Recently, I received a lot of nice comments about my new haircut. I really appreciate them. But finding a good barber has been an interesting quest.
When I first arrived in Las Vegas, I was surprised at how many “traditional” barber shops were here. One was just about 2 miles from my home in the northern suburbs. The place was great. It brought back a lot of memories of my youth in the 1950’s and 60’s.
My barber was Vietnamese. He didn’t speak much English so my haircut was silent but looked okay. Several months later, he took a month long vacation and I used a young lady at the salon. She did a much better job than my original barber. Still not great, but better than the original guy.
When my first barber got back, I had a conundrum. Do I stay with the new lady or go back to my first guy? Either choice seemed embarrassing to me. So I began to search for a new barber.
I found one just a few miles from me. One of those high tech salons. I was assigned to a young lady. She did a better job than the last two. Great! I had my new barber.
When I went back for my next haircut, the stylist began talking about the Elvis movie. Most people know how I feel about that hyperbolic pile of falsehoods masquerading as a film. I have always subscribed to the Mr. Miyagi school of confrontation, “Best way avoid fight, no be there.” I said nothing as she went on and on about the movie. I smiled and nodded.
Then she proceeded to tell me the film showed how Elvis stole his music and persona from black artists. She said it was the first time Americans found out about Elvis’ black influences. Again, I commenced smiling and nodding.
Finally, she told me I didn’t know it, but I was a racist. All Caucasian men were. She knew this because one of her professors told her so. He told the entire class. She continued to say the reason we celebrate the 4th of July was that it was the day the first black man was burned at the stake, presumably in Philadelphia.
She continued to say that in college she was learning that all history books were racist and full of lies. There were other stylists and customers in the shop who heard this diatribe. More smiling and nodding from me. When she finished, I paid and even let her schedule a new appointment which I immediately cancelled when I got home.
Back to searching for a new barber. Found one very close who had a 5.0 rating with almost 300 5 star reviews. I called and scheduled an appointment.
A very nice young man, probably mid-to-late 30’s. Great almost traditional shop. We talked about football (Raiders are killing it pre-season), the weather, a little politics, you know, regular barber conversation.
Best haircut I’ve had in years!!! Found out that he was busted for pot in Utah and served some prison time. (Pot? The world is so stupid. But it was Utah.) They got him barber training and he became the prison barber, cutting hair of the inmates and the guards. He learned to be fast and good at his craft.
I call it “Beatle-good.” Here’s why: When the Beatles arrived in Hamburg in the early 1960’s, they weren’t that good. All very talented but extremely raw. After several months of 10-12 hour days, they honed their craft and became a powerful live band.
It was the same deal with me and sleight-of-hand. When I started doing trade show magic, I wasn’t that good. After performing magic for over 200 days of 8-10 hour shows, 5 days a week, I got pretty good.
The barber’s skill was forged in prison, serving a sentence he did not deserve. But he came out with mad skills at haircutting. At least some good came out his unjustified incarceration. I will do everything I can to make sure he continues to succeed. God bless his success!
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