Monday, March 12, 2012

Going to Great Lengths

Costumed revelers at the Kawasaki Halloween Parade

He looks me dead in the eye, then slowly turns his hand to point the tip of his index finger straight at my heart and says, “I’m going to get it cut, just wait and see.” I shrug my shoulders and tell him, “Go ahead, you don’t scare me.” I’m not at all fazed by his threat. I’ve been hearing it ring hollow for over a year now, ever since he graduated from grade school. Since then I’ve watched my second oldest son’s hair grow from above the ears to below the shoulders and beyond with very little in the way of styling or even combing in between. It’s not like I don’t like his long locks. I used to have them myself, when I had all my hair. So I say if you have them, go ahead and grow them long. I just worry about him getting his long strands tangled in some kind of machinery at school, like the pencil sharpener, etc. I also don’t want that mop atop his pate to provoke the ire of some junior high school teacher hell bent on upholding the old dress and hygiene code. That one with the permanent crease running across his forehead who has been just dying to christen a pair of well-oiled, titanium-edged clipping shears lying somewhere in the back of his top desk drawer ever since he laid eyes on Jiro’s mane. I’m also worried that it’s these kinds of worries that are at the root of my quickening pace of hair loss.

There’s really only one thing holding Jiro back from getting a haircut - FEAR. It's not a fear of scissors or anything like that. In fact he shares the exact same fear as his six-foot, seven-inch tall big brother. Their biggest fear is sticking out. Despite setting a new scholastic hair growth record,* Jiro is afraid that if he got a haircut now, the stark before-and-after contrast would attract the notice of all the other kids in school and that would be dreadful. So for now he’s going to great lengths to go unnoticed. 

*The previous record holder was, surprisingly enough, another North American-Japanese kid who moved to Canada during the summer (hair and all).

Temple Valley Trivia:
Local legend has it that our neighborhood public junior high ("Craineview Junior High School") served as the model for the classic Japanese dramatic television series Kinpachi Sensei (although the TV drama is set somewhere in Tokyo). I've been told that the actual school today is a very different place from what it was back when Kinpachi Sensei first aired in 1979.

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