“Give him the GI.”

Welcome to our regular Saturday feature “What Aggravates Me”

By Comedian John Knight

Growing up with a father who was an ex-marine influenced my child hood haircuts.

“Give him the GI.”

Shaved on the sides, sticking straight up on top. Add to that glasses, my fat stomach always protruding from the bottom of my shirt and my fly only half zipped, I was all the girls dream.

Looking at old photos, my younger brother always had a normal haircut. Probably because he would throw a tantrum in the barber chair. It would take two guys to hold him down, while another attempted to cut his hair. I realize now that it wasn’t a fear of the barber. It’s just that he saw what they did to me and wasn’t about to let them do that to his head.

I don’t remember my dad spanking us much as kids. It was just the fear that he might that kept us in line.

Probably the dumbest thing I did as a child was buying one of those cheap paddle balls. I think I had it for about ten minutes before the ball came unattached. After that it just became “The Paddle.” I basically bought a toy that my father could discipline us with.

He could have a bit of a temper. I remember saying the wrong thing to him as a teenager. Then I was stupid enough to think I was safe behind a locked bathroom door.

Since he claimed it was my fault, I had to wood putty, sand and paint the hole he punched in the door. This came in handy later in life when I put a hole in my own door. What is it? The apple doesn’t fall…whatever.

My dad never put on a pair of jeans or sneakers until he was in his forties. He grew up poor during the depression and those were “what poor people wore.”

He would wear button down shirts, dress pants and dress shoes, even to picnics. I remember being at the fireman’s picnic at Fairhaven park one 4th of July. They were having a 40 yard dash. My dad’s sister Edie said,

“Jack, why don’t you go down and win the race?”

There were a bunch of guys in shorts and running shoes, stretching and laughing at the guy in dress shoes. They weren’t laughing after he left them in the dust. It wasn’t even close.

It was his 70th birthday, which we didn’t know at the time would be his last. We had a family picnic in his honor. He wouldn’t have been able to win any races that day. He got disgusted because he couldn’t even throw a horseshoe. Even though I was an adult at the time, it’s hard to see your childhood hero become old and frail.

So, it’s another Father’s Day without him. That’s what aggravates me this week.

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