaky wheel is probably broken and should take a short vacation.


The squeaky wheel is just a wheel, not a person, and any deductions, moral or otherwise, made on its behalf should be disregarded as hearsay and will not stand up as evidence in a court of law, nor should they be considered valuable to those who are seeking wisdom of a proverbial nature.


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