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Toupee Toss

February 13, 2007

Like a cast off clipping from one of Lucille Ball’s fire-engine red wigs sold in a garage sale, it sat upon the unsuspecting man’s head who did not know what Nubble knew. Such as that Starbucks is really Starbarks; a place where you come to pet an Australian Cattle Herder / Border Mix. Rumor has it, they sell coffee too.

The man-fur was the color of redwood decking, the long layered strands like deep veined grains of worn redwood planks in a distinct mismatch against the rusty ruddy-white hair of his neck and temple which had attempted to age gracefully only to be shamefully shunned by the chap. The tips of this thin carpet had been dipped in a gentle golden highlight to enhance it, years in the past. It danced like disgruntled ocean waves as he shook his head in an animated discussion with his wife.

NubbleAnd while as I saw, what the barristers, and valets, and patrons saw – as a absurd attempt to fight and insult Father Time, Nubble simply saw red. This peaceful, though energetic, pooch which had secured me at the pound where more folks should get their pets. This affectionate canine that had soft-mouthed the rescue of two newborn kitties from the monsoon rains. This intuitive dog that knows ten-minutes in advance before Evan arrives with UPS packages. This protective four-legged being of God that has blocked children from traffic and caught a burglar, just saw red. Now it was not the red rage that a bull allegedly sees, but to Nubble it was something out of place.

I saw him lift his black nose to sniff behind the man’s chair but perhaps I was too absorbed in one of Marty Becker’s books to intervene. I did hear the gasp, the growl, and the guffaws. The gasp of the man as his shiny head felt the cool air, the growl as Nubble shook his wig from side to side, and the guffaws of about thirty on-lookers. Well, thirty-one for as I went to apologize I was fighting back tears of laughter.

I told Nubble to drop it, twice and then thrice – concerned if I reached for the man’s toupee turned toss-toy that Nubs might revert to a game of toupee tug. It lay there helplessly, defensively, definitely lifeless, as he wagged his tail and the man attempted to wag his tongue, outdone by his spouse’s declaration, “I always hated that damn thing.” I gingerly picked it up by the cowlick turned doglick, offering in my best attempt at a serious voice, to see if and where I might take it to have it cleaned.

The man jerked the hairpiece from my hand, rushed into the restroom, only to return with it moist and matted to his head. The patio remained silence. Well, except for a titter here and there and the sound of Nubble’s proud tail slapping the floor as the man grabbed his wife’s arm less delicately than Nubble had swiped his hairpiece, soon to unfashionably disappear into Scottsdale’s Fashion Square Mall.

Another thing that Nubble knew, was that dog is most certainly man’s best friend. And he knew that friends don’t let friends wear bad toupees.

Pierre O’Rourke serves as a Media Host to Authors and Celebrities on tours, and is an author who often writes on the patios of coffee shops with his loyal companion, Nubble.

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