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Every day this week, I have suffered a sporadic sense of regret for having my hair cut too short.

Last Thursday, I went to a new salon to get a haircut. I have sported the same boring hair style for almost 20 years, when it grew long, I cut it shorter, always to about shoulder length. But my young stylist suggested to cut shorter, to the neck line. I carelessly said, “Yes.” Why not? It grows back!

My stylist cut and snipped at my hair very swiftly and confidently. I was impressed. She then spent a very generous amount of time to blow dry and style my hair. When they charge you a great deal of money just to cut your hair shorter, they always spend a lot of time brushing it to justify the cost.

I looked good! I beamed into the mirrors as she positioned me to look all around my head.

See, I never bother to blow dry my hair. It is not that I don’t care to look good, but that my laziness trumps my desire to look pretty on a daily basis.

That late afternoon, I went to pick up my 15 year-old from school.

“Wow! Your hair is so short.” teen.

“What do you think?” me, turning my head this way and that for her.

“I like it!” 15 year-old.

“Really?! I am so glad you like it. I was kind of worried. It is so short.” I said happily.

“You look VERY Asian.” the teen.

“What do you mean? I look very Asian everyday, even without this haircut.” me.

“Well. I usually see you as a white Asian, but today, you look like a F.O.B. Asian.” 15 year-old.

I was STUNNED!!! How could I ever be considered a white Asian?!! I am fluent in Chinese, versed in Chinese home cooking, I love stinky tofu, and for crying out loud, I own a business called!!

I glared at the teen, whose charm was taking a nose dive right before my eyes. I am even less happy to be called a F.O.B. Asian.

“What??” 15 year-old asked weakly, sensing maternal displeasure.

“I thought you said that you like my new hair cut!” me.

“I do. You look good, in a very Asian kind of way.” 15 year-old.

“You called me a F.O.B.!! It is generally considered an insult, in a name calling kind of way” me.

“I don’t mean it as an insult. You look like people in China, Taipei, Hong Kong.” 15 year-old.

“You never even been to Hong Kong!” me.

“I was in their airport once.” the teen.

I turned to stare her down.

My teen stared back at me, then broke into a big smile, “Now, if you just dye your hair reddish color and walk around wearing a mask, you would perfect that look.”

Reddish haired Asian woman wearing a face mask...

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Arriving home yesterday, I had a good laugh when I found a brand new Yellow Page phone book sitting on our porch.

A new Yellow Pages arrived at our door

I contemplated taking it directly to our recycle bin… What a waste!

I decided to offer it as a history lesson to my kids, like I did a few months ago when we found a lonesome phone booth.

“Hey kids, check this out. Someone left it outside of our door for us.” I dropped the heavy book onto our kitchen island.

“What is it?” kids. The kids eyed the free book suspiciously.

“Open it and see for yourself.” me.

They opened the book and flipped to a few random sections of it. Clearly, pages after pages of perfectly serious lists of phone numbers had them puzzled.

Just names and phone numbers

“Look, it says plumbers here. It has all their names and phone numbers. What is it for?” 12 year-old.

“Wow, it’s just a list of people’s phone numbers. Is this a phone book?” teen.

“Right. This is the Yellow Pages, a phone book of local businesses. So if you ever need a plumber you can call one of them.” me.

“How do you know which one to call? And where is the review?” teen.

“No reviews! You just pick a name and a number to call when you need service or a product.” me.

“You had no idea and just had to make a call?” teen, frowning.

“The old days were tough on us.” me, sad faced. “Although, miraculously, when we needed a plumber and called someone off of that book, you could expect a plumber to show up and fix your pipe.”

That’s right, I used to get my plumbing fixed without learning how my plumber had previously replaced a family’s old water-heater with superhero speed, or how this same plumber had previously liberated a minor water leak into an all out flood.

I asked my children what we should do with our Yellow Pages. They told me to recycle it. We have Google and Yelp now.

I felt bad for the brand new book, and especially for the poor tree that had to be sacrificed for such a needless purpose. I guess it’s better to recycle it, so it can reincarnate quickly into a more useful existence.

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