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The Haircut Incident by Deke Cutter

It had been ten years since the haircut incident. I was fifteen at the time. My father wanted me to get a haircut but I didn't want to. The barber was a friend of my father and notorious for scalping the guys my age who went to him. Dad took me to the shop. The barber told me to get in the chair. He caped me up and looked over at my dad. "Clean him up good?" Dadd just nodded. The barber picked up the clippers and turned them on. I don't know what came over me, but I jumped up out of the chair and said "NO!" I tore off the cape and ran out of the shop. When I got home I ran to my room and shut the door. My dad came in and there was smoke coming out of his ears, he was so angry. He took off his belt and I thought I was going to get it bad. But, then dad stopped, sat down, and he talked to me.

"Son,: he said, "you acted very badly today. You embarassed me and you insulted Tony, the barber. I understand now, how much you did not want Tony to cut your hair. Quite frankly, if Tony were not my friend, I would not go to him myself. We have been friends for a long time and he helped me out once when we were kids. But, there are ways to do things and you did things wrong. I will leave it up to you to decide how to make amends, it will be up to you."

We moved out of town shortly after I graduated high school. Dad and I never discussed the haircut episode again, but whenever one of us got a haircut, it was on my mind that I had not "made amends." My hair is now my pride and joy. It is thick and wavy, full and quite long. I part it in the middle and it is th envy of men and women alike. But, my feeling of guilt has never gone away. So, now that I am out of school and running my own small company, I decided that I had to face the consequences of my actions of long ago. I was going to go into the lion's den, visit the shop and apologize to Tony.

As I drove through the town, I felt my mouth getting dry, my resolve lessening. I drove past the strip mall containing Tony's shop three times. I pulled in, parking in the same spot my father had parked in ten years before. I got out of the car and walked toward the shop. I knew this was the right thing to do. I opened the door and saw Tony sitting in his chair reading the paper. He looked up and saw me.

"Tony, I don't know if you remember me, but I am her to apologize..." I got no further. Tony looked at me we anger and said "I know exactly who you are, you know that there is only one way to resolve this, now get your butt in the chair." I don't know why I didn't turn around and walk out, but I didn't. I sat down in the chair, perhaps sensing that Tony was right. Tony caped me up and turned on the clippers. He grabbed my a handful of my hair and said, "this girly stuff is headed for the floor" The clippers touched my neck and started to move up the back of my head. Slowly the hair from the back and sides of my hair was shorn off, He turned the clippers off and I looked in the mirror. My hair now stopped a couple of inches above my ears. He now sprayed the rest of my hair and made a hard part on the right side of my head. About an inch of hair sat below the part and the mass of the remaining hair was combed to the side. He picked up his shears and began chopping away at the hair on top of my head, Snip after snip, hair fell down onto the cape. After a very long time, he stopped and switched to the thinning shears. I felt sick in the pit of my stomach. The thinning shears went to work and seemed to be hacking away everything that was left. Next he turned the clippers back on and using clipper over comb he blended the parted hair on the side and the hair at the top of the back of my head. He applied shaving cream around my ears and neck and removed my sideburns and raised my hairline. Finally, he took a dollop of "Brilcream" and worked it into my remaining hair. He combed it over to the side and tidied up the part. I looked ridiculous. My hair was thin and flat to my head. I had big arches around my ears.

Tony turned me away from the mirror and looked at me. "Now you are cleaned up good, " he said. "Tony," I said, "why wasn't my apology enough?" Tony said, "I told you the last time you were here that I would not allow you to disrespect your mother in my shop and that I would clean you up good the next time you came in, James." I said, "Tony, my name is Rich Hays, Bill Hays' son. I ran out of your shop because I didn't want a short haircut." Tony looked at me and said, "oh dear." He then told me that he had laughed about my run and tried to calm my dad down. He said, I was not the first or last kid to run. He had just about forgotten about it. And then he said, I guess I owe you an apology, that was a beautiful head of hair, it will be a good couple of years for you to grow it out. I'll tell you what, this haircut is on the house."

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