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Freshman Year by Dave


It was the summer of my Freshmen Year in school that the family moved.
Before the move, I had attended a two-room school in the country. We lived
on several acres of land where we raised most of our food. The house we
lived in was a modest dwelling. It seems that some developer wanted to
build a housing complex and our tiny piece of land was right in the middle
of the planned development. Dad sold the property at a hefty profit and we
moved closer to town and moved into a new home with a lot more land. We
still would be on the ‘farm’ as it were.

I was planning on having a great time going to High School. As I said
before, up to this time, I had gone to a two-room school. I made excellent
grades and was looking forward to continuing to do so. I loved going to
school but I also loved the out of doors and the freedom that came with it.
When the folks took me to school for the orientation, I was faced with
having to make a choice of study. I had to declare what ‘track’ of study I
was going to take. My parents wanted me to take the Academic Track and I
agreed. Academic Track - sounds like a lot of fun and interesting courses
to take, Algebra, Geometry, Chemistry, Physics, and the regular courses such
as English, History, and Geography.

I noticed a course called Air Force ROTC! The folks noticed my interest so
my father encouraged me to take that course along with the Academic. I didn
’t have any idea as to what it entailed but it sounded great to me. So I
signed up for that as well. The first day of school, I reported to the ROTC
class and found that I was one of three with long, thick hair. The rest of
the class had their hair cut really short. Hair was never a concern of
mine. I had always had long hair. Captain Strong called me into his office
after class and told me that I needed to get my hair ‘squared away’ as he
put it. He told me I had to take care of it, today. I left feeling
strange. I can’t explain it, but as I said before, hair never mattered to
me before now.

Of course I didn’t say anything to the folks and didn’t get the hair cut.
The next day in class, I again was asked to stop by Captain Strong’s office.
Captain Strong, with his strong voice, said, “Private! You were told to get
a haircut. I see you haven’t done so. This is an order, ‘YOU WILL get that
mess cut today. Is that clear?’” I answered, “Yes Sir!” I don’t know
why, but for some reason after I was given the order to get my hair cut, I
really wanted to hang on to the hair. I guess I didn’t like someone giving
me orders. Again I didn’t say anything to my folks. I returned the third
day without a haircut.

Unknown to me, Captain Strong had talked with my father about my hair. Dad
didn’t say anything to me about my hair or about speaking with Captain
Strong! Upon entering the class that day, I did notice that the other two
cadets had nice crew cuts. It seems I was the lone holdout. We were called
to attention and then Captain Strong said, “Gentlemen! Have a seat! It
seems Private Ayers here, disobeyed a direct order. He will learn that when
a direct order is given, it is to be obeyed. Private Ayers, front and
center!” I got up and walked up to the front and was motioned to have a
seat on the tall stool. I thought I was going to be given a dunce cap like
we used to do in grade school.

“Were you not ordered to get a haircut, yesterday after class?” I replied
that I was. “You will find that once an order is given, you are to obey!
It is NOT your decision to question an order. To that end, since you, for
whatever reason, decided to disobey a direct order, you are now at a
crossroad in your young life. You sir, have two and only two choices. It
is either between leaving the program or remaining. If you chose to remain,
you will submit to a haircut here and now! Which will it be?” I could feel
my neck and face getting red. I asked if I could have a day to think about
it and I was informed that the decision had to be now! I didn’t have my
father at hand to discuss things like I always did before. I had to make a
decision on my own.

As I sat there, I could see all eyes were focused on me. I didn’t want to
appear to be a quitter and besides if I stayed, I was sure that I would be
given more direct orders not only from Captain Strong but from my fellow
recruits as part of our training. “Well! What is it going to be, Private?”
I stood up and said, “Haircut Sir!” I thought I would be sent out to get a
regulation cut. Instead, Captain Strong brought out a pair of clippers and
plugged them. I thought, ‘I don’t believe this, he is going to give me a
haircut right in front of my fellow recruits…..how embarrassing.’

Just then, Captain Strong walked to the door and opened it. Much to my
surprise, in walked my father. I would have done anything not to have my
father involved. I thought, ‘how embarrassing! Even more embarrassing than
if Captain Strong would be doing the cutting.’ Dad walked up to Captain
Strong and shook his hand. They exchanged pleasantries and Dad was handed
the clippers. Dad didn’t say a word as the clippers came forth with a
‘clack’ and then a loud hum.

Before I could react, Dad placed the clippers at the front of my head and
pushed them straight back. At that moment, I would have loved to be able to
crawl into a hole. Little did I realize that the entire episode that was to
follow was being video taped. One pass after another and the hair was
falling. It wasn’t long before Dad had removed all of my hair down to
stubbles. I did so want to feel my head and take a look, but I knew better
at the time. I was expecting for Captain Strong to order me to stand and
clean up the mess, but he didn’t. Two cadets came forth with a tray with
water, razor, and cream. Without saying a word, Dad moistened my head and
applied some shaving cream. Talk about embarrassment, this was truly
humiliating. Just as I was about to get up and run out, Dad made the first
of many passes over my head with the razor. About 10 minutes before the
period was to end, I sat there with a bald head.

I must admit, what I was feeling, felt great - the movement of air, etc. I
was then ordered to clean up the hair on the floor and then stand at
attention. Captain Strong then said, “Private Ayers, you are hereby ordered
to keep your head clean shaven until ordered otherwise. Is that clear?” I
replied, “Yes Sir! Thank you Sir!” I was dismissed and returned to my
seat. All eyes followed me. When the bell rang, I was ordered to remain
behind.

