My hair is curly and thick. It used to be really blonde, then turned brown in my twenties and now it is completely gray. I don’t mind that because it has stayed curly and thick.
There have actually been people who thought I wear a wig because very few men my age have such a great head of hair. I was once doing a talk in Las Vegas and some idiot came up behind me after I was done and pulled my hair.
“Hey, hey, it’s real!” he shouted to a friend. “You win the bet!” Some people have no manners. I told the guy that I should share in the win since my head hurt from the pulling of my hair. They laughed and left.
But the biggest problem I have is when I go for a haircut. Most of the barbers in my area do not speak English well. Those who do, especially the young ones, don’t really know how to cut my kind of hair. An electric clipper just doesn’t work that well on it and the older guys, what few are left in the profession, just cut from rote and do a crummy job as my hair is all different lengths when they are finished.
So the barbershop I am reduced to patronizing is owned by people who have trouble with our language. It is the closest to my home.
So this morning I entered the shop.
“Hullo!” said the owner who was trimming some bald guy’s tuft of hair. The barber next to him held open the apron he’d put over me.
“Hi,” I said to both of them.
I sat down in the chair.
“I’ll have a regular haircut and a beard trim. Leave the lines I already have on the beard; I don’t want it cut near to my chin. I keep it this way so the flab on my neck doesn’t show too much,” I said, waiting for a laugh on my last line. Nothing.
I continued: “Make sure you cut the hair sprouting out my ears and nose, and do my eyebrows,” I said. “Those are recommendations from my wife.”
My barber looked at the owner. The owner said to him, “Kaže da mu se sviđa sve kratko.” My barber nodded and turned to me nodding.
“Shurt,” he said. He rolled the “r” a little.
“Not short,” I said. “A regular haircut.”
“Shurt,” he said.
“No, regular,” I said.
He put the apron over me and took out an electric clipper. “Shurt,” he said.
I looked over at the owner. “Give me some help here.”
The owner said, “Kaže da mu se sviđa sve kratko.” My barber nodded and turned to me smiling and said, “Shurt.”
“Regular, normal, regular,” I said.
“Shurt,” he smiled.
I looked at him. He was nodding and smiling up a storm. I gave up. Let him cut it shurt. And he did. I looked as if I had just joined the Marines.
When he had finished and started with my beard I repeated to him not to cut it too short and to keep the lines on it the same. He looked over at the owner who said, “Kaže da mu se sviđa sve kratko.”
My barber smiled, nodded, placed the clipper on my beard and took a huge chunk of hair off. You could see more skin than beard. What the hell? I was stuck because a big section of my beard was so short that every section of my beard now had to be mowed the same length.
My hair was now short and my beard had almost disappeared.
He then did my eyebrows (he left them too long) and my ear hair (he left too many bristles) and my nose hair (he left a few sticking out). Gray hair sticking out of your nose looks as if something else is coming out of your nose; if you get my drift.
I gave the guy a good tip; I always tip well as that was my training in Brooklyn, New York where tipping is the true sign of a man—even a man with short hair and a beard that looks exactly like a five o’clock shadow, and with something gray sprouting out of his nose. I tip, therefore I am. It’s an old Brooklyn expression.
When I got home my wife, the Beautiful AP, looked at me and said, “My god, your hair is way too short!”
“Shurt,” I said. “It’s pronounced shurt.”
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