Last week we took our friends Gord and Liz to a fine restaurant to celebrate Liz’s graduation from nursing school. I ordered some chicken baked in mushrooms and hemmed in by veggies. The waitress brought it and waited as we prayed, as we thanked God for our many blessings. When she returned to ask how the food was, we told her: Fantastic. And then…then I took the next bite. Now, if you are eating as you read this, you may want to put down your food as I attempt, as delicately as possible, to tell you what ensued.

Did you ever pop something into your mouth and suddenly realize it was not what you expected? Like Bugs Bunny eating a carrot only to find that the carrot is covered in fluff. Big hairy deal, you say. But the menu had not listed, “Lime chicken smothered with mushrooms, and stuffed with an 18-inch hair.” Trust me, it is most difficult to remove a hair of this span with dignity and grace. My friends’ eyes were big as dinner plates. My wife was horrified. This could have been a very hairy situation were it not for the fact that Ramona started laughing. “It was the look on your face,” she said. “I couldn’t help it.”

The waitress came to check on us. I said, “Um, don’t tell anyone just yet, but there’s a hair in my chicken.” She gasped. “It’s not one of mine, is it?” “No. It’s far longer than yours,” I said, pointing to where it was peeking out from under a napkin.” She gasped some more. I said, “It’s not one of mine.” She laughed. Then gasped again. She couldn’t stop apologizing. I told her we were okay. We visit third world countries where you don’t want to know what’s in the chicken. The rest of the food is very good, I said. She was so relieved. Would we like dessert, she asked. My friend Gord loves puns. He said we’d mullet over. You know, there’s a time to point out what’s wrong, but I believe we Christians should treat those who serve us well, remembering that we are called to serve too, and to model Christ.

Over an ice cream dessert at a different restaurant, we couldn’t stop laughing about what we can give thanks for when encountering a hair in one’s chicken. Ramona said, “The hair had been cooked.” Liz said, “You had a nurse nearby in case you choked.”

I was thankful I wasn’t charged extra for the hair and I got a free meal. Gord said, “That the restaurant had hair conditioning.” I groaned. “Enough with the puns,” I said. “Rest a-sheared,” replied Gord, “I have more hair puns, but I’ll shave them for later.”