The wax hits my back and I brace myself for the Red Hot Rip of Karma.

Years ago,  I laughed as my father-in-law rolled up his sleeve at the request of his daughter to “practice” her IV inserting skills. Not a chance am I rolling up my sleeve for this nursing student, but good on you!

Now, I am the father and it is my daughter, the esthetician student,  who requests I “roll up my sleeve” for her to “practice” her waxing skills.  Gentle sounds of the spa channel on accu radio fill the air in the Student Spa at Lakeland College, and the steady beat of Nirvana plays in my heart, guard against giving any priceless advice.  The tear of the cloth shatters the tranquility of the room. E’ Paskopitam! The cloth plucks hair that has long taken for granted the safety if its roots within my back.


It starts with filling out a medical history form. My daughter learns of my high blood pressure through her review of the form. Her shock does not surprise me. Discussing medical issues is almost taboo within our family system. I experience a weight and tension within myself that evokes a desire to return to the comfort of superficiality whenever the subject arises. Although I would like to pretend that I didn’t tell her out of fear it would upset her or that it was just trivial, it is more likely that I have withheld this information to unconsciously preserve my own comfort, not hers.

Unfortunately for my back hair, the medical condition does not prevent me from receiving treatment.

The next step in the assessment process is to identify the grain pattern of my back hair and determine a plan of attack. My daughter shares her assessment with the instructor who confirms that I have a mess going on back there.  We make small talk and I share the story of how Karma found me. My daughter, who has undergone hundreds of IV’s, assures me that this will be much worse. They confirm the temperature of the wax and transition from assessment to practice.


I make no sound when the first strip of hair is ripped from my back.  My daughter, however, is unable to conceal the laughter under her breath. Mid-way through she was able to draw an (oww-lelujah) from my lips. My momentary loss of manly control fills the air with her laughter, the volume kicked up a notch by the laughter of her colleague emanating through the thin curtain separating us from the adjacent room. I blame her lack of skill.

“You ok Dad? You are allowed to take a break.”

“Pardon me! I am getting very reactive to your use of the word “allowed” it puts you in a position of authority that I am not comfortable with. Would you talk to your clients this way?”

“Sorry Dad, Your welcome to take a break.”

“Thank you, that’s much better.”

“So do you need a break Dad?”


“Ah come on Dad don’t be scared to use your pussy bar.”

Karma you really are a …

Reflection [Thinc]

A certain amount of pain is inevitable during the process of hot wax hair removal. The technician influences the amount of pain based on his/her skill. This is also true with parenting. I reflect back on the amount of pain I inflicted on my oldest daughter. Much of this pain was just part of the process, but much of it was attributable to a lack of skill. I consider the way I am showing up with my youngest daughter after years of work on self and parenting/relationship skills. It is debatable whether this reduced pain infliction is good or bad for my youngest, it depends.

Is the long-term growth of an individual retarded or accelerated by unskilled leaders? It depends. Although unskilled leaders may actually promote positive growth for some individuals, chances are very high that organizational culture is negatively impacted when leaders inflict pain on subordinates as a result of low skill. Like parenting, there is discomfort inherent in the process of leading – this discomfort is growth producing. Differentiating between “productive discomfort” arising from the process and “cancerous conditions” propagated by leadership is assessable. Increasing Leadership skill takes practice. Working on what matters most requires reflection.

Closing Thoughts

My youngest daughter (now 5) recently requested I “roll up my sleeves” and play tag with her. I was busy that day, this is not something that I would have normally had the presence of mind to do back when my oldest, now 19, was 5. The chase is on and I tag the youngest.

“I got you!”

“You didn’t get me Dad.”

“Yes, I did! I got your hair.”

“Ya Dad – that’s not me, hair is like a plant, it grows from the dirt,  it is not – the dirt.”

There is a wisdom in this fierce little competitor beyond her years. If there is any justice to Karma, she will take up practice in hairdressing or massage therapy, but I fear Karma has a twisted sense of humor and that I am destined to be the butt of a joke on a path to proctology.