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I'm Not Alone part 2 by Jonathan


"Dad, will you take David home now?" I ask.

"John, have him call his parents and tell them we're coming," my dad says.

"Ok, I will have him call," I say.

My best friend David had just spent the night at my house. He brought his sleeping bag and slept on my bedroom floor.It is just a week after Christmas in 1975. My brother Eric and I are on our Christmas vacation and don't have any school right now. David spends the night over about three times a month and our parents are good friends. My dad is about to drive him home.

"Can I use your phone to call my parents Mr. Johnson?" David asks.

"Go right ahead David," my dad says.

"Mr. Johnson, my dad wants to talk to you," David says.

David hands the phone to my dad. We both sit and listen to what this could be about. Maybe he gets to stay longer I think? They're talking awhile and we hear a lot of ok, ok's. Finally my dad hangs up the phone.

"David your parents want me to take you to get another haircut," my dad says.

"John you and your brother are both getting haircuts too, your hair is too long again," my dad says.

"Oh dad, it's not even that long," I say.

"Do we have to, no I don't want another short haircut dad," I beg.

"All three of you are going to the barbershop this morning and that's, that!" he yells.

My brother was playing in his room and hadn't even been aware yet what was about to happen. Last summer David's dad got my father to take David to the barbers with us. They were kind of wimpy parents and could never get David to cut his hair short. He'd always just got trims and in a couple weeks you couldn't even tell he'd gotten a haircut. Sometimes he even refused to get a trim. Almost by accident they discovered that if my dad took their son to the barber, he'd get what they considered a nice proper haircut.

Last summer just before school started we both had gotten shorn good up around the ears. This was humiliating in 1975. Kids at school laughed at us and told all kinds of lawnmower jokes. All the other kids had hair over their ears. That was nearly five months ago and finally my hair was now growing back covering my ears again. It looked like we were in for another shearing this morning though!

I had a feeling then that somehow my mom had turned over the haircut duties to my father now. It now seemed not just for my brother and I, but now he was in charge of David's haircuts too. He always told the barbers clip them real short up on the back and sides. There had to be skin showing way up high or he'd have them redo it. This was an eleven year old's nightmare in the 70s.

My father had grown up 20 years earlier when clipper short, flattops, crewcuts and butch haircuts were in style. He still cut his hair short as a marine. There was no explaining to him that haircut could just be a trim. He paid hard earned money for a haircut and wanted to see evidence that he'd gotten his money's worth. Why should a guy get out of the barber chair and still have hair covering his ears?

My mom on the other hand just let us tell the barber what we wanted done. This was how most of my haircut had been until last summer. I still hated haircuts, but knew I had a say in how short they would be.Once in third grade and when I was real small my dad had forced those clipper short haircuts on me. It seemed things were changing and now it looked liked my chances of growing my hair out again were gone.

"John, get Eric and David ready to go," my dad says.

"Eric, come on we are going to take David home and get a haircut too," I say.

"No, no I'm not getting a haircut!" yells Eric.

"OH YES YOU ARE ERIC, GET OUT HERE!" yells my dad.

"No way, I'm not going the Don's Barber Shop, mom will take me somewhere else," he says.

My brother was 9 and very stubborn. He had hair that was fairly long and liked it that way. One time a couple of years ago my dad took us both to Don's Barbershop for those clippers short specials and my brother threw a fit. He literally kicked and screamed in that barber chair. My dad had to hold him down. I must admit even though I hated getting my hair shorn off, it was the funniest thing to watch him kick and fight in that chair. It was almost worth the trip to Don's.

"ERIC, GET OUT HERE AND COME TO THE CAR WITH US NOW!" my dad yelled.

This time he meant business and you could tell. He slammed the door open and went to grab my little brother by the arm. It didn't take long and my brother was in the car. All four of us were riding in my dad's Mustang headed to Don's Barbershop. I sat up front with my dad. My brother and David were in the back seat.

