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First Flattop – Part 2 by htflatnc


Maybe someday? But when?

I had always gone to traditional barbershops and never to salons. My hair wasn't long, particularly for the times. Three inches on top was normal length. Off the ears and once it started covering the top of the ears was always the sign a barbershop visit was coming up. Normally it was tapered in back, but a longish taper with skin only right at the hair line.

Getting a haircut growing up was always an enjoyable experience. It's not difficult to understand why. Haircuts were always tied to something that was fun. From the time I was three years old until ten or eleven, the morning of my birthday party, my father would take me to get a haircut while my mother finished fixing everything for the party that would start soon after we returned. What kid wouldn't love that? Other haircuts were associated with going to see Santa Claus at Christmas or getting ready for Thanksgiving or getting out of school. Again, what kid wouldn't love that? So I was never a long haired kid who hated going to the barbershop.

But getting a flattop? Maybe someday.

I went off to college when I was seventeen to study either math or chemistry – I hadn't decided which at the time and didn't need to for at least two years. In the spring semester of my sophomore year, I was taking a statistics class. Statistics was very easy at least at the sophomore intro level. It's not about the math. It's about the reading. But that isn't important to the story. I normally sat in the back of the classroom filled with about 100 people. That way, I could survey the crowd and possibly slip out early if I knew where the class was headed. But just after spring break, there was a group of three or four guys milling about laughing and joking at the front of the class before the class had started. Then I saw him. He was wearing an ROTC uniform, had red hair, and had a flattop. He had just gotten the flattop. That's what all the commotion was about. I'd never noticed him before. I certainly noticed him now. The other guys were ribbing him about his new flattop. Hair in general had started getting shorter. Tom Cruise was in no small part responsible for that. But this wasn't just shorter hair. This was a flattop and a short one. Someday was soon.
Later that same day, I was in differential equations class. And there he was again. Red headed, freshly shorn flattop was sitting two rows ahead of me but on the other side of the classroom. And I was surprised since I had never noticed him before and there were many fewer people in this class than in statistics. Should I move to get a better look at this? I decided the move was to exit the room, go get some water and come back in. That wouldn't be too strange, would it? I re-entered the classroom and got a seat just behind him but so I could see him in profile.

By being this close, I could see that the haircut was very fresh. There were short trimmings on his collar. If this guy had inspection later that afternoon, he was going to have a problem. That was my opening. So I took it right after class. I told him I knew the ROTC guys usually had inspection right after class. He said inspection was in about 30 minutes. I told him he had short clippings on his collar. He said words to the effect he knew he should have gotten his hair cut yesterday rather than today. I said it was fixed easily enough and told him to follow me. We went to the head office of the math department, which was just down the hall. I asked the secretary (whom I knew) if I could have some tape. I took a long piece and a couple of short pieces of tape, put the long one on his collar and pulled off most of the hairs. I then went around with the short pieces of tape and removed the remainder. He was getting his collar cleaned and I was getting a great close up of his flattop. He thanked me for helping him out and I said I was glad to do it. And then I dropped the bomb. I told him I thought his haircut looked really sharp. With a broad grin, he thanked me. Said he had to put up with a lot of ribbing so far today, but it was nice to hear a compliment. As we walked out, he asked me how I was doing in the differential equations class. I told him I got a 97 on the midterm and said I didn't why he took points off for not simplifying the answer completely. I asked him how he was doing, and he said he didn't get a 97 and asked if I was in a study group. I told him I wasn't and he asked if I would like to be in one with a couple of his friends in the class. Study with a guy with a flattop? That was easy. I asked when they were getting together and he said Sunday afternoon in the library. I said I'd be there.

Getting to be friends with the guy with the flattop: this was great. There was just one thing. I still didn't know his name.

Sunday finally rolled around and as I went to the library. He was already there, the red flattop. I went up to him and said "Hi”. Then I said, "You know, I still don't know your name.”

"Jason,” he said.

"Good to meet you Jason. My name is Troy,” and I stuck out my hand to shake his.

He said, "Yeah, I know,” as he shook my hand.

He knew? How did he know? I didn't know his name. How did he know mine?

As I contemplated this, the elevator whisked us up to the 8th floor where the study group was meeting. I met the two other guys in the group. They were all passing, but struggling with the class. So it wasn't hopeless and I could make a difference. Turns out, this was a smart group of guys. It came down to explaining the logic that was involved. I could usually explain multiple ways of approaching a problem and one of those ways usually clicked with them. Also seeing the problem multiple ways seemed to help them a lot. It turned out to be a long session.

As things were breaking up, I asked Jason how he knew my name. He told me he had asked someone and they told him.

"Somebody in class?”

"No. I asked my uncle.”

"Your uncle? Who's he?”

It turns out his uncle was the policeman I'd been watching all these years getting a flattop in my hometown. His uncle had heard that Jason was getting a flattop and called yesterday to find out how it went. He said he had gotten some ribbing from friends, but one guy thought the flattop looked great. His uncle asked him what the guy looked like. He described me and his uncle said, "I bet that's Troy.” Jason told his uncle that I was in his math and statistics class. "That's almost definitely Troy.”

Then his uncle told Jason to ask me a question, "'Is it someday?' He wouldn't explain it. Just told me to ask you.”

I said, "Almost.”

I then asked him when he was going to see his uncle again. He said he might go up there next weekend to visit. I said I'd go back next weekend as well. I told him to tell his uncle "Someday will be next Saturday, 11 o'clock at Mr. Robert's place and we'll both meet your uncle there.”

"What does that mean?”

I said, "You're uncle will know right away what it means. And you'll know next Saturday.” I told Jason I'd pick him up next Saturday at 9 and I'd drive him back to my home town to see his uncle. Someday was approaching.




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