When the boy was born, he had a full head of hair.
“It’s a shame he’ll lose it. All babies lose their first hair,” the old ladies who cooed at him would say.
But he didn’t.
It grew quickly. He got a lot of haircuts. And he hated them all.
Hated is kind of an understatement. We couldn’t cut it at home – neither Owen nor I could handle the screaming and kicking. We’d take him to a salon (a different one, every time), and one us would hold his body, one of us would hold his head, and the horrified hairdresser would try to cut his hair.
I seriously started to wonder if maybe cutting his hair caused him pain, like Samson.
I knew it couldn’t be true. But I wondered.
One day, on my way home from work, I noticed how shaggy the kid was getting. The hair in his eyes just screamed, “You’re neglectful! You suck as a mom! And the proof is there for everyone to see!”. So I decided, spur of the moment, to get the kid a haircut.
We pull into a strip mall, go into one of those chain hair-cutting places. The only hairdresser left for the day puts my son in a chair for his cut.
He put on the show of his little lifetime. Red face. The bribe Smarties skittering across the salon floor. Snot bubbling out of his nose and onto his cheeks. I think he even kicked her in the ovary at one point. But like every other hairdresser before her, she figured that she could be the one who changed him.
When it was over, all 3 of us were limp dishrags, exhausted.
I tipped $20 on a $10 haircut. The hairdresser never even raised an eyebrow at that. She knew she earned it.
The next day, I was reading the newspaper.
There was an article about a robbery. Hey, I thought, that’s the neighborhood we were in for the haircut yesterday! I kept reading.
We finished at the salon at 4:50 pm. At 4:55, a man entered the store, brandished a machete, and got away with all the money in the till.
Whenever I think I’m having a bad day, I think about that hairdresser.
(Thank god I paid by credit card. At least she got to keep my money.)