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Monday, October 20, 2008

The Cost of Dreadlocks

Dreadlocks and AllowanceOff of the Political rants for a moment - there's something far more pressing that needs to be Screamed about. Okay, maybe not "far more pressing" but it's something that I've been chewing on for a couple of days.

As you may remember, from previous posts, my oldest son is about to turn 18 in a couple of weeks. Yes, that magical number that we all look forward to. The one that says "Hey Damn-it! I'm an adult - back-off! I can do what I want." always followed by the parental statement of "Not as long as you live in my house. You WILL abide by my rules - period - end of discussion." of course it never is... at least not here... sigh... Parenting hand book where are you?!

The most recent case of parental heartburn is caused by non-other than The Gift/Curse of my loins. The Curse has, for the past six years, worn the same hair cut. A barbershop clipper cut #2 blade all the way around, short sideburns and rounded back. So easy that for years I've been cutting his hair and saving the $12.00 it would have cost to pay someone else for the cut. At first the cut annoyed me, mainly because - to me, there was no style to it - but over time I've grown used to my boy and his "Curious George" hair style.

While we were in San Diego attending our friends graduation from Marine Boot-camp, and while we all were enjoying a relaxing time on the beach, The Curse decides to announce that he's going to grow "dreadlocks". Okay, so I'm not shocked by this, at 18 (prior to joining the Army) I had hair to the middle of my back (the important part of that fact is: I had hair - not so much anymore) I'm pretty liberal when it comes to what the kids want or don't want to do with their hair. They've had long hair, short hair, Mohawks, designs cut-in. It's hair - no biggie. I look at it like, okay, you're only young once so you might as well enjoy it. It's a passing phase; a statement for shock effect; go be a rebel with your hair who cares...

A week or so passes and it seems unusually quiet. The Curse isn't hounding me to cut his hair, trim him up or any of the other usual badgering that come with his grooming habits. Maybe he's serious about this Dreadlocks thing. Then, one night not too many nights ago, he announces at dinner that he's found the information, the "How-To's" of Dreadlocks.

Okay, good, son.

AND, there's a shop in town that will do it once his hair gets to be at least 3-inches long...

Okay, good, son.

AND they don't charge a lot.


Now, just to refresh the background on my son: He doesn't drive, doesn't have a license - not a bad thing really. He doesn't work - has only had 1 part time job since he turned 16 and it lasted 3 weeks. It cramps his style... Holy Crap! It cramps my wallet! But because he tends to struggle in school we have told him that his primary focus is grades. The counter to that in our minds is that... since he continues to struggle in school his butt should be out working regardless. We've talked and talked and restricted the cash flow and done everything we can think of... yet my lovely little curse refuses to work... so the conversation over dreadlocks continues:

Young man, you are getting ready to turn 18. Mom and Dad have just paid for a Class Ring, Graduation Announcements, Senior Pictures, and your birthday is in a couple of weeks - not to mention Christmas - how do YOU plan to pay for these dreadlocks? Maybe you'd better get a JOB...

Dad, fine if you won't pay for it then I'll just use my allowance.

AND the heartburn sets in.

Allowance!!! YOU ARE 18 FRIGGIN' YEARS OLD!!! Allowance! Allowance is when I ALLOW YOU to keep living here, eating me out of house and home. Allowance is when I ALLOW you to live here rent free. Allowance is when I don't ask you for money for running your TV all night or leaving the lights on in the bathroom. Allowance is when you don't have to pay utilities. Allowance is using my phone nonstop from the time you get home until God knows when at night - Allowance?!! Are you KIDDING? Hell, I can barely get you to mow the damn yard without me having to ride you like I'm in a !*$% rodeo! GET A JOB. Allowance? Are you KIDDING me!?!

Son, do you really think that you're going to get allowance when you turn 18?


Maybe it was an unwarranted rant... maybe. Maybe it was just my wallet channeling through my voice-box saying enough is enough... maybe. Maybe it's a Father trying to help his son stand... maybe. Where's that damned handbook? My wife is always telling me not to throw the owners manuals away.... I know it's around here somewhere.

Here's to Dreadlocks.... and.... SCREAMING at the TV!

You have been given a voice, use it. Go out and SCREAM! about something you care about.

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