Let me be clear about one thing. This was all my fault.
In about the time it takes to take out the garbage, my noggin went from a Billy Ray Cyrus/Mike Gundy mullet (albeit with a sizable bald spot) all the way to Dr. Bunsen Honeydew skinhead. (Google it if you’re too young to remember “The Muppets.”)
I can’t blame the worst haircut of my life on the barber. She was just following orders.
We’ve all had ill-advised haircuts. Times when you wear your favorite baseball cap – even to bed at night – for several weeks before you can stop avoiding your reflection in mirrors. Times when you look in the mirror and think, “What could I have been thinking?”
But, this was worse. When I got a close look at myself in the car mirror, I texted my wife that something significant had changed, albeit (that’s two albeits in one column, so I’ll stop now) temporarily, in our 38-year marriage. A stranger would be showing up at our house shortly, and that stranger would be me. And I was worried our dog Mitch would bite me.
And I reminded her that nothing is forever, that hair grows back, and we could survive this. But it would take time. And patience.
When I got home, the dog didn’t bite me, but the look on my wife’s face was one of shock, as if I’d gotten one of those Mike Tyson face tattoos instead of a simple haircut. Nonplussed, taken aback, all she could say was, “Why did you DO that?”
And then the laughing started. At breakfast the next day she said I looked like her old high school science teacher. (I could tell it wasn’t a pleasant memory.)
My resemblance to Kansas City Chiefs Coach Andy Reid was even more pronounced.
Now, in the interest of clarity, I could easily ask Editor Jimmy here at Cowboy State Daily to run a post-haircut picture of myself with this column, instead of the pictures of me at the bar with a can of 307 beer, or me in my Adirondack chair with Mitch. To tell the whole sordid haircut story, that would be the thing to do. And Jimmy – a nice guy, for an editor – would probably oblige.
But, well, I don’t want to.
And nobody can make me. (Again, Google Dr. Bunsen Honeydew.)
It all started innocently enough. Some years back, barbers started asking if you wanted a “number two” haircut on the sides, maybe a “number four” on top referring to the plastic clips they put on their electric razors. For years I was hazy on the concept, because I apparently missed the meeting where this haircut number deal was explained.
Little did I know that a “number one” is full bore Yule Brenner bald as a billiard ball, then gradually working upward to less severe sheep-shearing lengths.
For me, a number two works OK on the flanks. And this time, perhaps in the name of frugality, not wanting to get another costly haircut for a couple months, I did not intercede when the barber innocently suggested using her number two clip on the top of my head.
By the time she cut the first cruel farrow across the top of my head – like a combine rumbling through a Corn Belt soybean field – it was too late. I knew right away there would be no covering this up.
It wasn’t her fault. I even gave her a tip. But truth be told, it’s a worse haircut than the flat tops my dad used to give my brothers and me down in his workshop with his Sears-Roebuck clippers. (I’d ask for Elvis sideburns, but he’d just laugh and serve up another flat top.)
So far, this recovery is worse and will take a lot more time than my mild encounter with Covid in 2021. Like then, I’m laying low. Social distancing. Maybe go incognito with a mask until my wife stops laughing at me at breakfast.
Hey, hair grows back.
Until that happens, if you see me on the street, I’ll be the guy in the “Tractor Supply” ball cap.