Eighth grade was a fragile year. Desires for friendship of schoolmates. Desires for any level of attention from girls.
But my beloved Dad would have NONE OF THAT.
You see, Philly, our barber, was charging one dollar and fifty cents for a haircut! That was four fifty for three sons!
So, Dad invested in a haircutting kit from the ultimate discount piece of crap store, Big Scot in Newburgh.
Dad would call me into the basement (similar to a physically abused child getting stuck in the closet) and wrapped the sheet around me.
He then would plug in the razor and attach the ONE cut setting device- the one that made your hair look like Curley from the Three Stooges. He then would relentlessly plow through my thick pile.
As I would get my hair stripped like a Brazilian rainforest, my little brother would watch in horror. He would nearly visibly shake as I left the chair and he was commanded to come up.
The haircutting usually occurred on a Saturday….two days to think about it until I went to school. For me, going to school involved a very short walk, then entry into the front door. And near the front door, Mike Ramundo would be at his locker.
Humiliation be not proud.
“Hahhhh! Greg! Look at that hair!” He then would do his Three Stooges Curley impersonation.
I went through several more Dad haircuts, and always dreaded the return to school afterwards. The mockery and abuse was brutal. And I might add that girls rarely gave positive attention to a Curley lookalike.
I finally went to Mom and begged her to make the torture stop. And I must tell you, going to Mom for any reason often ended up with a situation getting much worse. But in this case, Mom forced Dad to retire the tools of idiocy.
I am sure Dad was not happy about this. Dropping bread in Philly’s lap was not his idea of fun.
Now who is the hero of this absurd story? Philly the Barber.
And here is the amazing thing. Philly, who must now be one hundred fifty, is still the town barber…and still saving teenaged boys from getting their hair shorn by their well meaning but terroristic Dads.
Today, the lady who cuts my hair charges me nine dollars….and I realize that this is an embarrassingly small amount of money for a haircut in today’s world.
I probably could get a better cut from one of the forty dollar hair stylists. But the way I look at it, any haircut style other than my Dad’s is a total win for me.
The days of letting the fur fly are gone forever.