April 2012
Through the Fence

Hasty Haircut

When emotions are running high, men often make rash statements. Unfortunately, they often live to regret them. When our ag teacher, Mr. Randolph, was working in west Texas he had a bunch of hard-working students who had prepared for the livestock judging team. They had studied breed characteristics of cows, hogs and sheep. They’d looked at countless head of livestock, evaluating their strong and weak points.

Their team won district and felt certain they would place high enough at regional to go on to the state. Those kids were so sure they made a bet with Mr. Randolph. If they won, they’d get to shave his head. Either he was more sure they wouldn’t win or else he’d be so thrilled if they did, he wouldn’t mind being bald for a few weeks. But, if they lost, then he’d get to shave all of their heads.

The judging team was cocky and confident on the day of the contest, but when the results were posted, they came in fifth place. And only the top two teams could advance to the state meet. As dejected as the kids were, when they got home, they had to pay up. Mr. Randolph lined them all up in the ag shop and plugged in the clippers. One by one, he zipped off their hair right down the scalp. After the initial shock wore off, they didn’t mind it too bad.

Fast forward about 20 years and Mr. Randolph now has a rascally son, Logan, in his ag class that is good friends with my son, Landon. At 16, they are both pretty sophomoric as are most boys their age — as my dad would say "full of piss and vinegar." They pulled one of their mischievous stunts the other day.

Since stock show time was fast approaching, things were really hectic at school with kids getting ready to show their animals and having other projects in the county youth fair. The kids at our school wanted to look their best in the show ring — with well-groomed hair, sparkly new belts and boots, and heavily-starched Western shirts. Mrs. Randolph always cuts her son’s hair, but, with all the flurry of activity at school and at their house, there hadn’t been time to cut his hair.

About a week before the county show, the ag kids had been wrestling show hogs all morning, putting them onto the metal stands, securing them fast and clipping their bristly hair. Right in the middle of all the pig squalling and squealing, Mr. Randolph was called away into another building to take an important phone call.

"Hey, Landon," Logan whispered as his dad left the shop. "Why don’t you just shave my head with the pig clippers?"

Landon laughed at him for a moment until he realized his friend was serious.

It was a dream come true for him. Landon loved to cut hair. I threatened his life once when he was five because he found a pair of scissors and cut his little sister’s hair off. She looked like a baby chicken for six months.

"Hurry!" Logan urged. "You can be done before Dad gets back in here!"

That was all the encouragement he needed. With the show hog still bawling on the stand, Landon grabbed the clippers and told Logan to lean over. In about a minute-and-a-half, Logan’s dark brown mane was transformed into a short, military buzz cut. He raked the loose hair off his head and shoulders, and ran his hand over his prickly scalp and smiled.

"Perfect!" he said to Landon, who was already standing back admiring his handiwork.

Logan pulled his knit cap back on his head right as his dad walked in. The boy flashed a sly smile at his father as he jerked off the toboggan with a flourish.

"Ta da!" he said.

His dad was speechless for a moment. "Well, I guess we can cross one thing off your mama’s list."

After lunch, Landon ran into my classroom smiling like a Cheshire cat. He could hardly wait to tell me the news of his "epic" haircut.

"That’s great!" I said. "I’m glad Logan likes it. Just don’t get near your sister with those clippers!"

Lisa Hamblen Hood lives near Priddy, Texas, where she teaches English, Art and Spanish. E-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..