I Need a Haircut

HaircutI need a haircut. My barber needs my custom. My barber’s landlord needs his rent-check. My barber’s landlord’s bank needs his mortgage payment. The corporate bank needs the local office to stay solvent. Etcetera, etcetera. It cascades upwards. The lockdown, if it were ever justified, is now simply an economic suicide pact. We need to live free or we will die.

29 thoughts on “I Need a Haircut

  1. Fear not, the Weimar government will print enough money for everyone to pay their bills. All is well, except that you still need a haircut.

    • Kafka posted a letter to his parents (or one of his sisters, I forget which) from Berlin when he lived there with Dora Diamant during the inflationary period. The stamp cost one billion Reichsmarks and the letter was returned with the words: “Insufficient postage paid”.

    • I’m already pulling it out, but it keeps growing back. (You’ll be telling me I’m lucky — I’m sixty -five and I still have my hair!)

  2. Tom, were I tech savvy enough to post it I’d add a photo of myself I took the other day wearing a contractor’s dust mask with the message written in permanent marker across its front stating that “If you can read this, you’re WAY too close!” Mocking the hysterical among us a good form of relief; better than the alternatives, I’d say. Meanwhile, my barber might well be the poorest soon-to-be-weathy man I know. Between the four of us (me, and my three sons still living at home) I’ve been paying him at least sixty dollars a month for several years to keep us all looking presentable. Starting to get a little shaggy lately.

    P.S. The photo you posted is pretty scary! It reminds me of Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health. Google him/her/it.

  3. Pingback: I Need a Haircut | Reaction Times

  4. Just remember to follow this all-important advice when the time comes that the health apparatchiks allow you to get a haircut again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGa9IvpooKI There is an official video for this song but it leaves out the second section. Oddly, this would seem to be for politically correct reasons, despite the fact that this artist is about as far from political correctness as you can get in the world of professional entertainment.

    • I once accompanied my wife to a French Literature Conference at Clinch Valley College in the Virginia coal district. Not very interested in attending the sessions, on Saturday I wandered into town — a bleak place, mostly shuttered, with a layer of coal-dust everywhere. I felt a bit shaggy and noticed that one of the few non-shuttered businesses was a barbershop, which I entered. As there were apparently no other customers, the barber, a man in his sixties, politely beckoned me into the chair. I write “apparently no other customers” because there were two black men occupying the row of chairs against one wall. They seemed amused by my presence and spoke words to the barber, but their accents were so heavy and unfamiliar that I could only guess at what they said. Ditto the barber. It sounded like a foreign language. I responded to his tone and said, “No, I’m not from around here,” and other things that struck me as appropriate. Every once in a while, one of the two men said something to the barber, in respect of me I thought, and then laughed loudly, and the barber laughed back. But — and here’s the thing — I never felt any hostility. I could tell that they were amused by a stranger — and they probably didn’t see many strangers in that barbershop. I tipped the man generously. All three men waved to me on my way out. Most memorable haircut I ever had.

      • When I first moved to inner city Washington, D.C. in the early 1980s, I naively entered a black barbershop in want of a haircut. It is possible the barber had no experience with lank hair, and it is also possible he was letting me know I was not welcome in his shop, but the haircut he gave me looked like it had been self-administered, while drunk, with a blunt pocket knife.

      • I once tried to get my extremely white brown hair cut in the African American beauty parlor that happened to be the one closest to my house in Atlanta. The proprietor simply informed that I needed to get out. And so I did and drove on.

  5. For my own part, although I’m a very fair-skinned Irishman, I have very curly hair. Because of its springiness and ability to retain its shape despite the most grievous injury inflicted by my scissoring, I have always cut my own hair. So this problem does not effect me. I suppose this means I’m a bit of a tightwad, too.

