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Chuck Brooks: No hair to be seen; or a recent brush with disaster

So, where were we .. oh, yea. Hair. My hair.

I shared with you last week the story of the perm from hell. On to stories No 2 and 3.

The second story happened, I believe, in June of 1991. I had just gotten home from checking out at school for the summer. I was at my computer, fine-tuning the speech I was going to give that evening as faculty speaker at graduation.

I received a call as I was working on it. The call was from the two people heading up the summer production of "Annie." I had worked with the director on a previous show and the musical director was a former colleague. They were inviting me to audition for the role of Daddy Warbucks.

The audition period had expired, but they didn't have the right type of individual audition for the role. They felt I could handle the challenge.

Immediately, my mind went to "Daddy Warbucks is bald!" This was an interesting moment in my life. There was the incredibly hammy side of Chuck Brooks who loved the stage and the applause. Then there was the uptight side of Chuck Brooks who didn't want his head shaved.

So, my shotgun response was "Do I have to shave my head? Cuz I don't want to shave my head." They told me they had already planned for that reaction and had hired folks from Minneapolis to come teach one of the cast members how to apply a skull cap to my head each night. All that was left was for me to run over to Eagan High School where the two directors were and simply sing a little for them.

Do I want to give up my summer to a rigid rehearsal schedule? Or do I want to be Daddy Warbucks and perform again?

Hammy won. I left my speech for an hour to run over, jump through the hoop, and then accept their offer of the role. I was pumped.

The cap

I was told, however, I'd have to accommodate the skull cap to some degree. The folks from Minneapolis communicated the need for me to get a tight haircut on the sides of my head, especially around my ears, and short on top. Really short. If the glue was going to attach itself, it would need skin. The hair would not allow for a tight bond if the hair intervened.

So, I did. And it was short! But no cost is too great for the roar of the crowd! (Except baldness.)

On two different performance nights, major tragedies nearly occurred.

One night, the skull cap began to tear on the left side of my head. It was happening just before intermission. One of the cast members had two band-aids in his billfold, so we used them as stitches, spruced them up with makeup and I finished the show, my bald head intact.

The second near-tragedy was when I could feel the skull cap beginning to loosen at the nape of my neck. I would sweat under this thing like no one's business. The water would break down the glue. That specific night, it was horrendously scary. I thought I was going to lose the cap if I nodded my head too quickly. I had visions of it shooting itself off my head and ending up in someone's lap in the second row. It didn't.

Clipper setting 3

My third hair story happened about three weeks ago. I arrived at a business that cuts my hair all the time. This was, however, at an Eagan location; I usually go to the Apple Valley shop. I was checked in, sat in their chair, and they asked me what I was looking for today; as always, I said, "Whatever the computer says." So the lady went back to the computer and returned saying, "Ok. Three on the side and back, four in the front."

Yup. Sure. Whatever.

She then proceeded to pull out the electric clippers, adding an attachment. I thought this strange as they usually begin with a scissors and their fingers. She then turned on the shears and, like you have seen in boot camp preparation videos, she proceeded to virtually shave my head of hair. Not kidding.

I sat there dumbfounded after the first run but by the third, I stopped thinking "She must know what she's doing" and began thinking "You've got to be kidding me!"

The haircut was done in minutes! Fastest ever! I paid for it, said nothing and left. I stopped at the place I normally go in Apple Valley, had them pull up my account and look at my normal haircut. Then, I asked them, "Does this look like what the computer says?" They fearfully replied, "No." I think I growled.

I haven't used my brush for three weeks and won't need it for at least three more. My hair dries in seconds now after showering, and I no longer have morning hair.

Silver linings? Yup, sure, whatever.