Biographical Non-Fiction posted June 20, 2018


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Hair-razing

by Craigitar

True Story Contest Contest Winner 

The first barber-cut I remember was a buzz from ear-to-ear and front-to-back, leaving almost nothing in between.  I was maybe five years old when this experience impressed itself into my long-term memory.  Up until then, my mother had been my personal barber, but I can’t say, beyond speculation, what motivated her to abandon this job.  Perhaps she doubted her hair-cutting skills, or thought it time that I have the thatch on my head professionally addressed.  Whatever the reason, with or without my consent, off we went one day to Larry’s Barber Shop.
 
Larry’s smelled good—a mixture of talc, aftershave and clean embraced me as I followed Mom into the shop.  I climbed up into the barber chair as directed, which, at Larry’s inducement, rose smoothly into the air.  Thus seated in this lofty and exalted position, a scratchy piece of paper and a barber’s towel were pinned around my neck.  Larry and Mom chatted briefly about the fate of my hair.  After my ‘do was decided, sans input from me, Larry fired up the electric clippers and went to work.  My brown locks cascaded down the front, sides and back of the towel to the floor far below.  It seemed like an awful lot of hair, and this proved to be the case. 
 
After the deed was done, Larry held a hand mirror before me such that I could see, with the help of the wall-mounted mirror, the front, top, sides and back of my head.  Oh, the horror I beheld!  My mirrored self revealed a reaper’s damaged field of skin and stubble, and a little kid destined to be friendless and unloved.  Shock and despair insinuated themselves into my meager catalogue of unpleasant feelings that day.
 
Larry blew the loose hairs off my neck with a hose issuing warm air, then, with a soft talc-laden brush, swept away any stragglers.  This all felt wonderful, but was only a momentary distraction from the travesty of boyhood I’d been reduced to.
 
I bitched, moaned and cried all the way home, then ran into my parent’s bedroom, hoping to find that the dresser mirror would reveal a more palatable haircut.  It didn’t!  If anything, the familiar mirror, which I frequently used to practice faces in, reflected a stubble-headed kid I didn’t recognize and instinctively didn’t like.  My despair was nearly complete.  Then I had a thought—an ill-formed bit of reasoning that had neither experience nor knowledge to ground it in the realm of the possible.  Unfamiliar with the mechanics of hair growth, I figured hair got longer as a direct response to the pull and tug of combing.  Now I can only guess that Mom was around the corner watching as her idiot child frantically combed a scalp that wouldn’t need that kind attention for a month or more.
 
Eventually, I made peace with the buzz and even found a little pleasure in running my fingers over the short hairs on the back of my neck, but never again would I allow such a thing to be done to me.  Well… some time after the above incident, I don’t know how long,
I begged Mom to give me a Mohawk and she did—but after that I held fast that my hair should always be long enough to require a comb.    
 


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Okay, I may have over reacted--but I was 5!
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