Regular Dad by Deke Cutter (recovered)
By Deke Cutter
My dad, what a guy! Dad was a career Navy officer. He went to the Acadamy (Anapolis to you) and had a long impressive career. Dad is an incredibly cool guy and I would do anything for him. It was tough growing up in a Navy family, though. Dad was often away and we had to move around quite a bit, but Dad and mom made it work for me and my sister. One of the things that I really admired about dad was that he could generally leave the Navy at the door. When he got home from work, he was just a regular dad and let us be regular kids. Not that dad was ever anything other than squared away. In or out of uniform, dad was always squared away (he still is). He kept himself in shape and he always looked sharp. Dad kept his hair short, but not extreme. He had it long enough to comb on top and part on the side. He used Vitalis to keep his hair neat and combed back off his forehead. Generally, I was allowed to have my hair pretty much how I wanted to, as long as it was neat and clean....generally.
If we were moving to a new place or if there was a change of command ceremony or that kind of thing, dad would take me aside and say, "Luke, its time to get you regulared up. That meant a trip to the barber and a haircut like dad`s. I didn`t particularly like those haircuts because the barbers would usually leave me looking scapled on the sided and with my cowlick sticking up in the back. But when we were done, dad would always say "your looking well within regs now, sailor," and I`d walk a little taller the rest of the day. Dad would always let me grow my hair back out and mom would always let me know how proud dad was of me for being such a good son. Dad retired when I was in college. I hadn`t "regulared up" in some time. In fact, I was playing in a rock band on the weekends and my hair was pretty long, l most down to my shoulders. We had several gigs coming up and as the lead singer, I really looked forward to playing the rock star. I went home for Christmas and dad said to me, Luke, are you planning on coming to my retirement ceremony in March? " "Of course, sir, I wouldn`t miss it." Well, son, your a man now, and I can`t force you, but I hope you`ll think about regularing up for me."
I was torn, I`d be laughed off the stage if I showed up for our spring gigs with one of dad`s "regulars." If I didn`t I`d be letting dad down. I told dad I would try not to disappoint him. The rest of that Christmas break was tough. I talked to my sister about it and she told me to talk to dad. "You know daddy will understand, he is so proud of you, academic star, great musician, he even follows your itntramural teams." "Really," I said, "I never realized." Sis must have spoken to dad because before I went back to school, dad came to me and said, "son, you don`t have to cut all your hair off for my retirement, really, what`s the Navy going to do if you don`t?" "Thanks dad."
When dad`s retirement came, I couldn`t show up looking like a hippy. I went to a fancy salon, got about 6 inches cut off, and had her blow dry and spray it so that it looked pretty conservative. When I got to the ceremony, I was the only guy there with a fancy "do." I felt lousy about it. Dad made a big deal of "my sacrifice," and told me how much he appreciated it, but I felt that I had let the side down.
Well, dad`s been retired for about ten years now. I`m married and my son is 8 years old. Dad and mom are enjoying life. He still does consulting work and they split the year between their homes in the DC suburbs and Florida. Dad is still as squared away as ever. Me, I wear my hair about as long as it was when I went to dad`s retirement. It covers my ears and I still have a big floppy forelock that gets into my eyes if I don`t push it back. Hey, I design high end furniture. Its kind of an artsy environment so its not an issue for me. Little Matt, named after dad, has sort of a Beatles cut. His mom trims the bangs out of his eyes when it gets too long and we take him to one of those kiddy kuts places a couple times a year for a trim. My sister married a gung ho Marine, her kids, like her husband, are usually just about bald. Everybody is happy.
Well, the family planned to spend Spring break down in Florida. Dad and mom asked if Matt could come down a little early and spend some extra time with them. Dad had cleared the decks and was going to spend some time fishing and relaxing. Mom said that dad really enjoyed Matt and that he was a whole lot easier to spend time with than "when the marines land" (as mom referred to visits from my sister`s kids.) We got the ok from Matt`s school, dad flew up and picked up Matt and they flew down to Florida gether. When we arrived a week later, dad was waiting for us at the security entrance. "Where`s Matt?" I asked. "Daddy, I`m right here" I looked down and saw a junior version of my dad. Matt had been "regulared up." "Son, what happened to you?" I said. "Do you like it dad? Gramps took me to a barber shop. I asked if I could have a haircut like his." I looked at my dad who was looking kind of sheepish. "Luke, I promise, it was Matty`s idea, I hope you don`t mind." How could I mind. It was bonding between my boy and my dad.
It turned out that Matt really loved his haircut and was so proud to show me how "gramps" had taught him to comb it. He even had that same cowlick as me, but he thought it was cool. The day before my sister and her family arrived, Matty said to me, "dad, you should get your hair cut like me and gramps." "Why son," I asked him, "I kind of like my hair the way it is." "Its ok like that, dad, but gramps is Navy and Uncle Danny is a Marine, we need to have three Navy guys here when the three marines arrive tomorrow." Kids, they make all sense go out the window with simple logic. There was no answer for that other than to get in the car and have Matty take me to the barbershop.
The barber recognized Matt. I got in the chair and asked him to cut my hair like my son, here and like my dad. The barber said "oh, you want me to regular you up, like the Admiral?" "Yes please." The first thing to go was my beautiful forelock, six inches onto the cape. My ears were uncovered, my sideburns removed. My neck was shining with scalp that had not seen the light of day, since dad`s last promotion. The familiar smell of Vitalis finished the haircut. I got out of the chair and felt lighter and younger, like a kid again.
When we got back to dad`s he couldn`t believe his eyes. "What brought this on, he asked" Well dad, it was Matty`s idea that we show the Marines that we are a Navy team, but I`ve also felt like I owed you this one since your retirement." Dad`s eyes got a little misty. He pulled me and Matty close and said, you boys are the greatest."
When we got home, Matt decided that he was keeping with his new short haircut. But I let mine grow out. But every time we planned to see my folks, Matt would work me until I got regulared up again. After two years, I gave up the battle and now I`m the most regular looking designer in our firm.