    • The motive behind my post was equally humorous and serious. Let me emphasize the serious side, using the haircut theme. A haircut in a barber shop is much more than a monetary transaction, trading cash for a service. It is a potentially rich social occasion. One talks with the other men waiting to occupy the barber’s chair — politics local and national, wife-stories, family stories, jokes. In the long term people become acquaintances, even friends. Barber shops are one of the few remaining exclusively masculine institutions in North America. These are reasons for judging the shuttering of tonsorial enterprises as non-trivial. Why close barber shops in Oswego, moreover, when the subways are still running in the Big Apple? The government orders us into our Panopticon cells, and tells us to keep six feet apart when out on “essential” errands while monitoring our compliance from aerial drones, but meanwhile it crowds people into the stinking, filthy underground trains where six-feet-apart is an impossibility.

      • Tom, our barber is about twenty years my senior, and about ten years yours. I love talking to him because he knows a lot I don’t know, and I love for my boys to talk to him because he is something of a grandfatherly figure for them.

        When we go into his shop (which is shuttered “until further notice”) there are almost always two or three other gentlemen ahead of us awaiting their turn in the seat, and one of course in the seat. Our barber is a great conversationalist. He loves to talk religion and politics, although he claims to hate talking religion and politics. He is an old school Democrat, and as such hates Donald Trump with a passion. I don’t at all mind that he doesn’t like Trump; heck, I ain’t too fond of Mr. Trump myself, but I see no reason to hate the man so I don’t.

        I’ll share a funny anecdote from several months back at the barber:

        I had made my way to the seat when one of my uncles came along. My uncle is a bit of a jokester and really likes getting under the skin of Trump haters. Now, keep in mind that our barber is an old-school barber and shaves mens’ necks with a straight razor. While I was getting my hair cut, my uncle began to ‘sing the praises’ of Mr. Trump. This our barber didn’t take very well. But at one point the barber (who got the nickname “Punkin” years and years ago before I was ever born) said, ‘y’know, nothing you can say in favor of Donald Trump or the Republicans will ever bother me because I never get mad or upset when my political opponents spew nonsense.’ Undismayed by this, my uncle turned it on two-fold. Ol’ Punkin’ started to get wound up and began to shake in anger. At which point I said to my uncle, and I quote, “will you please shut the hell up before he cuts my throat!” The whole room got a big laugh out of that, including Punkin; my uncle kept his tongue from there on out, and I walked away from the chair unscathed. LOL!

        True story!

      • Tom: Here is our barber in his prime:

        In spite of his music from yesteryear, or, perhaps because of it, my boys and I glean lots of useful information from him. We have done lots of work for him that we just trade for haircuts instead of exchanging cash. At $60 bucks a pop it never seems to last long enough on our end. But I guarantee you I could go to his house today and ask that he cut all our hair, and he would most assuredly not deny us. I wouldn’t do that, though, mostly because his wife has several health problems COVID could potentially make worse, plus I really think he needs a break in any case.

      • but meanwhile it crowds people into the stinking, filthy underground trains where six-feet-apart is an impossibility.

        Ah, but Professor Bertonneau! you have missed the point. Those filthy underground trains, as you so aptly call them, are not six-feet-apart-capable but they are apt practice for the ever-popular-with-the-State six-feet-under.

  6. I here this stuff and it seems like an overreaction. You know we fought two world wars, right? There will be hardship, but it will end. It’s been a month. Chill out.

    • Employment rose during the First and Second World Wars, as it was rising before the virus-restriction shuttered our society. Not that I endorse war — I only endorse rising employment. The government did not tell people to stay in their homes during the two wars.

    • Josh, *we* didn’t fight anything of the sort; our ancestors did.

      Tom rightly points out that the government didn’t shutter the economy during those wars, but I would further point out that our ancestors who lived during those wars were also a lot more self-sufficient than we are in our time. You flippantly dismiss that there will be suffering but it will pass; I’m here to tell you the human suffering forthcoming is going to make the Great Depression look like a cake walk by comparison. How do I know? I know because I’m old enough to remember a time when my great grandmothers saved used buttons off of used clothing in coffee cans to sew on the new clothing they made themselves. They also raised large gardens (not these half-assed little tiddlywink gardens you see today) year-in, year-out; they raised their own beef and pork, and made their own dairy products; they had chicken farms, and so on and so forth.

