Thursday, June 6, 43 A.B.

Let's Talk Barbers & Bridges...

In 1880 there were 45,000 barbers in the United States.

There are now at least 100,000.

That's an increase of more than 450 a year - more than 1 a day - day after day, year after year, holidays and the disco era included.

The Great Depression didn't spark a decline in their numbers.  Two world wars didn't slow them down.  Not even David Letterman's discovery that any fool can grab a pair of scissors and cut his own damn hair has managed to reverse this ever-rising tide of barbers that's swamping America.

And yet - despite this unending explosion in their numbers - we never see a barber on a bridge, do we?

Now think about that for a moment.

There are 590,066 bridges in this country.  That's almost 6 per barber.  And yet in all my years of careful observation, I've never once seen a barber clip-clip-clipping away on or even near a bridge.

Nor have I ever seen a single barber sitting or standing on a bridge, just waiting for a customer to wander by.


I HAVE seen old magazines on bridges, so we can't place the blame on their absence.

And given the number of people who leap off bridges, you'd think that at least one barber would have set up shop on at least one bridge in the belief that at least one individual would want to leave this world and enter the next with neatly trimmed sideburns and a straight part.

I just don't understand....

And you know what else I don't understand?

I don't understand why there aren't any all-night barbershops - on bridges or anywhere else.

I can't begin to tell you the number of times I've awakened at 3 a.m. in a cold sweat brought on by existential angst and thought to myself, "Gee, I wonder if a haircut might help?"  A mere idle question, of course, because there are no barbershops open around the clock which would allow me to conduct the scientific research necessary to answer that simple question.

Now it's possible that the sudden addition of tiny, scratchy hair clippings to one's neck and down one's back would actually increase one's 3 a.m. existential angst.  The thing is, we'll never know unless we're given the opportunity to find out, will we?

It seems to me that those who automatically assume that a 3 a.m. trip to a barbershop would inevitably lead to an increase in angst simply aren't thinking straight.

Maybe simply knowing one could go to a barbershop if one chose to go would be enough to reduce one's angst to zero.  Maybe one need not actually go (let alone have tiny, scratchy hair clippings added to one's neck and back).  As it is, waking up at 3 a.m. and knowing all the barbershops are as dark and quiet as they would be the day after a virulent strain of dandruff has wiped out the human race makes my personal angst much worse than it otherwise would be....

Besides which, all-night barbershops simply make sense.  Why?  Because if you get a bad haircut at noon, everybody knows it the minute you walk out the shop door.  But if you get a bad haircut at 3 a.m., nobody need know about it until you leave your home the next morning!

I'm afraid this world I'm stuck with is just never going to make sense to me.

Never, never, NEVER....

At least not before I've had my dinner, anyway.

And dinner takes so much time and energy to cook.


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(©Now by DJ Birtcher despite having his vision obstructed
by extremely shaggy eyelashes no barber on earth is willing to touch)