Hooray! After 15 months of virtual pandemic isolation, I can finally get a haircut – a real haircut.
In May of last year, with virus fears haunting every barber shop in the land, I attempted to cut my own hair. Sad to say, the attempted haircut was more like an attempted murder; it’s a wonder I wasn’t arrested.
What I did is grab with one hand clumps of hair and with the other hand’s scissor-wielding fingers cut the hair clumps off fairly close to the skull – a kind of firm-but-gentle scalping. After the butchery, I stared into the mirror, thinking “well, could be worse.”
That same day, next-door neighbors Richard and Martha popped over – masked and distancing. They are both about my age – verging on ancient. They are lucky to get their haircuts, in isolation, from a relative in another city. When they saw me, their jaws dropped.
“What happened?” Martha asked.
“Whaddy’a mean, what happened?” I said.
“Your head!” she said. “Your hair!”
“What about it?” I asked defiantly.
They were both trying so hard to squelch laughter, and it’s then I realized it was likely the most raggedly ridiculous haircut anybody had ever seen.
“Hey, who cares?” I said. “I’m stuck. I’m isolating. I ain’t goin’ nowhere. So nobody has to see this scalp job.”
Still, thank goodness for baseball caps.
Martha and Richard giggled with sympathy; I laughed too.
In my heyday, in the 1960s, I had beautiful long wavy black-brown hippy hair much admired by many I met.
“Hey, dude – your hair! Cool!”
That was then, once upon a time. This, alas, is the winding-down now. All my hairs’ sinuous waves and their black-brown shades are long gone, having been evicted by scruffy ghost-white tufts.
My parents, after their heads turned gray because of six hyper kids, weren’t kidding when they’d sigh their constant lament years ago: “Nobody’s gettin’ any younger.”
Some months ago, I attempted a second self-haircut.
“Is this one better?” I asked my good neighbors.
“Well, kind of,” Richard said.
“No,” Martha said. “Sorry, Dennis. It’s not. No, no and no. But it’s OK. Hair grows. Give it time. You can always try it again.”
A few months ago, I was watching a TV interview on which movie actor George Clooney said that for years he used one of those cheap gizmos called a “flowbee” to trim his own hair. It’s like a comb with a razor blade embedded in its upper reaches.
Neighbor Martha, who saw the same interview, told me she could order a flowbee-type cutter through a catalog she gets. Three bucks.
“Get it,” I said. “Worth a try.”
One day, Martha brought me the flowbee look-alike. I hesitated. What if, while I’m using it, the razor in it cuts off my ear, like Van Gogh’s? Yikes. Days later, I summoned the courage and combed and combed my head, wisps of hair falling onto the floor.
I looked in the mirror. The haircut, I knew right away, looked just as bad as the last one and the one before that. Maybe even worse.
That same day, Richard and Martha popped over.
“Well?” I said.
“Well what?” they asked.
“My George Clooney flowbee haircut,” I said. “How do you like it?”
Squirming, they said nice, very nice.
“Well, do I look like George Clooney now?” I asked with utmost mock seriousness.
Richard, trying to muffle his chuckle, burst out laughing.
Marty said oh well, Clooney is not that good-looking, anyway.
“Still, Dennis, a good haircut wouldn’t do you any harm,” she added.
I got even when they popped into my house some days later.
“Gee,” I said, “Too bad the pandemic’s over.”
“Why?” they both fairly shouted.
“Because you both looked so much better with your masks on,” I said.
They gave mock-sour frowns. Then Richard scoffed: “Yeah, well, look who’s talkin’!”
That’s what I love about good neighbors. Even during a pandemic, they know how to turn frequent frustrations into so much sly fun.