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Don't Cross Dad by Tim


In the summer of 1977 when I was 15 going on 16, my hair looked a lot like all the other guys in our part of Ohio: long, well pas the ears, almost to the shoulders. Probably about 6 to 7 inches long all around. My dad decided to take 2 months off from his business and take himself, my mom, me, and my 2 brothers on a cross country motorhome trip.

We were getting set to leave about a week after school ended in June when he announced that we were getting haircuts before we left. I protested the loudest, being the oldest and not wanting to lose my beautiful long hair. But Dad said he didn't want us boys spending a lot of time fussing with our hair while camping and swimming and such, so Dad had his way and off we went to the barbershop. When we got there he made me get in the chair first and he told the barber to give me a crewcut. I yelled and fought because no way I wanted a crewcut. We settled on kind of a short regular that was about 2 inches long on top and short up the sides and back. I remember hating the clippers running up my head and thinking what a dork I was going to look like. It was much shorter than it had been in years and I hated it.

Next my broher Ray who was 13 got in the chair, and Dad said to cut his hair shorter because his "grows like a weed." Ray cried as his long blond hair was buzzed off to a short crewcut, especially since Ray was chubby and he looked like a typical chubby kid with a crewcut. He was still crying when he sat down and I put my arm around him. My littlest brother Artie was upset about having to get a crewcut too, but he didn't carry on like Ray.

Finally Dad sat down and said short on the sides but don't touch the top. Dad had a combover and didn't want the top cut. I said why didn't he have to get a crewcut like the rest of us, then I added that was because he didn't have enough hair because he was too bald. Dad looked at me and said, Smartass, huh? and got up out of the chair. I knew I was in for it, but I was surprised when he grabbed the back of neck and led me back to the barber chair. He told the barber to give me another haircut and to shave my head. I fought to get up but Dad held me down until I complied. I cried as the barber shaved off my already short hair. He even used a razor and shaving cream and shaved me bald. Then Dad smacked the back of my head and said whose the baldie now? I thought the short haircut was bad enough but now I was bald. I hated my dad more that moment than any other. He did get his hair cut short, but he ridiculed me all the way home saying that if I wasn't such a smartmouth I would have had the longest hair instead of the shortest.

I ran to my ran when I got home, but my mom saw my head and asked what happened. My dad said that I mouthed off so he had the barber shave my head. I looked in the mirror and couldn't believe that all my hair was gone. With my shirt off, I was so skinny that I looked like a Holocaust survivor. Anyway we went on our trip and I wasn't speaking to Dad for the first two weeks, and he would give me an attitude adjustment by making me do extra chores like cleaning out the RV and gathering campfire wood. The experience taught me a lesson about mouthing off. If I had kept my mouth shut, I would have had a decent regrowth of hair by the time school started in late August. Instead, it wasn't even as long as my original haircut, and I had to start junior year with a crewcut. People asked me if I was in the Army over the summer and said that my hair was even shorter than the gym teacher Mr. Seward, who always had extremely short hair.

Anyway I wear my hair buzzed now with a goatee.



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