A small excerpt from A Jew Returns Home, reviewed this week, about a Baal Tshuva making his debut in a head covering... The format, as we noted then, is Q. and A. From Chapter Eleven: Head Tales:
Q. What happened when you walked into the office for the first time with a kippa on your head? By the way, what color did you choose for this auspicious occasion?
A. I think the kippa was brown; I'm sure the face was red. Anyway, as I drove to work I was playing over the various scenarios in my mind. As I pulled into the parking lot, I thought to myself, Well, here I am. How will my coworkers react? I sat in the car for a few moments, feeling slightly sick from the anxiety. "Here goes!" I said to myself as I locked the car and walked toward the plant gate.
I imagined that as I would enter the office, drums would roll, music would blare and a spotlight would be focused on my head. Everyone would look at me in astonishment, and their jaws would drop as I slowly sank through the floor.
In fact, it was not like that at all.
I walked into the office, and my supervisor, Mike, was the first to greet me. Eyeing my kippa, he asked, "Is it a holiday today or something?"
"No," I said.
Then he asked, "Is this just for today, or is it a permanent addition?"
"It's a permanent addition," I replied.
"Oh. Okay," he said and returned to his work.
Then Bob, an older worker and a jolly fellow, came out of his office, "Hey, look at you!" he said in a loud voice. "What, you put a halo on? Are you trying to be more holy?"
"Well," I said hesitantly, "I guess we all ought to try."
The next one to appear was Lou, the department head. He came out of his office to see what all the commotion was about. He took one look at me, shrugged his shoulders, turned around, and then walked back into his office.
And that was it! No drums! No music! No spotlight! Just relief! And once again I learned a very important lesson, the same lesson I had learned when I told them I couldn't work on Shabbat. Sometimes, when you have to face something, you make it into such a nightmare in your mind that it paralyzes you and prevents you from doing what you know you must. The fears are always worse than the reality. You have to just jump into the water, like Nachshon... If you just do what you have to, you will discover that it is much easier than you thought.
[Aren't you curious to know how he licked the Shabbat problem? Read the book; it's fascinating!]