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The Making of a Marine by Geoff
My father asked me to take my brother Dave to get his haircut. We had always
gone to a salon to get our hair trimmed. He was three years younger than me
and had dark curly hair over his shoulders. My hair was about four inches
longer but my parents let me do what I wanted with my hair as long as I kept
it clean and conditioned.
Unfortunately, Dave couldn’t drive and I could. The guy was a jerk and
constantly bothered me and my friends, including my girl friends. I gladly
took him not to a salon but to the barbershop and realized that this was my
chance to really mess with him.
I knew there was this shop on the west side of town called “The Recon”. It was
near our local Marine Corps. Base and I knew they would cut it short. Dave
would hate that. So we got to the parking lot and I practically had to pull
Dave out of the car. “Dad told me to get your hair cut and that’s what we’re
going to do”, I told him. As we made it to the door a Marine was just
stepping out. He had brown hair that was completely shaved high up on the
sides and a clean shaven path down the middle. All that was left was what
appeared to be the letter U on the top of his head.
Luckily there was an opening right then and Dave reluctantly got into the
barber chair. The barber had a short blonde flattop and looked excited about
getting the clippers into Dave’s curly mop. “Just like the last guy’s
haircut,” I whispered to him. With that he picked up the clippers and
said, “Excellent choice”. He turned on the clippers and changed the blade
out, turned Dave away from the mirror and pushed his head forward to his
chest. The barber put the clippers on this neck and made one pass after the
other in rapid repetition. The clippers went from his neck to over the crown
of Dave’s head. How could this get any better I thought. The hair was coming
off in huge chunks one right after the other. Dave was covered with the curly
remains of a great head of hair. As he started to shave the left side I
started to feel a little badly that all that was left was a light coating of
dark stubble. The right side met the same fate as the left. All that was
left was a curly mess of hair on the top and Dave completely covered in dark
curls. This was even better than I had expected.
The blade was changed again to a considerable longer one and the top was
sheared down to about a half inch. Once again the blade was changed and a big
patch was shaved out of the middle of the top. He now had the perfect U, or
so I thought. Barber Mark lathered up the sides and the strip and shaved away
all traces of the stubble.
Mark rubbed his head repeatedly and applied a warming oil on the shaved skin.
Mission accomplished; no more long hair on the little tike. Dave was turned
toward the mirror and the look of shock on his face was priceless. He reached
up to rub the back of his head and then down the middle. It was all I could
do to keep from cracking up. Although he looked like he was about to cry, he
didn’t and quietly got out of the chair and thanked the barber. I paid him,
gave him a large tip and walked toward the door, “what about you,” Mark
said. “No thanks, I like it really long. Take care”.
My dad was not as amused as I was when we got home. In fact, he was pissed
that I had done this to my little brother. “Guess what,” dad said, “you’re
going to get your hair cut now”. “I want you to go back to that barbershop
tomorrow and get you hair cut shorter than your brother’s”. I knew he was
serious and that there would be no changing his mind. “If you think this is a
good haircut for your brother, you are going to love yours”.
I went back to The Recon the next day and felt sick to my stomach. I couldn’t
get out of the car. I just sat there for over an hour running my hands
through my hair over and over. I knew my dad would kill me if I came back
home without my hair cut. I eventually made it in and, as luck would have it,
Mark’s chair was open. I climbed in. More nervous than I had ever been at
“What are you doing here, I thought you like it long?” That was an
understatement I thought. The cape was thrown out in front of me and then
pulled tight around the paper neck strip. It took some doing, but he finally
got all my hair out from under the cape. He combed through my long blonde
curls until there were no more tangles. “Well, what are we doing today, just
trim up the ends about a quarter inch?” I took a breath and said the words I
was afraid to say, “Just like my brother’s only shorter”. “You got it,” said
Mark. “I think we’re both going to like this haircut”.
“I really think you’re going to enjoy this,” as he turned me toward the mirror
this time. He picked up the dreaded huge black clippers, slipped this hand
over my forehead and into my hair and gripped my head. “Do you want to run
your hands through it one last time,” Mark asked. I ran them through one last
time and thought how soft and silky it felt. “Smack” the clippers were on
and immediately in the back of my hair. I could see the hair cascading down
his arm. His arm would go in and be covered with hair and then the hair would
drop away and the clippers were repositioned. He finally made a pass up the
back and then across the side, and again and again, until the side was
completely gone. Then the other side met the same fate as the clippers moved
ever higher. “This is coming right off, like a hot knife through butter,” he
observed. The blade was changed, the top cleared and the wide landing strip
put into place. A little higher on the sides, a little wider in the landing
strip just like I asked – shorter.
The hot lather was applied and the stubble removed. “And you said you liked
long hair,” commented Mark. I sat in shocked as I looked in the mirror. The
barber ran his hands over and over my head to feel for any stubble. When he
was satisfied he had it all off, he applied warm oil all over the shaven
area. How am I going to explain this to my friends I thought.
I got home and dad stood ready for inspection. He ran his hands over my head
and smiled. “Don’t think this little stunt of yours will be forgotten just
because of this one little haircut,” he said. “Just so you don’t forget what
you have done to your brother, you’re going to keep your hair cut like this
ever week for the next two years.” That’s 104 haircuts before I can have hair
again, I’m an idiot I thought.
Of course my brother’s hair was left to grow back long and silky but ever
Saturday I was back at The Recon for another cut. My brother rubbed my head
ever time I got home and said, `nice cut`.