Susan Shinn column: Running wild with changes

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 11, 2007

By Susan Shinn

Salisbury Post

Daddy always says that the least expensive way to change the look of a room is to buy a gallon of paint.

I took his advice to heart and changed my hair color last week.

My mom put it on for me. I called her up one evening and asked her if she’d come over and do it.

“I’ll tell you right up front you won’t like the color,” I said.


If you know Mom, you know this is a rarity.

But she came anyway, and applied Nice ‘N’ Easy Dark Auburn.

My usual color is Extra Light Natural Blonde.

So it’s different.

Way different.

The whole time, she was saying stuff like, “I can’t believe you’re doing this!” “That blonde is so pretty!” (heavy sighs and blowing noises) “This just makes me hurt.”

I’m like, “Mom! It’s just hair color! Come on! It’ll be OK.”

So finally she goes back next door and I wash my hair and dry it.

I call her up.

“I like it,” I said.

“I’ll be right over,” she said.

She met me in the kitchen.

“Oh,” she said. “I like it.”

Daddy said that now I look like a member of the family. I didn’t get that one.

My Post colleagues let out a collective shout when I showed up in the newsroom last Friday morning. Katie Scarvey liked it. Linda Braswell liked it. She even said she might do her hair that same color but as of yet it’s still her regular salt-and-pepper look (mostly pepper).

I went into Chris Verner’s office — our editorial page editor — and he turned around and looked at me over the top of his glasses and said, “May I help you?”

I glared at him.

He let out a small scream.

Luckily, others were less loud.

After the initial excitement died down, I realized that it’s easy to get lost in the crowd with dark hair rather than blonde.

I could move about the city undetected. I felt like some kind of super hero. Hair Color Girl.

Maybe not.

January is the time that a lot of folks are making changes.

The J.F. Hurley Family YMCA has been packed to the gills. Those of us who are regulars (and I use that term loosely where I’m concerned) just grin and bear it and squeeze on in.

I’ve decided to take up running. Mike Kluttz, a friend from high school who has always had beautiful form, helped me one day with my technique. He was kind enough not to point and laugh as I ran around the upstairs track.

Stand up straight. Don’t use too much energy. Pretend you’re gliding. Pretend you’re holding a potato chip in each hand.

Didn’t get that one either.

So far, I’ve worked up to about a half-mile without stopping. I want to make a mile, but I usually have to stop when my feet start hurting — and when I must pull over and grab my supplemental oxygen.

I think I’m ready to buy a pair of running shoes. That’s a signal of a commitment to running, right? And that’s all you need, besides a good mental attitude. Mike says that at our age, we sometimes have to run through the pain to the other side.

In the current issue of Shape magazine, Heather Locklear talks about her top 10 rules for healthy living. Number 8 is to say your prayers. I was impressed that she’d include that.

Prayers will come in handy up on the track.

Contact Susan Shinn at 704-797-4289 or