Fred, the local barber, is the most negative person in our town. John, the president of the Rotary Club, was sitting in his chair one day, extremely excited. "Guess what, Fred," he said.
Fred muttered, "What?"
"My wife and I are going to Italy for a month."
"I've heard all about Italy," Fred replied. "The people are rude. The food is terrible. The countryside is ugly."
John paid no attention and continued, "And I'm going to spend a week in Rome."
"Big deal," said Fred. "Bunch of broken down old buildings."
Undeterred, John went on. "And I'm going to visit the Vatican. I'm even going to have an audience with the Pope."
"Oh, yeah," said Fred, "I know about those so-called papal audiences. You'll be packed into the square with a million other dopes and the Pope will wave from the balcony. Big deal."
A month went by and John was once again in the barber chair. "So how was your trip to Italy?" asked Fred. "As bad as I thought it would be, right?"
"Not at all," John responded. "The people were warm and friendly. The food was wonderful. The countryside was gorgeous."
"But Rome is a dump. Am I right?" the barber persisted.
"No,"John answered, "Rome was delightful. We could have stayed a year and not run out of fascinating places to see."
"And how about your visit with the Pope?" asked the barber, expecting his prediction to be fulfilled.
John answered, "Well, I have to admit, you were half-right about that. The Pope was up there on the balcony and I was back in the crowd with thousands of people, but two uniformed Swiss guards came over and told me the Pope wanted to talk to me. They escorted me right up onto the balcony with him."
"What did he tell you?" asked the barber.
"He didn't tell me anything. In fact, he had a question for me."
"Well, what did he ask?" asked the incredulous barber.
John took a minute to allow the suspense to mount. "The Pope said to me, 'Tell me, my son, where did you get that terrible haircut?'"