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Humor July 2015

Levine's Levity

Priceless Estate and Hair Club for Sons

By Bill Levine

Secondly, I am angry that dad had broken the unwritten rule of parenting offspring over 60: don't make them dredge up soggy memories of being your 14 year old again, as clearly, if I look in the mirror now, I fear I will see pimples and not wrinkles.

 "What's wrong with your hair? It's all sticking up," my nonagenarian dad impolitely inquires from his living room recliner, this non-sequitur interrupting a conversation on the Red Sox and the number of my bar mitzvah guests still living.

"Nothing's wrong," I say, stretching the truth a little, since actually my bald spot is approaching tonsure size with the accompanying comb-over promoting unruly wisps. Having hair gone wild, has caused me to de-value Hair Club for Men jokes.

Dad then throws down a timely but overly parental gauntlet, "I'll pay for you to go to one of those hair places."

My father's offer goes from enticing to uncomfortable in 8.2 seconds. First, I am embarrassed to admit that I am still not immune to paternal disapproval over my appearance, as I thought I had surmounted this angst 40 years ago, when I told my dad that dumping on my bright-orange corduroy bell-bottoms was "so Nixonian." Secondly, I am angry that dad had broken the unwritten rule of parenting offspring over 60: don't make them dredge up soggy memories of being your 14 year old again, as clearly, if I look in the mirror now, I fear I will see pimples and not wrinkles.

"No, Dad, thanks but I'll pass on the hair offer, My hair is not that big of a deal to me." But it occurred to me, that mild as it may be, this was the first time we had experienced a follicle fallout. This fact made me a rare non-combatant among my whole male boomer cohort, who decades earlier bravely defended their hippie, commie, girlishly long tresses in the key generational battle that defined the Age of Aquarius: the struggle over hair. Back then hair was supreme, otherwise the boomer Broadway anthem would be entitled "Weed" or "Nehru Jackets" and not "Hair."

Indeed, with regard to hair, it was consistently all quiet on my youthful home front. As a young kid my dad insured that my stylings would not be cutting edge by taking me to a three-chair shop with a barber pole outside where the word "salon" was never mentioned, and the reading material was yesterday's newspaper.  My barber Charley's stylistic range was from whiffle top to extra whiffle top. Really, though that was OK with me as there were no Mohawks or Justin Bieber dos to ask for, and even if I had a slight inkling for a Dennis the Menace floppy cut, Charlie would have said, "Dennis who?"

Moving along with my hair history, my bar mitzvah album shows me at the bimah with two other boys to men, all of us with short hair-cuts. There was no pre-bar mitzvah whining on my part for a Beatle mop-top. A recent perusal of my college year book shows that I graduated near the bottom of my class in counterculture hair length, with my graduation picture one of few male shots where ears can be clearly delineated. We were a short-haired family. My sister's tresses were only average length – or an Aquarian guy; our dog, Ginger, was a wired-haired terrier and no one ever called our living room rug "plush."

A few days after refusing my dad's hair restoration offer, I'm in my stylist's chair for the monthly salvage job on my pate, commonly called a trim. His precise snipping is taking too long, mostly because hiding a bald spot the size of a crater is a difficult salon trick, The results will look good for a day or so, and then I recede back into slightly disheveled look. The prospect of one good hair day every month makes me start to think that my old man's restoration offer is not triggered by his unease that in this tenth decade he has more hair than me, but is actually just based on pure parental concern.

But then I think that this is my Aquarian moment. I will not trust anyone over 90. No, Dad, my generation has every right in the world to look to look aging, bald and unattractive. I start to feel pretty groovy.

 

Bill Levine is an IT professional, aspiring humorist and confirmed freelance writer from Belmont, Massachusetts.

 

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