Queen of the Barber Disasters

To this day I’ve made two unforgiveable, as well as unforgettable, barbering disasters.  Bad enough, in fact, that these people dropped me so quickly that I was afraid they might never speak to me again.  These were friends and relatives that loved and valued me.

My neighbor had beautiful, white, naturally curly hair.  I had never cut naturally curly hair.  When I let go of her bangs, I never expected them to roll up faster than a window shade.  But they did, sitting across her hairline like a thin tube, a white pencil.  I kept pulling on them, but they instantly popped back into that narrow roll.  The only solution again, time.  And lots of it.

My brother-in-law was my second mistake.  A kinder, more helpful soul never walked the earth.  I had probably cut Jim’s hair a couple of times before I left my fatal mark.  Jim has thick, wavy, silver hair.  Now in his late 70’s he has the kind of hair growth that left unattended would grow wolf-like completely covering his ears.  His nose hair, left alone, could be braided and looped over each ear.  His neckline hair grows to meet the hair on his back.  It is thick, more than just thick.

I’d like to blame the dog Levi.  But it wasn’t entirely his fault.  Frisky and young, he clumsily romped and slid over tile and wood floors.

Usually I left his wife Jane, my sister-in-law, a path to mow between his neckline and his back.  But he had bragged so lavishly about his own personal barber who came to his home – He didn’t even have to drive down town – that I let the praise embolden my limited skills.

I decided that I could use the clippers to mow that path.  Why not?  Once I applied the clippers I couldn’t figure out where to stop.  Then Levi distracted me.  After I had the clippers almost up to the top of his ear, Levi break-danced through, unplugged the clippers, but not before the residual power finished the neck line parallel to the top of his ears on one side.

Jane walked in from an errand.  She couldn’t have been more horrified if Jim had had a water moccasin coiled on top of his head.  Struck dumb and bug-eyed, words failed her while we both stared at the back of Jim’s head.  Finally she gasped,  “What are you going to do?”

“I don’t know.  What do you think I should do?”

“I dunno.”

Finally I butchered a straight line across to the top of the other ear.  “Jim, do you own any turbans or wigs?”

“No, but, Jane, did you leave the door open to the garage?”  Jim chirped .  Deflocked, he had never before felt so much cool air on the back of his head.

I had perpetrated this crime in the early fall.  By the time I returned to the family Christmas, to my everlasting horror, Jim was about to carve the turkey whose skin greatly resembled the bare bottom half of his head.  Other family members inquired. “Did you do that to Jim’s head?  Why?”

No one saw a bit of humor and thoughts couldn’t have been more apparent than if they had rolled across the bottom of the television like CNN:  We won’t ever in our lifetimes let her get clippers anywhere near our heads or our children’s.

The only solution again is time.  And lots of it.

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