Dave Simpson: Behold, The Kitchen-Table Haircut

in Column/Dave Simpson

By Dave Simpson, Columnist

It’s like getting a haircut from Nurse Ratched.

Maybe you remember Nurse Ratched from the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” and her look of icy disapproval. She was perfectly willing to recommend shock therapy to get a patient’s ducks in a row.

My wife worked for years as an emergency room nurse, then went back to school and became a nurse practitioner. For a few years during her long career, she worked on a psych ward.

So she’s pretty much seen it all, and participated in much of it. (She even likes that show “Dr. Pimple Popper,” if you can imagine that.)

So, she’s not about to be intimidated by the small matter of cutting my hair. And she likes saving the $11 that a geezer haircut costs at the place I used to go. When the coronavirus hit, we had no alternative but to have her cut my hair at the kitchen table.

These days, you can get a barber shop haircut again, but only if you “sign in on line” with your electronic gizmo of choice, which is a real turnoff for guys like me. So the other night I got my second kitchen-table haircut of the pandemic.

Some amazing things have happened at our kitchen table. In Nebraska, we had friends with four growing sons, a dad who was a contractor, sky-high insurance deductibles, and nose-bleed-sized premiums, thanks to Obamacare.

More than once my wife sewed up the dad’s fingers at our kitchen table, to avoid a costly visit to the emergency room. (Don’t tell that family that Obamacare is popular. They don’t agree.)

One time in Illinois, my wife cut a cyst out of my back, while I sat at the kitchen table and the kids watched with wide eyes. “GROSS!” they said. “I think I’m going to THROW UP. Gag me with spoon!”

When she got it out, she proudly held it up with her tweezers like a dissected frog heart in biology class. Right there at our kitchen table. (The experience must not have been too traumatic for our daughter, who went on to become a physician assistant.)

Nurse Ratched drained a couple Boone and Crockett-sized “lipomas” on our old black Lab Woody in our kitchen, and never batted an eye. I couldn’t watch.

So, mere haircuts are a piece of cake.

I will say, however, that she lacks the gentle manner of Floyd the Barber from the old “Andy Griffith Show.” Floyd had a light touch with his comb in one hand, his scissors in the other, and his pinky fingers held high as he gently moved his customer’s noggin around during a trim.

My wife’s touch is much more, shall we say, direct, as she shoves my head up, down, to the right, to the left, like she’s inspecting a questionable cantaloupe at Walmart.

“Put your head up!” she demands, as if she’s not about to put up with much more of this foolishness.

She’s been getting the job done with a little rechargeable beard trimmer, but it frequently gets bogged down in the thick weeds at the back of my head, sometimes pulling my hair. But I don’t complain. Because you don’t mess with Nurse Ratched.

“Oops!” she said the other night, as she trimmed the hair around the back of my neck, and mistakenly cut a big divot. “Oops” is something you don’t want to hear from your surgeon, your dentist, or your barber, but she reassured me that “in a couple days you won’t be able to see that at all.”

Easy for her to say.

The next day, she showed the divot to our son, and they both got a pretty good laugh. He said, “in a couple WEEKS you don’t be able to see that.”

All things considered, these kitchen table haircuts aren’t nearly as bad as having a bloody cyst cut out of your back, and I’m likely to keep getting them until the virus goes away.

She says she ought to get paid, and receive a nice tip as well.

Nurse Ratched isn’t getting a tip, however, until she stops shoving my head around like a questionable cantaloupe at Walmart.