Got a haircut today at the local barbershop. Inside was a cute young kid, maybe five years-old, getting what had to be one of his first haircuts not by mom, who was standing diligently at his side to offer a consoling or controlling hand, depending. Turns out dad was getting his own hair trimmed two chairs over as both parents were pulling out all stops to make it seem like this experience was an A-OK idea.
Instinctively, the kid knew better, and the look on his face was priceless evidence of his logical concern. I knew exactly how he felt; I hated getting my hair cut as a kid, too.
And why not? How many times did mom tell me not to talk to strangers, and to keep away from sharp objects because, “you can put your eye out with that”?
“So now you are placing me in the hands of a stranger who is wielding a sharp object? Are you insane? It’s what you’ve been teaching me to avoid my whole life!”
Even at such a tender age, it gave one pause. What’s more, it made me reconsider a host of other counterfactual parental care policies, i.e. hair washing as a toddler.
See, ever since I emerged from that fluid-filled amniotic sac and began mouth and nose breathing on my own, it was pretty much my rule to never again submerge my breathing apparatus beneath the waves. That’s just preservation 101. So whenever Mom began to fill the sink when no dirty dishes were in sight, I got a real uneasy feeling.
“Wait just a minute here. You want to do what? In the name of clean hair you want to fully immerse me in water? I think not.
“Hey, I might be young, but I’m not stupid. There’s been a bad pattern emerging, as I see it. What was the very first thing you did when I popped out all fresh and new? Yeah, you let some stranger slap me around a little. Whataya call that, priming the pump? And shortly after that whatja do? Exactly, had another stranger with a sharp object begin snipping tissue down around that appendage upon which the bulk of my mental energies would be spent for the rest of my life.”
Thus did my distrust of and concerns about authority figures begin.
“Hey, kid. I’m with you on this one.”