The day I turned 14 years old, my folks and I moved into the seventh dwelling we’d ever called home.
I’d taken the other relocations in stride. Most were across the same town or to a different rented house in the same subdivision. This move took me to a whole new state and a whole new way of life.
It was the first time we’d moved since I became a teenager, and I finally had something on my mind besides finding new guy friends who suited my style and tolerated my quirks and shortcomings.
I was starting to get interested in girls. High school was just a year off, and I knew the ladies wouldn’t give me a second look until I overcame my biggest social shortcoming.
I was the boy with a buzz cut. And when the Beatles were waiting in the wings and a musical called “Hair” was about to go into rehearsals, buzz cuts didn’t cut it.
My mother must have figured that my personality alone was enough to repel most girls, so she let me take it to the next level and grow a flat top.
When I started high school more hair was allowed. It never got long enough to part, but was long enough to brush to one side. It felt like victory.
During the late 60s and early 70s, I let it grow. When I started taking day jobs that required minimum grooming standards, I got a conservative clip and kept at it.
Until now. I haven’t had a haircut in almost three months. My hair is naturally limp and doesn’t do well untended. After three months, my hair is acting like a teenager with a brand new driver’s license — out of control and loving its newfound freedom.
Instead of sporting lush, long locks like a rock star, I look like a refugee from grooming school. And my hair isn’t just growing too long, it’s growing in all the wrong places.
What hair I have left on top of my head is thinning. But the hair on the sides of my head is totally out of control, growing in directions not intended by the good Lord or the laws of gravity.
No matter how hard I brush or how much “product” I pour on, my side hair goes straight out, then curls up on the end like the toes of the shoes the Shriners used to wear at local parades.
I could freeze my side hair and rent it out to small animals for use as a ski jump.
I look exactly like Bozo the Clown.
People my age remember the “Bozo the Clown” TV show. Younger folks may not know that the creepy clown character depicted in film versions of Stephen King’s novel “It” looks just like, well, you know who.
This won’t do. I need a trim. But I’m trying to follow good social distancing etiquette and don’t want to inflict my personality – or potential germs – on innocent bystanders.
The struggle is real. The struggle gets worse each time I pass a mirror and see Bozo staring back.
I’ve actually considered trying to coax a grooming professional to drop by the house and set up in the front yard and clip my hair from a safe distance.
Turning a stranger loose on my hair is scary. But the biblical story of Samson and Delilah proves that knowing your hairdresser doesn’t guarantee a great outcome.
Maybe I’ll let things ride for a while. Bozo hair is bad. The alternative could be worse.
(Alex McRae is a writer and ghostwriter and author of There Ain’t No Gentle Cycle on the Washing Machine of Love. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org .)