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Kent Bernhardt column: Bad haircut

All of us do things from time to time to make ourselves feel better.
We may take a long walk, treat ourselves to a special meal, or even take a nap – just something to take the edge off.
Personally, I enjoy the feeling I get right after a good haircut. To begin with, I no longer have to walk around with the feeling that I need one, so I get that benefit right away.
But thereís a small sensation of starting life anew and fresh. Iím trimmed up and ready to face the world again.
Which is why my mood is a bit sour today. I had a bad haircut.
I canít really blame the stylist. She started out doing exactly what I told her to do. ěJust trim it up a little, above the ears, and leave the sideburns,î I said. I like to take care of those myself.
I noticed that she seemed new to the world of hair care. She cut very slowly and tentatively, almost unsure of which area to work on next and appearing to be guessing what her next move should be.
After barely touching the top, I decided to get involved. Thatís where I made my fatal mistake.
ěYou can take a smidge more off the top if you like,î I volunteered.
If you look up the word smidge in the dictionary, youíll find itís a slang derivative of the word ěsmidgen,î which in our language means ěa small amount.î
She apparently preferred the early American Indian interpretation of the word, which means ěscalpum white man down to last follicle.î
A LOT more came off the top. Then with an uncomfortable look on both our faces, she further trimmed the sides just to even things up. When she was finished, the trim I requested looked more like a shearing.
I looked a little like Tommy Smothers. I sensed we both wanted a do-over.
Though speechless, I was not angry. Maybe itíll be a new look for me, I thought. Short, even really short hair, is in. Besides, hair has a way of growing back ó even on me.
To be honest, Iíve been asking stylists to do a lot more with a lot less these days. Gone are the dark wavy locks I sported in the 70s and 80s. Sometime in the early 90s, the troops started retreating, and there was nothing I could do about it.
The remaining brave soldiers are showing their age. Iíve never been quite sure what to do with whatís left.
Iíve thought of coloring, just like the President started doing recently, but my philosophy has always been ěonce you start, youíll always have to.î If you let it go for a while, youíll end up with that Michael Landon look. Heíd appear in a TV show with dark brown hair one week, and weeks later heíd show up on a talk show with completely white locks. It was just too confusing.
Besides, as my daughter reminds me, ěDadÖyou wouldnít look like dad!î So itís too late for me.
I once lamented to a family counselor friend of mine that I was feeling a little low because my hair was beginning to gray and abandon ship. ěI have two words for you,î he said. ěSean Connery.î
Heís right, I thought. Many of movie landís leading men were bald and gray; John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Gene Kelly. All of them left their hair behind at the end of the day. I would be in good company.
I also determined that those miraculous hair restoration methods werenít for me either. Why pay thousands to look like someone else when you can be yourself for free?
Besides, it can be fun. When I run into an old classmate who hasnít seen me in 30 years and they comment on my thinning gray locks, I always have the same answer:
ěWell, the expansion of my brain simply pushed the hair out of the way,î I tell them. And depending on who it is, Iíll sometimes add, ěI see that hasnít happened to you yet.î
Hopefully by the time you read this, my bad haircut will be but a memory, and all in follicle land will be well again.
If not, at least compliment me on my nice hat.
Kent Bernhardt lives in Salisbury.

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