      The breaking of the supply chains is a huge deal, man, I don’t care who you are or how much you know. My wife and I, for example, plowed up and planted a third of an acre this year (approx. three times the size our normal garden); if Providence favors us we’ll have lots of canned vegetables to help get us by. I predicted a month ago that my preference for fresh eggs (as opposed to store-bought eggs) would essentially become everyone’s preference due to egg supplies being cut off. And here we are. This means, for us, that we’re probably going to have to start raising and harvesting our own chickens and eggs. So be it, but do *you* know anything about chicken farming? About churning your own butter? About slaughtering, cutting up and packaging your own meat? Where i come from most everyone can “skin a buck, and run a trot line, ’cause a country boy can survive.” Can you? Can half of America? Can a third of America? Can a tenth of America? Think about it!

      • Terry, you are a fine writer. Your prose has an immediacy about it — it always comes fully to its point.

      • What do you think is the probability that eggs will be unavailable at supermarkets? I put it pretty close to zero. When do you expect this to happen? I think it’s more likely that Disney World is reopened by the end of July than basic foodstuff become unavailable in the US at any point.

      • Josh wrote:

        What do you think is the probability that eggs will be unavailable at supermarkets? I put it pretty close to zero.

        Well, then, you apparently have no skin in the game, Josh, with all due respect. You further wrote:

        When do you expect this to happen?

        You mean on a broad, nationwide scale? Within the next few months is my answer. It’s already happening, as Tom points out, on a smaller scale. Brace yourself if you’re wise. If not, well… You wrote:

        I think it’s more likely that Disney World is reopened by the end of July than basic foodstuff become unavailable in the US at any point.

        Whether Disney is re-opened or not notwithstanding, you do realize, do you not, that cattle ranchers are now sounding the alarm that they’re unable to put their cattle to market? My boys work the sale at Bowie, TX now and again; we know, or are at least acquainted with, several of the traders in that market. They’re worried – all of them, to the man. You’d best be worried too, Josh. I guarantee you they know more about supply chains than you ever thought of knowing. In a multitude of counselors there is wisdom. Wise up!

  7. @Josh. — Eggs are only intermittently available in Oswego’s grocery stores. There were none at all when I visited the local grocery three days ago. Are the meat-shelves half full or half empty? Six weeks ago they were unambiguously full. Also: No pasta of any kind; no rice; potatoes only — and expensive. Undoubtedly these conditions vary with locale. But they are increasingly the case. Unless the lockdown lifts (and rebellion begins to show itself), these conditions will be coming to a locale near you.

    • I have a line – have no idea how long it will last – of buying certain food products in bulk – red beans, potatoes, rice and flour (self-rising and otherwise). All of these items are going up (rising in cost) exponentially. The red beans in particular. We purcased some of these items a few weeks back through our source, and are working on a second order. Years ago, when I was into the “prepping” thing, I knew that certain items would be ‘hard to come by’ in the event we entered the phase we’re in now. Our daughter and her family visited a month ago. It is funny and ironic that she was telling her husband that we used to prepare for stuff like this. I confirmed her memory by pointing out that we would purchase cases of canned vegetables, of tuna, and even of macaroni and cheese. At the time we had tons of red beans and rice, and many cases of vegetables of various sorts – corn, green beans, spinach, mixed vegetables, peas. Six weeks ago I told all of the youngsters in my little circle of influence to buy up six weeks at least of food stuffs they were used to getting at the grocery stores. Foresight on my part? Yes, absolutely. The next several months will be worse, much worse. Josh, get your head out of your rear-end and take note!

  8. @T.Morris. Your barber is Barry Lee? Wow! My barber is Doug K., who, before he became a friseur, drove a race-car at various tracks in Upstate, including the one in Oswego.


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