As she was snipping my hair, I looked into the large mirror in front of me. Who is that man, I thought. (Fortunately for her, as well as for me, I did not translate this existential query into audible words in English, or any other language. Imagine how troubling that would be to my hirsute administrator -- and add to that all the sharp implements in her hand or nearby [editorial break-in: note how I did not say "close proximity." I typically edit out the "close," figuring it is moronic to assume a distant proximity, but that's the editor in me. Most style books would support me on this, though some would say it is a bit pedantic. Where were we?]
Who is that man staring back at me?
He looks exceedingly sad or tired at the end of a day, or a life. I want to tell him, it's not all that bad. Cheer up. It's just a feckin haircut.
I was incapable of describing to her how to cut my hair. A number one? Yes, in the back especially. Tight along the sides. Especially short in back. I breezily added, "I used to tell Don, 'Make it a Princeton,' but would end up telling him to make it shorter. So make it short. You can't go wrong."
Don, my regular hirsute administrator cum therapist, had gone home early, his partner, Bob, said when I walked in (Bob must've seen the look of fear and dread on my face). Don's been in the hospital twice recently. He is twelve years older than I am, to the day. December 18 [a craven wish to have legions of readers note this for future reference].
I had my glasses off but the image staring back at me in the mirror still unsettled me. This is a person who needs serious therapy! (But wait, he's already in therapy...has been for years....[I cannot stand it when people refer to themselves in the third person!].
I tried a smile. The Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh says smiling is mindful happiness, or something like that.
This forced smile gave the impression of constipation.
How's that? she said.
A little shorter. She used a number two on the sides and a number four on top. She didn't use the scissors at all. Don does.
I raised my unibrow. I try to do that if for no other reason than to ease the deep furrows in my forehead. The raised unibrow scarcely ever seems to last more than 15 seconds. I need to meditate more (more? what a liar!).
I now looked like an optimistic assassin.
Maybe the furrow and the frown and the somber look are me.
How's that? Feel the back of your head.
That's fine, I lied. I just wanted it over with. I was hungry.
I walked to the car, rubbing my hair.
In the car, I looked in the rear-view mirror.
I hate this feckin haircut.
As I walked in the grocery store-eatery-rich person's hangout, I tried to jauntily raise my eyebrows, casually smile, not frown.
For about sixteen seconds.
And the sandwich sucked.
(The chips and iced tea were fine.)
That was yesterday. And as Chad and Jeremy sang in The Sixties, "But yesterday's gone."
When I alluded to this in the vaguest of terms tonight (of course, I had to point out that I even had a haircut; days go by before I notice my wife's had a haircut [URGENT BULLETIN: I just remembered. It says on the calendar that she was supposed to get a haircut this morning, and my daughter announced earlier she had a trim. I'm screwed once again by a fatal attack of acute solipsism and better sleep now in the spare room, with my subliminal frowns and all], my nine-year-old daughter assured me sweetly that I was young, or words to that effect, and my wife said I was...was [pause for dramatic impact] "young at heart."
Not bad, dear. Sort of reminds me of what folks say at a wake: "Gosh, he looks so young!"
Maybe that's why I'm opting for cremation.