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Dont Mess Up Your Familys Portrait by Flattopped Joel (recovered)
Dont Mess Up Your Familys Portrait
By Flattoped Joel
It was sometime in July 1970, I was 15 years old, my sister whom was home from college and my two younger brothers along with my parents were to have our pictures taken for the family portrait. We all got all dressed up in our Sunday best and Mom slicked down my brothers and myself with brylcreem (she used more than a little dab),parted on the side and combed over then swept back overtop of our headed in the worse possible hairstyle possible for a 15 year old in the 70`s. She then used a can of hairspray to glue it down. When we got to the studio I slipped in the bathroom and rinsed my head and towel dried it the best I could. I then combed my hair over but down over my forehead, (well somewhat over my forehead). At least it looked better in my opinion. Now,everyone was sitting waiting for me to come in and stand behind my parents for the shot. I made sure my parents didn`t see me before the pictures were taken. After several shots were taken we were done and I reached in my pocket,grabbed my comb and combed my hair back somewhat so my parents wouldn`t know what happened. I was so smart,I thought, my parents would only see these after they were made and then they wouldn`t be able to do anything else but buy the pictures and be a little upset about my hairstyle change. I figured they would get over it. A week later my parents went to look at the proofs. When they came back I asked them to see the pictures they bought. My mother said, `OH, WE` didn`t buy any pictures. We had a problem with the proofs, you see they tried to slip in someone else in your place. It wasn`t the son we wanted to see in those pictures so we re-scheduled a sitting for next saturday afternoon. It cost us $25.00 extra which will be taken out of that sons money he earns, until its paid back`. So the next saturday rolled around and I thought I would have time to go swimming with a friend until it was time to come home to get ready for those pictures I really dreaded to undergo the brylcreem and hairspraying again. As I was walking out the door my mom said hey just where do you think your going off, I think you and your father have somewhere to go this morning, so just don`t be so quick to try and take off this morning. I wondered where we were going. In about fifteen minutes my dad walked thru, the den and said ok Joel lets go, we got to hurry and get back here to get everyone rounded up and dressed for our retakes of the pictures you messed up. So I got in the car, not knowing where we were going, my father didn`t say a word, he was unusually quite and an uneasy feeling set over me. My fears was recognised when we parked in front of Mr. Hall`s barbershop. Now when we go to the barbers my dad usually took my two younger brothers and myself. This was a solo trip with pop. Nothing felt right about this trip. I said what are we stopping here for? Dad said nothing and walked in the shop, he held the door open and I followed. He went to sit down in the waiting room chairs just across from the empty barber chair. He pointed to the seat and said hop on up there. Now my stomach was pumping juices and I felt like I might passout. My head was a spinning. We just had our haircuts last saturday, just before they went to view the proofs. That`s when it hit me, this might be my payback for messing up the first setting. My greatest fear was recognised after the barber asked, `well, what do you want done today?`, in a word my father answered....FLATTOP!!! He then stood up and walked over to me in the chair, and said a HIGH AND TIGHT FLATTOP. I want to see skin on the sides and back. And I want the top sheared close to the skin. He said without a doubt, I want it very,very short. He said we aren`t going to have any mess ups this time with our pictures. He said a nice clean short haircut. And butchwax the front real good so it will stand up smart. And if he messes that up then I have a razor at the house, we will not need to comeback here to correct the problem. Mr. Hall clicked on the clippers and very quickly my sides and backs were clipper shaved. He then took the guardless clippers and ran them over the top of my head leaving a little tuff of hair up front, but cut very flat on top. I could see skin in the middle of the top of my head. Something I had never seen before. When he was done, I felt like crying but I never let them see me cry. I got out of the chair and went to the car. We had the pictures made and today it still hangs in my parents livingroom. Three blondedheaded children, one girl and two young boys, and one nearly baldheaded boy with a slight strip of very light blond hair,standing at full attention, in front and flat on top. When I am there and people see the picture and me together, they say how much I haven`t changed. You see I still have that very same cut even today.