My friend Chaos on Twitter just told a story that reminded me of this tale from my youth.
Disclaimer: If my uncle Bob or my cousin Scott should happen to see this, please do not mess this story up with the facts. This is a Family Story, which means that, if it deviates from what actually happened, so what? Unless, of course, the truth is even better.
There are a few bits of background you need to know: First, it is impossible to describe the degree of idiotic passion (on all sides) caused in the ’60s by how long a boy’s hair was. Seriously. Being told that so-and-so was suspended because his hair was below his collar didn’t rate a raised eyebrow. Second, you must understand that, while my family was all the way over on the Left, my uncle Bob, though never a conservative, was hardly a leftist. Indeed, he was the owner of a home-building company, lived in Mendota Heights, and was the proverbial “pillar of the community.” At least, that’s how we Brusts always viewed him (though, to be sure, there was a high degree of respect and a fierce and lasting affection between him and his sister, my mother, that continues between our families to this day).
So, as the story came to us, my cousin Scott–Bob’s oldest–was sent home from school because his sideburns were too long, and Bob was asked to come in and see the principal. Well, Bob delayed meeting him for a day, then another, then another, until, when he finally came in, this conservative, well-dressed, well-to-do pillar of the community had grown his sideburns down to his jawline. At which time he walked into the principal’s office, smiled at the poor befuddled man, and sweetly inquired as to what the problem was with his son?
We always adored uncle Bob.
Post-script: Today, Scott is a public defender in East Armpit Missouri, helping those who need it most desperately, and also donates his time to helping the inmates at Guantanamo. If you raise ’em right…