Buzz Cut

Hair cuttin’ ain’t changed much in the last fifty years. They still cover you with that sheet thingy to keep the hair off you, the chairs are pretty much the same, and they still use those darn clippers. I don’t like hair clippers, mainly because the noise they make when you turn them on makes me nervous. They make a loud clacking noise then settled into that electric hum like only a set of hair clippers can do. I think it’s the initial “clack” that gets to me. It’s a sound—the loud clack—that tends to summon up some real bad memories. The sound has a tendency to get my eyes wide and my old ticker to thumpin’.

Okay. Some of you are out there snickering and saying, “Oh? This is the dude that ain’t afraid a nothing?”

Well let me tell you something: I used to be afraid; I used to be scared to death. The situations that made me afraid varied, but the source was always the same… my old man. One of the times he scared me the most, was on those Saturday mornings he’d set me down in a dining room chair in the kitchen for what he called a “hair cut”.

The problem was, he wasn’t any good at cutting hair, and that, combined with the fact it scared the daylights out of me just being in the same room with him, made for one gut-twisting Saturday morning.

Dad was a crew cut, flat top, kinda guy, and boy when the Beatles hit the States, you shoulda heard him cuss them boys. He didn’t like long hair on a boy. He was a red neck all the way.

My brothers and I should have been so lucky as to be crew cut or flat top kinda guys. Due to the old man’s lack of expertise with the clippers, we spent the majority of our childhood with what is known as a “buzz cut”. He always set out to do a regular cut, but it just never quite worked out. It always came down to that last little finishing touch, an “oops”, a cussing fit, then… buzz cut.

Many times, sitting in that chair for thirty minutes or longer all tensed up with fear was almost more than I could take. The guy meant well, and I’m sure he would’ve sent us to the barber if he’d been able to afford it, but I wonder sometimes if he knew, or cared, what he was doing to us. Sometimes, I think he knew full well the fear he instilled in us, and I think he enjoyed it. And, I don’t think that was a good thing. A kid shouldn’t have to live in constant fear of a parent.

Things have changed; not for all kids, but I’d say for the majority of them. Parents today give their children a lot more say in what happens in their lives. It’s a two edged sword though, and I’m not so sure the way it is now is better than the way it was then. It seems to me there is a severe lack of discipline, which has led to a generation of young people who have little and many times absolutely no respect for their parents, or, for that matter, adults in general. I think we might have gone too far the other direction, if you know what I mean.

3 Comments »

  1. Sherry Mashburn said

    Discipline is tempered with love. What you endured was not discipline; it was punishment.

  2. I like the reference to the hair clippers “clack”. I learned how to cut
    (female) hair from my hairdresser mother while I was growing up. When my husband came home from the barber disappointed about a hair cut … I happily volunteered to do it for him. Did not know how to use the hair clippers. I knicked and pulled a few of those tiny hairs at the hairline. He was not confidant I could get better but was willing to let me continue each time he needed a hair cut. I am very proficient, now. Quite a money saver – men grow hair as fast as grass. ~~~~ : – )

    Nice story, Charles …
    Isadora

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