So, in preparation for my dad's memorial service, I took the Big Kid to get a haircut - on account of how his grown-out shag was threatening to completely obscure his eyeballs, and the overall dimensions of his head were approaching parade balloon proportions.
I did not take him to his regular stylist. Mistake #1.
When Not-His-Regular-Stylist asked if she could use electric clippers to take out some bulk in the back, I assumed that she was referring to tapering the shape at the very bottom. Mistake #2. She made her first cut just under his occiptal lobe - right about where you would shave things if you were giving a kid a chili bowl cut.
Big Kid has not had a chili bowl since age five or so.
I tried to keep my freak-out on the downlow, so as not to alarm my son who was already twelve shades of ticked about having to have ANY of his hairs cut.
"Um, you're going to blend that in with scissors, right?"
Oh, she blended - and blended, and blended, until he, basically, had a short haircut in the back, but a really, really choppy short haircut. Meanwhile, everything in the front was still flopping over his eyes and ears. It was like a reverse mullet, or something that you might see on a terrier at Westminster.
At this point, I was, I think, in shock. I mumbled a suggestion about trimming his sideburns a bit, to connect what was happening in front to what had happened in back.
It didn't make it better - just a different kind of worse.
Still in shock, I allowed myself to be talked into purchasing anti-chlorine shampoo for the kid, and I ended up overtipping her (tipping 20% of the bill inclusive of product).
We ran three errands after that, and the entire time Big Kid was whining: about having gotten a haircut of any sort, and about THIS haircut in particular. While he was whining, I was stifling the bout of word vomit that was threatening to erupt outward through my mouth parts. In the middle of errand #3, I found that I couldn't keep it in any longer:
"You got a bad haircut, okay? In fact, it's a HORRIBLE haircut. Actually, it's TWO horrible haircuts - a horrible long haircut in the front, and an attack-with-a-weed-whacker short haircut in the back. You look like a mashup of Suze Orman and real estate expert Barbara Corcoran. But it's DONE. Either we live with it, or we take you someplace else and have it fixed - and, likely, that's going to mean losing more hair in the front. Pick your poison."
He picked option B. Actually, Dad picked option B, because Big Kid was too busy wailing and gnashing his teeth. It took 45 minutes to fix the mess. He ended up with a little length remaining in the front, which wouldn't have been my choice - if you are going to have a short haircut, commit to it - but the overall effect is far less offensive than version 1.
At some point in the middle of Hairgate 2013, it occurred to me that this whole snafu had my dad's name written all over it. I truly believe that deceased relatives mess with you from Heaven, always with a wink and a smile. For years, I felt the presence of my dad's father every time I drove the car that he handed down to me. (Wood-paneled station wagon. Best car to take to college EVER, particularly if you happened to go to college in Austin. You could fit a keg AND a fully inflatable raft in the back. I always had to have a raft handy, in case my day took me to Barton Springs - which it frequently did.)
My granddad was born and raised in the Deep South and, therefore, was fully immersed in a culture of "separate and not entirely equal." Case in point: while he was fond of his "yard boy" - who was in his sixties when I first encountered him and, therefore, not technically a "boy" - Tee was never allowed to step foot in the house, even on the hottest of days, and my grandmother always served Tee water in the same plastic cup. A cup that, one day, I retrieved from the cabinet, intending to drink from it. "That's Tee's cup." That's okay - Tee's not here, and I don't think he will mind. I mean, I'll wash it and put it back and stuff. "No, you don't understand - Tee DRINKS OUT OF THAT CUP." So what? It's not like he has cooties - oh. Wow. Okay. (But not okay. I drank out of the cup.)
Thus, it was terribly funny to me when I came into possession of my granddad's old car, and discovered that (1) only the AM radio receiver chose to work and (2) the only station that came in clearly was a funk/soul station. NO MATTER WHAT RADIO MARKET I WAS IN. Austin, Houston - didn't matter. One station, and one station only. And the first song that came on, every morning like clockwork, was the theme from "Shaft." I took all of this as Granddad's way of saying, "Hey, I'm up here, and I'm enlightened now, and - well, I get it."
So I totally think that Big Kid's botched haircut was my dad's way of ensuring that he would look clean-cut at the memorial service. After all, I come from Pentagon people - both sides - and long-haired hippie freaks draw raised eyebrows.
After C's hair was, sort of, fixed, the whining continued: "People will laugh at me." No, they won't, because you will tell them that you cut your hair out of respect for your grandfather. Period, paragraph.
New Haircut made its debut at Youth movie night at our church Sunday evening. When C got home, I asked him if he told people about his granddad's passing.
"No, it was like they already knew. Oh - because you told my youth minster last Sunday before church."
No, I didn't tell your youth minister that your grandfather was deceased last Sunday before church, because last Sunday before church he was, actually, factually, still alive.
"Oh, but they knew because it happened during Thrift Shop Prom last Sunday night."
Correct, he did die in that time frame - but we didn't tell YOU about it until you got home, remember?
"Huh. Well, somehow, they already knew."
Did anyone comment on your hair?
"No, because I announced upfront that I had cut it short for Granddad's memorial service."
Wait for it . . . .
"OH. They probably figured out that he was dead when I mentioned that we were having a memorial service for him."
Proof that the blonde goes all of the way to the roots. It just doesn't have that far to travel these days.