It as a warm morning around 11 o'clock. The car windows were down and I noticed all three of us kids had hair blowing in the wind. I suddenly realized on the way home there wouldn't be any hair blowing in the wind. It would be too short.

I dreaded getting another haircut like this. Next Monday vacation would be over and I'd have to face more lawnmower jokes at school.

"What happened, did you get in a fight with a lawnmower? It looks like the lawnmower won! ha ha ha," all the kids would say.

I also hated my ears. They weren't that big, but they stuck out. They looked kind of thick, wavy and chubby too. With absolutely no hair around them it magnified this. Some people told me they looked cute. They would sometimes twist them down with their fingers. I really hated having my ears completely exposed. It looked like I'd have to get used to them now. Just when my hair had finally covered them, off it will come again.

I knew this wasn't really David's fault. In a way I did kind of blame his parents for starting this up again. If they had taken their own son to the barbers this morning we all wouldn't be heading to Don's Barbershop right now. I'd be out riding my bike and my dad wouldn't have even remembered to take us to get haircuts. I also knew that this would likely turn into a regular haircut routine. David, my brother and I driven on Saturday mornings to be clipped short by Don! The chance of me growing my hair long again was just about zero.

Soon we arrived and pulled in to the parking lot at Don's Barbershop. I dreaded this something terrible, but knew what to expect. We all got out of the car and walked into that dingy old shop. One guy in there getting his hair cut. It was an older man around 60. Don was just sitting watching tv.

"Hey Jake, you got quite a group here," Don says.

We all sit down in the black vinyl chairs. No one wants to go first of course. My dad tells him he wants a haircut this time and he goes first. He sits in Don's chair.

He says to Don, "Give me the usual flattop."

Don quickly complies and the clippers go into action. Don and my dad talk shooting the breeze about politics and grownup stuff.

In a few minutes the other barber is done and one of the three of us must get in that dreaded chair.

"Whose next," asks the other barber.

"I am," I reluctantly say.

"Are the kids getting flattops too Jake?" asks Don.

"That's not a bad idea, then they won't need haircuts for awhile," my dad says.

My heart starts pounding and I get panicked! Were they joking, a flattop! I never expected this. No, no!

"No dad, please not a flatttop," I say.

"Yes, that's a good idea, all three boys are getting flattops just like the old man," my dad says.

"A flattop yes?" asks the barber.

"Do it!" my dad tells him.

I could see the fear in the eyes of the other two boys. They knew they would be next. I wanted to run, just go anywhere else right then. It was going to be even worse than I thought, a flatttop. I didn't even know kids could get those. There was no stopping it now. Here came those awful buzzing Oyster hair clippers.

That barber pushed those clippers into the back of my head. I could feel the bare blades cutting the hair down to my scalp. The barber pushing my head this way and that. He used several different sets of clippers. He cut and tilted my head. Could see David looking like he was going to cry as he headed into Don's Barber chair next to me.

As I sat there trapped with that barber cape I thought my flattop would never be finished. Finally I could feel the clippers trimming the hairs from my neck and the barber loosen the tissue on the cape. The torture was nearly done.

"Well, take a look, what do you think," asks the barber.

Oh no! I see myself in the barber's mirror. The first thing I see is my chubby ears sticking out. There's no hair at all on the side of my head. The top is so short you can't really even tell what color my hair is. I start to feel myself cry. It seems even shorter than my dad's flattops.

"Ok," I tell him.

I get up and head to the waiting chair.

"No. I'm not getting a haircut!" yells my brother.

"Get up in that chair now!" my dad says.

"No, no I don't want to look like John and David!" my brother yells.

Now my dad forces my brother by picking him up and setting him in the barber chair. He is crying and crying, but now sits compliant while his hair begins to be shorn off. David's flattop is nearly done and this whole thing is nearly over. Now we will all have to face school on Monday with these flattops. It will be way more imbarrassing than just the clipper short haircuts last time. I also have a sinking feeling these trips to the barber with my dad will continue for the three of us! I bet this is not my last flattop either!







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