mr buzzcut.jpg

The buzzcut is a distinctive haircut for the American male.  Predominently a product of the military, the man who chooses to wear it out of uniform usually does so for the purpose of commanding authority.  I had a math teacher, Mr. Vak, who wore one and its mere presence scared us half to death.  It also didn’t hurt that he doubled as a professional football player.  I do not have an actual photo of him, but this is close:

buzzcut math teacher.jpg

Needless to say, we learned a lot of math and there was no nonsense in his classroom.

I had another teacher with a buzzcut.  He taught English.  He, too, took no pity on fools, but was a little less intimidating (and also about 75 lbs. lighter).  In fact, he even allowed Paul Pelak and I to engage in independent study in the back of his classroom, composing poetry.  No, really.  This was not a punishment.  He recognized our creative side and encouraged it.  Today Paul is a professional photographer and I am a writer.  That neither of us is a millionaire captain of industry I suppose we could blame on Mr. Judd.


When one wears a buzzcut, such as Mr. Judd pictured here, it becomes part of one’s personal signature.  It’s like the kid with the bright green Mohawk.  Take it away and even his best friends would have trouble recognizing him.

Thus it was no wonder that when Bob Judd, whom I credited at the end of THE FOURTH HOUSE for inspiring me to a career in creative writing, showed up at my book signing sans buzzcut, I must be excused for not immediately recognizing him.

lazy dog 7.JPG “Dude, I don’t recognize you with that long hair and besides, maybe if you’d have given me that “A” I deserved, I wouldn’t leave you hanging like this.”

lazy dog 6.jpg “Okay, okay, I’ll show you some love.  I’ll even forgive the mustache.  What’s with that, anyway?  Do you only go out incognito these days so former students won’t ask you for money or something?”