After my fellow cadets left, Captain Strong went to his office leaving my
Dad and me alone. Dad smiled and said, “I am proud of you. I am proud that
you decided to take ‘your medicine’ and remained in the program. I do miss
your hair, but I think you look great smooth.” Dad rubbed my head and I
smiled. Dad then said, “Don’t you have something you want to say to
Captain Strong?” I said, “Yes Sir! Will you excuse me for a minute, Sir?”
Dad smiled and nodded his head.

I went to Captain Strong’s office and knocked. I was asked to come in and I
looked Captain Strong straight in the face and said, “Sir! I do apologize
for my actions. It will never happen again.” Captain Strong looked up at
me and said, “You look great! Remember to keep the ‘look’ until ordered
otherwise. That is all.” As I turned to leave, Captain Strong said,
“Private Ayers, Thank you for coming in. You just became a man!” I walked
out and it felt like I was walking on a cloud! Dad said, “Son! I think you
are going to be late for your next class if you don’t hurry.” He shook my
hand and then gave me a hug.

I went on to my next class and everyone already knew about the episode in
the ROTC Class. The girls wanted to feel it and several of the boys told me
how cool I looked. Other boys in the class had short hair, but mine was
definitely the shortest.

When I arrived home, Mother commented on my neat haircut. She didn’t know
how it happened, but she was proud of me getting it cut. When Dad returned
home, he told her all about it. She smiled and said to me, “I think you
look Awesome with the bald head.

The next morning, I had to shave my head myself. It took some time with a
few suggestions from Dad. After I finished, Dad handed me several items and
told me how to use them. It seems I need a shine on the bald head. Talk
about shine. I loved the look. I thought, ‘now to get some sun on the
noggin and get a good tan.’

When I reported to ROTC class that day, Captain Strong, came to me and said,
“It’s looking better!” After a month and some sun, the head was now nicely
tanned. I truly loved the bald look. I really liked my Academic Courses as
well as the ROTC. I had totally forgotten about the order to keep the head
shaved since I was enjoying it so. Several of my friends have been talking
about shaving their heads. So far they hadn’t. The day before our first
long vacation, Captain Strong asked me to come to his office right after
class. When I entered, Captain Strong said, “Private Ayers, I am proud of
you. Your efforts in the class haven’t gone unnoticed. You are a born
leader. I am putting you in charge of the squad. Oh! Yes! You can begin
to grow your hair back now.” I thanked Captain Strong for the confidence he
placed in me and then I said, “If it is all right with you, I would like to
keep the head shaved.” Captain Strong looked up at me and smiled. He said,
“If that is your wish, then I have no objections. I happen to think you
look fantastic with the bald look.” As I was about to leave, Captain
Strong, handed me a video tape and said, “Here’s a souvenir for you.” I
thanked him and left. That evening I played the tape. The folks enjoyed
see it also - a tape of my day in the life of a new recruit - yes my famous
HEAD SHAVE! I enjoyed seeing it. I had to play it again and again. I
loved to see the hair fall from my head as Dad took control of the
situation.

The four years at school went by quickly. I rose in rank and when I
graduated, I not only graduated Valedictorian, but I received a full
scholarship to the university I wanted to attend - Full Academic Scholarship
as well as a Full ROTC Scholarship. Yes! I continued my work in the Air
Force ROTC. When I graduated, I went to Flight School. Yes I joined the
Air Force. My hair? I haven’t seen any hair on my head since that fateful
day in the classroom when my Dad did the honors.

When I was stationed in overseas, my roommate, Jack, asked me one day about
my bald head. I related to him the history of it. I noticed that he kept
looking at my shiny dome and was running his hands through his sandy blonde
hair. Jack was ‘pushing the limits’ of hair length at the time. When I
finished with my story, Jack said, “Dave! How do you think I would look
with short hair?” I looked at him and said, “I think you would look
smashing, BALD!” I could see the grin on his face and then I said, “When
would you like to go BALD?”

Jack’s grin got even more pronounced and he said, “How about right now?” I
borrowed some clippers and before long, Jack was sporting a smooth, shining
head. He reached up and said, “Thanks! This sure feels great.” He couldn’
t wait to look in a mirror! He smiled and said, “Not only does this feel
great, but it also looks great.” I told him he was going to experience a
lot of new things now that he let go of his hair. It wasn’t long afterwards
that I had to borrow the clippers again. Yes! Jack is a good ambassador
for bald heads. He had managed to convince everyone in our group to have me
shave their heads.

When I returned to the states, Dad wrote and told me that Captain Strong
(General Strong now) was retiring. He wanted me to be there for his last
day! I wouldn’t have missed that for anything. It so happened that I had a
lot of leave time so I came home. Yes! I had changed a lot from that
Freshmen year. When the time came, My father was totally surprised when
Captain Strong announced his replacement.

My first day on the job, I was facing a classroom full of fresh recruits.
Yep! I saw myself in one of them. He was standing at attention with a long
‘mop.’ After class I asked the new recruit to stop by my office. When he
arrived, I said, “Private Strong, you have two choices………! I await your
decision.” As I sat there, I looked back to that day, many years ago. “I
want to remain in the Program, Sir,” said Private Strong. “Now that is
settled, you are ordered to get a regulation haircut before returning to
class. Do you read me?” “Yes Sir”, said Private Strong. The very next
morning, before school, in walked Private Strong with his grandfather,
General Strong. Oh! Yes! Private Strong, must have liked my bald head
since he was standing there with a perfect shaved head and his grandfather
was smiling as he winked at me.

I was so looking forward to continuing what Captain (General) Strong had
begun. Each day I look into the faces of the young recruits, I saw myself
and remembered what it was like being in their shoes. I hope I can give
back to them what was given me.

As Private Strong took his place in class, once again, I thought back to
that day when I went BALD! To tell the truth, I haven’t once thought about
growing my hair - it feels natural to go without any hair on my head. I
still love the smooth, slick feel of my head and wouldn’t trade that feeling
for anything.



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