Graduation and the Cost of a Haircut

Today marks the official start to my summer -- one day later than most of my co-workers as the counseling staff wrapped up our extended contract obligations for the year. Myles and Savannah finished the last half-day of their school year, Trisha had the day off and offered to spend the day doing something fun with all of the kids while I was working. Unfortunately, Mason wasn't feeling well so while everybody else hit up a few stores and a trampoline park, I worked from home and hung out with this kid all day.


At one point in the day, Mason seemed to be feeling okay and he'd been in desperate need of a haircut for a few weeks. Since I cut his hair at home, I figured we could take advantage of the time home together and around lunchtime we headed to the bathroom for a trim. I cut the top and the sides and was just about done trimming his neckline when I heard him say, "Dad, I have a headache."

"You'll be okay. We're just about finished."

And then...boom.

That kid dropped like a sack of rocks. No hands in front of him to catch himself, arms at his sides, and a straight up faceplant into the carpet floor outside the bathroom. 

After a few seconds that seems like an eternity, Mason shook the cobwebs and was as confused and scared as you'd expect from any nine-year-old who just fainted. But after a cold rag and a few minutes to snap back to reality, he was able to look past the tiny rug burn under his nose and laugh at how funny he thought he had to have looked.

Lesson learned. When cutting a sick kid's hair, let him sit down.

. . .

The only time in my life I remember fainting or knocking myself unconscious was when I was a freshman in high school. My first day of high school, actually.

I was in PE class -- 6th hour -- and it must have been raining outside because the activity of the day was a series of ridiculous relay races in the gym. One of the races was the one where you put your forehead on a bat and spin around ten times before taking off on a leg of the relay. Most normal people would be cautious in their dizziness and take their foot off the gas a bit to maintain at least some sense of balance.

Not me. 

I was about to show off for all of my new classmates by showing them how fast I was. I did my spins, dropped the bat and hit a dead sprint to the other end of the gym.

But my plan did not work.

First, I have never been a fast runner. Second, I did not make it to the other end of the gym.

No more than three strides into my sprint, I took an immediate and unexpected turn to the left ... head-first into a set of wooden bleachers stacked against the wall.


The next thing I remember was sitting in the school office while a secretary was asking me questions. Somehow I made it to my brother's car at the end of the day and headed home. As far as I'm aware, there was no phone call home to tell my parents that I probably had a concussion. No suggestion that I see a doctor. I'm assuming somebody just stuck a finger under my nose to be sure I was still breathing and then carried on with the day as usual.

That was the last time I ever did the spin-on-the-bat relay race and the last time I ever attempted to wow a room full of spectators with foot speed that I didn't have to begin with.

To this day, I can still hear the sound of my head hitting those bleachers.

I must have looked awesome.

. . .

Anyway, while Mason was home passing out during a haircut, everybody else was having a killer time at the trampoline park.

. . .

They got home about the time I needed to head out for an evening of graduation ceremonies at work -- 200+ seniors separated into three indoor ceremonies in order to maintain at least some semblance of social distancing.

I was given the task of addressing the audience to open each ceremony with an announcement requesting everyone wear appropriate face coverings and keep themselves spread out as much as possible. 

Much to my surprise, I only heard one audible groan in response to my announcements.

I admit, I don't always love my job. But after a week of closure to a challenging school year and an evening celebrating the students we show up to work with every day, it's hard not to recognize that I'm lucky to be part of an amazing team of educators.

Even after twenty years, there's still a great satisfaction in seeing these kids cross the graduation stage.

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