Now Hair This!

December 7, 2010 at 5:11 am (Uncategorized)

My father had a highly-developed self-deprecating sense of humor, which was very fortunate, because hilarious things often happened to him. Many of those things involved his hair, or lack thereof. Dad lost much of his hair at any early age, so I really have no memory of him with any natural growth on his head. When I was a teenager he began wearing a toupee either through vanity or because he played in a dance band, and you just don’t see many bald musicians.

Anyway, in the spring of 1966 I was still living home after being discharged from the Army. Dad usually had band jobs on the weekends, and this one particular Saturday he prepared for his gig by shampooing his hairpiece. However, as the time to leave approached, his “rug” was still damp.

In desperation, my father decided to dry his toupee in the oven! Bad idea! Unfortunately, he set the temperature a bit too high, and after a few minutes smoke began pouring into the kitchen as the wig caught fire! Howling like a banshee, Dad snatched the blazing thing from the oven and tossed it into the sink. After extinguishing the flames under the faucet, he picked up the bedraggled mess. Parts of it were singed black, and there were a few bare spots in the “scalp” where the hair had been burned off. Lacking a spare, he had no choice but to wear it.

Dad grabbed a towel and a hair dryer and went to work. When he was satisfied that the toupee wasn’t too wet to wear, he positioned it carefully on his head. Good Lord! Sections of the hairpiece were charred, and to make matters worse, it had shrunk! Dad now had a half inch-wide part that ran completely around the side of his skull! He looked like he had a dead skunk on his head!

I was just coming in as he raced out the door. When I saw that ridiculous sight, I collapsed on the stairs in wild laughter. He just glared at me, jumped into his car and took off. Well, there was one good development that night: nobody took a shot at him!

On another occasion, Dad was visiting at my sister Suzanne’s house. After saying hello to my nephew Jason, he sat on the living room couch to watch TV while Sue worked in the kitchen. After a short while, he began to fall asleep. As his head drooped, his toupee slid off and fell to the floor.

About this time, Jason came back into the room. He had never seen his grandfather without hair before. In a panic, he went running into the kitchen to his mother. “Ma!” he cried. “There’s a man in the house!”

Sue dashed into the living room only to find Dad snoozing on the couch. She burst into uncontrolled laughter while poor Jason cowered behind her. “That’s your grandfather!” she finally gasped. The commotion woke up Dad. When Sue told him what had happened and he saw his hair lying on the floor, he picked up the toupee and slapped it back on his head. But the damage had been done. Jason avoided him like the plague for the rest of the day.

Another incident that comes to mind occurred while Dad was working as a school bus driver. One of his passengers was a young special-needs girl who was prone to violent outbursts. Dad’s matron, Rose Politano, had seated the little girl directly behind the driver where she could keep a close eye on her.

As they headed off down the road, the child erupted in a wild tantrum for some reason. Jumping to her feet, she reached across and tried to snatch Dad’s toupee from his head! I guess “wigged out” would appropriately describe her behavior, pun intended. Letting out a whoop of dismay, my father grabbed the “rug” with his right hand in an attempt to keep from losing it. And with his left hand, he continued trying to steer the bus.

Poor Rosie was laughing so hard that it took her several minutes to get the little girl to release her grip on Dad’s hair. By that time, they had traveled quite a distance, swerving back and forth along the street. Fortunately, no harm was done, other than to Dad’s ego.
To this day, Rose Politano can never finish telling that “hair-raising” story because she’s always overcome by an uproarious laughing fit!

Well, I’m sure Dad must have experienced other such ordeals. If you’re aware of any, please let me know and I’ll add them to the collection.

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