All George Had To Do Was Use His Don Head

George Stephen figured he should probably just forget about it. No one had heard about it, and most didn’t believe him. I figured he had probably inhaled too many fumes from the Powell River mill. But George insisted he’d seen it, only now he was thinking he might be the only one on the planet who had.

 George would say often that one night, more than 40 years ago on Hockey Night in Canada, the Boston Bruins, in Toronto for a game against the Leafs, were issued a delayed penalty, and something odd happened. As soon as the referee raised his arm, Bruin goaltender Don Head, instead of skating to the bench for an extra attacker, smartly skated to the blueline, goalie pads and all, and played a short shift as a defenceman until a Leaf finally touched the puck, and back to his net Mr. Head went.

 Hmmm. Sure, George. The goalie played out on the powerplay? Maybe Foster Hewitt sang the national anthem. Maybe Conn Smythe took on Whipper Billy Watson in a pre-game wrestling match. What, the Bruins didn’t have a defenceman who could go out instead? C’mon!

 George insisted, though. When Chicago goalie great Glenn Hall came to Powell River, George asked him, but Hall had no idea what our man was talking about. A letter to the Hockey Hall of Fame garnered a reply. All they could say was they had no idea, but if it were true, it would make a great story. George even asked Powell River resident Andy McCallum, who had played with Head for the Ontario Senior Windsor Bulldogs, but all Andy could say was he wouldn’t be surprised because Head was such a good skater, even with goalie pads on.

 There was only one last thing George could do. Ask the man himself, Don Head. If he could find him.

 Through sleuthing that would do Dick Tracy proud, George discovered that Head was alive and well and living in Portland, Oregon, and on the phone he got. After mistakenly getting a few others of the same name in Portland first, the goalie was finally tracked down, and George asked that big nagging question. Did he leave his net and become a defenceman with his goalie equipment on?

 Head thought for a second, and gave an answer George wasn’t really hoping for. “I don’t remember ever doing that,” he said, and after a few more pleasantries, George politely said goodbye. He was even more convinced to just forget the whole thing.

 And that should be the end of the story.

 But the phone rang the very next night at George’s house, and sure enough, Don Head was on the line from Portland. “Hello George,” he said. “If I’m ever in a trivia game and need an answer, I’m phoning you.” George asked why, and Head continued. “You were absolutely right. My daughter and I went through my scrapbooks and found the write-up of me skating up the ice and playing the point on the power play. It was a Saturday night, Hockey night in Canada, and we beat Toronto 4-3. I’d forgotten all about that.”

 Head wasn’t finished there. He sent a copy of the news story to George and enclosed a little note that said: “Maybe this will convince everyone that you didn’t really inhale those fumes at the mill after all.”

 It took more than 40 years, but George Stephen finally has proof that he saw what he saw. All it took was asking Don Head himself. It was all true. The goalie played the point, pads and all.

2 thoughts on “All George Had To Do Was Use His Don Head”

  1. DK,

    Miserable? UH? I’m being thoughtful here. Helpful, even. Hey, It seems to be pretty much standard in human nature to resent anybody who stands out in a positive way, in a way that makes them appear `better’ than those around them, even in the most banal of ways. It is also human nature to resent those whom they consider to be inferior to suddenly morph into the opposite of what everybody thinks. The Poster Boy for these truths is the 1st C Roman emperor Claudius. As long as everybody `knew’ he was a doofus supreme, he was safe and secure, he could go about the biz of ruling the known world in peace, do what he wanted on the side and everybody was happy and more importantly Claudius stayed alive. BUT as soon as he started doing normal emperor stuff such as conquering & killing, pillaging, raping & enslaving foreigners, i.e the Brits, offing & exiling some nay-sayers, boffing younger women,he was doomed. Yup, ol Claudius, who, incidentally seems to me to have been a decent sort of fellow, didn’t last long as soon as people started to realize that he had been fooling them with his `doofus’ persona. Now, I’m not saying George is an emperor or anything, or that now that he’s shown everybody up that he’s gonna shortly be `fed to all the fishes’ out there, or even that local blockheads like Gaston will stop talking to him. What I am saying is that, if you must stand out, it is a far far better thing to do so in a non-threateningt way, in a way that permits others to chuckle at the sound of your name, to shake their heads with bemusement, to patronize and humour you. This way, the free beer keeps flowing and the girls are always friendly, nothing like a harmless doofus to make one feel empowered in a arbitrary and often dangerous world. If George HAD to let people know he knew not only what he knew but what they didn’t and what they mocked him for, then he shoulda got somebody else to spill the beans so that way he gets the credit without losing his highly desired doofus status. So, if you’re really concerned for him, maybe you should let PR know that he’s seen, well, whatever he’s seen that nobody else has. Hey, if you play your cards right you just might be able to get a cut of his action.

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