Going to the Chair

Going to the Chair - 02 Going to the Chair

 

I was doing some luxury shopping at the Dollar Store opposite the Barber School, and I figured I might as well get a haircut while I was in the vicinity. I didn’t really think I needed one, but Easter is this Sunday, and I’m going out with Debbie and her mother for Easter Dinner. I never met her mother before, so I figured that a fresh haircut might help make a good first impression.

There’s never a line at the Barber School. At $3 a haircut, they do draw a lot of customers, but they’ve got a couple dozen guys waiting around just to practice on somebody. So, there’s never a line, but I always have to wait a little bit, while a half dozen future black barbers figure out who needs the most practice on Caucasian hair.

For $3 you get the hair cut out of wherever it appears north of your neck, your head, your ears, your eyebrows – all included. Like I said, these guys want to practice, and I usually get the guy that needs the most. That’s cool, though. When the student is finished and turns me towards the instructor, the instructor fixes whatever they botched up, and schools them. So, I get two haircuts for $3, the rough cut by the student, and the finishing cut by the instructor.

Today, I got a guy who was in his second week of training.

“How do you want it cut?”

“Just a trim.”

I think he was cutting one or two hairs at a time. He didn’t talk as he concentrated on his work, but after 45 minutes, he relaxed a bit and talked to me. His arms were tired from holding them up in the air with the comb and scissors so long. I asked him if his feet hurt. I would think your feet would get tired of holding up your body, before your arms got tired of holding up a scissors. He said his feet didn’t bother him a bit. I was surprised.

I told him that I had been getting my haircut at the Barber’s School since January. I told him that I was new in town. He told me that he was too.

I asked him where he was from.

“Prison,” he said, and I was surprised again. Not that he just got out of prison, but because he was so open about it. We talked about it a bit and he continued to snip away. He was determined to turn his life around. Now, he wanted to be a barber, instead of being a hoodlum. I hoped he would make it. Especially since he now had access to both a straight razor and my neck.

“You gonna be done by 6?” the instructor asked him.

“Sure, Mr. G.”

Six o’clock came and went and he was still snipping away. Finally, around 6:10 he put down the scissors, picked up the clippers and asked me if I wanted it round or square in the back. Ten minutes later he was done. He called Mr. G. over to inspect his work.

There wasn’t much hair left for Mr. G to work with, but he evened out the rough spots, and pointed out ways that the young barber could improve.

The young man paid close attention, and I hoped that he would graduate from Barber School and someday have his own barbershop.

When the hand mirror came out I didn’t quite recognize myself. Only in Boot Camp was my hair ever shorter. Oh well, it’s only hair.  I figure I’m still just a six-pack shy of handsome, and maybe my hair will grow in a little bit by Easter.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,

Earl

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