I feel like the elephant man.
Children shriek when I walk down the street, women avert their gazes downward. Men steel their jaws as if to prove they can take it.
Or at least it feels that way to me. You see, Iím the victim of a bad haircut.
How bad? Iíve seen sheep getting sheared on the Discovery Channel that are better coiffed than me.
I sure am thankful to be here in print where they let you keep the same mug shot as long as it continues to bear a passing resemblance to the person behind the pen. You couldnít pay me enough to be on television right now. Unless I could wear a hat. A big hat.
There was a new guy at the barber shop. "How bad can he be?" I thought to myself. I told him I just wanted a regular haircut.
The clippers buzzed to life and about twenty seconds later I didnít have enought hair left to make a dress for Jennifer Lopez.
Of all the technological changes made in the last century, the barberís transition from scissors to electric clippers is the most insidious. Itís strip mining for the head, I tell you.
I have thought of finishing the job and taking the Gillette and a lump of Barbasol to my head. But other than Telly Savalas and Michael Jordan, not many men can pull off the look. Iíd end up looking like an overaged skinhead.
It shouldnít be that hard to get a decent haircut. My wife Liz insists one needs to find the right specialist for a particular situation. A stylist who can do a long haircut isnít the same person you should see to get a short Ďdoo for the summer. And doing hair color is a compeletely different thing, she says. Not that she colors her hair, No-sir-ee Bob, but if she did . . .
I can see scouting around for a specialist if you need someone to do brain surgery or even podiatry, but hair?
Going to the barber shop used to be fun. Iíd sit around and get caught up with Superman and Green Lantern and maybe leaf through an out-of date Sporting News (I hope Mantleís knees hold out. This Koufax kid sure looks like and up-and-comer).
Now all the magazines for men are about getting six-pack abs or coping with the new casual dress policy at the office. As if thatís more interesting than the latest devious plot of Lex Luther.
And whatever happened to the free piece of Bazooka at the end of a haircut? I tip better than I used to, itís the least they can do.
I canít think of a solution to this haircut problem other than continuing to try new barbers and thatís a might iffy course to take. I sure donít want to go through this again.
Iíve toyed with the notion of doing it myself, but Iím certain I would end up like Beaver in "Leave it to Beaver" the time he lost his haircut money and tried to hide it from Ward and June by cutting it himself.
And Iím guessing that because I havenít seen an ad for a Flowbee in some time that those things didnít work so well.
Until I figure it out, no one I know better complain about having a bad hair day. Iím in for a bad hair month. If Iím lucky.
So smile the next time you see a man wearing a hat coming down the street toward you. It might be me.
March 27, 2000