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Teachings of My Father (Part 4)

“You can’t eat hair.” That’s one of my father’s morals. I told that to my wife once when she said she needed $65 for a “hair cut”. She looked at me like I was stupid. In fact, she usually looked at me like I was stupid. We’re not even married anymore, but on the infrequent occasions we see each other, she looks at me like I am stupid! Divorce can be SO liberating.

In the late 70s, my father worked in the construction industry. He wore a lot of hats. One of his functions was to hire and fire laborers of all varieties. As you probably know, the industry attracts all kinds of people at the laborer level. Labor is easy in that you don’t have to think so much, and most anyone with two hands and a strong back can do it. Sure, your body gets beat all to hell. You go home tired and hurting, but you get a paycheck at the end of the week, and if you spend it right, you can drink the pain away. Hey, it’s not MY lifestyle, but a lot people live like that.

Long hair was quite the style for young men back then. Facial hair was a thing too. Look into any late 70s vintage movie. King Kong comes to mind. Check out the hair on Jeff Bridges. There was something about looking like Jesus that turned the ladies on, I guess. I was in my early teens, so I had little to no say in how long my hair could be. Therefore, it was short.

One day Dad told us he was having difficulty finding laborers to work. Part of it was the economy. It was in pretty good shape back then, and most everyone had a job. Hiring companies really had to scrounge for hands back then. He told us he could not hire any of the candidates because of their hair.

If hired, these men would be working around heavy machinery, complete with spinning wheels, belts and pulleys. Imagine catching a lock of hair in something like that. The man would be lucky if the machine only ripped his hair out by the roots. Some of the work required the use of a respirator. Those things are useless if placed over a full beard. Long hair was a liability the company could not afford.

These men need a job; they want to work. But I can’t hire them because of their hair. And when I tell them that, they accuse me of stifling their right to express themselves. You gotta eat. You gotta have money to buy food. You gotta have a job to make money. But their hair is more important than a job? Boys, you can’t eat hair.

You may notice my profile picture. I still have short hair, and so does my brother.

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