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Making Dad Angry by Chris


While growing up in the 1960s and 70s, my father rarely lost his temper. Sure, my brothers and I made mistakes and got in trouble, but he rarely got angry.
However, he did have a strict rule about our hair. As I said in a recent story titles Easter Memories, my dad insisted that we have short hair until we were teenagers, when we were allowed to wear our hair as long as we liked as long as we kept it clean and combed.
But until we turned 13, his requirement was to have it short on top with whitewalls on the sides from Easter to Thanksgiving We could have a little more hair, but not much, while it was cold.
My dad usually went to the barbershop with us to be sure his instructions were carried out, and he sure wasn't afraid to order the barber to cut more off if he didn't think it was short enough,
But I still remember a Saturday in 1972 when he was busy doing something else and sent us off to Bernard's Barber Shop around the corner from our house for haircuts.
As we were leaving, he reminded me and my 12-year-old brother Steve of exactly what to say to the barber. I was only eight at the time and didn't think anything of telling the barber what my dad had said. We went to this shop fairly often, so the barbers new us and our father.
They seemed to like to give severe haircuts, so I ended up with what I almost always got in that shop, a quarter of an inch on top and whitewalls all the way to the crown on the sides and back.
But it was a different story for Steve. I'm not sure what he told his barber but he somehow escaped with only a very light trim. Our older brother Jerry just got a trim, too, but he was allowed since he was a teenager.
When we got home and dad saw the results of our trip to the barber, he hit the roof. I don't think I ever saw him so mad. He asked Steve why his hair wasn't cut short, and said he thought he should be allowed to have longer hair like Jerry.
"You can," my dad said, "when you are old enough. You know the rule in this house is that you have to have short hair until you become a teenager. But because of this, you can add an extra year of having short hair. You can decide on the length when you turn 14."
The next question was for Jerry: Why in the world did you leave the barbershop with your brother looking like this? Since he was our older brother, dad felt he should have taken charge of the situation and saw to it that Steve was shorn like dad wanted.
Dad didn't care for Jerry's response, and he told both of them to go out to the back porch and wait for him.
A few minutes later dad came outside carrying a shoebox and he told Steve to have a seat on a lawn chair. Dad told Steve that the box contained an old home hair clipper set and that he had never used on us before. But he was about to.
Dad told Steve to take off his shirt, and I watched from a swing in the yard as he plugged the clippers into an outlet and switched them on. Without putting a guard on, he ran the clippers all over Steve's head.
"One nice baldy," he said. "If you ever pull this stunt again, this will be your haircut as long as you live under this roof."
Jerry then got the same treatment. I sure didn't have much hair after getting what I would now call a high and tight earlier in the day, but it was kind of fun to have more hair than my bald brothers.



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