The Amend Corner

Resolving a hairy situation

By Don Amend
Posted 2/25/21

I’m seeing a faint light at the end of a pretty long tunnel. 

Whether the light will get brighter or fade to black is an open question. True, the spread of the COVID-19 virus seems to …

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The Amend Corner

Resolving a hairy situation


I’m seeing a faint light at the end of a pretty long tunnel. 

Whether the light will get brighter or fade to black is an open question. True, the spread of the COVID-19 virus seems to be leveling off and even declining, but with viruses, you never know what they are planning in their microscopic war room.They may just be pretending to slow things down in order to tempt us into lowering our guard so they can spring a nasty surprise on us in the middle of July when we’re least expecting it

I’m looking on the bright side, though. I received my second shot of the vaccine, and it went down pretty gently. My arm didn’t hurt after the first one, and although I had been led to believe that the second shot would have worse side effects, my arm didn’t hurt after the second shot, either. Whether that’s good or bad, I’m not sure, but being vaccinated against a nasty disease can’t be a bad thing, despite what those  who oppose vaccinations tell us.

I’m not letting down my guard, though, not yet. I’ll still be hiding behind a mask when I’m out and about — although I admit that’s mostly because my wife reminds me that I should. She always reminds me to wash my hands after we get home from being surrounded by other people.  Anyway, I am hopeful that by summer it will be permissible to hug my grandchildren and spoil them with ice cream.

Getting back to normal will require a few adjustments. I will probably have to give up spending most of the day in sweatpants and fur-lined slippers, for one thing. But the biggest adjustment I will have to make is most likely a haircut. This is because the last time I visited my barber was last March, just before all the quarantining and masking went into effect, almost a year ago.

I have never gone this long without a haircut before, thanks to a number of circumstances. For one thing, I don’t have many talents, but one I do have is growing hair; even a year of chemotherapy failed to slow the growth on my head. This means that I have needed frequent haircuts during my life.

Up until I went away to college, I depended on my father for haircuts. Dad wasn’t a barber, but during his time in the Navy, he and his buddies cut each other’s hair. Naturally, they gave each other Navy haircuts, so the only way Dad knew to cut hair was to leave most of it on the kitchen floor. 

I didn’t mind that so much, although I like the more professional extremely short hair a real barber gave me. This actually worked well for me back in the 1960s. That was the era of the hair wars — a conflict between young men, who favored long haircuts and their fathers and grandfathers, who thought long hair on a boy was a sign that society was collapsing.

One of the first principals I taught under was convinced that long hair meant sloppy thinking in the organ under the hair, and led to lower grades on report cards. Another one was an ultra-conservative Texan football coach who actually went through the yearbook photos and pulled the shots of boys with hair he deemed to be too long. Both administrators looked upon my extra short hair with approval, which was a good thing when it came time for them to evaluate my classroom performance.

Well, a few years later, I started growing a beard more or less on a whim, and my usual short haircut looked a bit ridiculous in the light of the hair growing on my chin. That led to letting my hair grow long, and when the time came for my usual haircut, my wife objected. It turns out that she likes my hair longer, so I adjusted the directions I gave to various barbers whose shops I patronized. During the ’90s, I actually opted to visit a couple of beauticians for the delicate task of shaping my locks just right. 

That all changed when we moved to Powell, and I made the decision to do the manly thing and have a barber cut my hair. That lasted until March when I had my last haircut. As my hair grew longer, I began to resemble a cross between a hard rock musician and an English sheepdog, and my hair began to interfere with my vision. Thankfully, I possess a funny-looking cap that I purchased somewhere in East Africa a couple of decades ago. I’m not sure why men in Tanzania wear hats like this one, but it does a great job of keeping my hair from dangling in front of my eyes. That said, I have decided to wait a couple more weeks to see just how long my hair will get if I let it grow for a year.

I have a couple of things to consider before I do that. Since I have been avoiding the barber shop, I estimate that I have cheated the barber out of five or six haircuts. Not only that, but with my hair being this long, he might have to roll out some heavy equipment to get the job done and spend a couple extra hours sweeping up all the hair he trims from my head.

On the other hand, maybe I should just let it grow for another year see how long it gets. I’m open to suggestions.

The Amend Corner