M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Tuesday, November 26, 2002  

It’s kind of nice to have a hair salon five blocks from my house. It’s kind of a pain to never be able to go there.

It’s not because I got banned for stealing hair to create my voodoo fetishes, or for guzzling the jars of comb goo, or whatever. It’s because I got tired of always getting a bad haircut.

My coif is really not all that demanding. I don’t expect to get out of the chair looking like James Bond. I do expect to get out of the chair not looking like Tim Blake Nelson in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, however.

“Vodka martini. Shaken, not stirred.”

Given my modest tonsorial goals, I feel perfectly comfortable going to the local chain salon. Just not the most local chain salon, because there lurks Gary.

Gary (not his real name) sports an orange, purple-tipped mullet. That in itself isn’t such a warning sign; you know what they say about the barber with the worst haircut in town. But it turns out, once again, that they lied. I don’t know why I ever listen to them.

Making me look like I’d just been admitted to a prison for the developmentally disabled was bad enough, but Gary’s insistence on Chinese-water-torturing me with his weak attempts at “humor” were, I’m fairly sure, in direct violation of several provisions of the Geneva convention. But for some reason, I kept going back. I figured that being within walking distance of the place outweighed the odds of ending up under Gary’s shears yet again. I miscalculated the odds.

I think I know where I made my mistake. I based my calculations on a staff of five to six stylists on duty at any given time, then subtracted my estimate of Gary’s off-hours, assuming he had a forty-hour work week. That last assumption was my downfall. Gary is there all. The. Time. He’s there on weekends. He’s there weekday evenings. He’s there weekday mornings. He’s there during holidays, eclipses, and street riots. He is never not there. He has always been there, and he will always be there. When the strip mall that contains the salon gets knocked down to make way for a Starbucks or a prison or an active volcano, he’ll still be standing there terrorizing unsuspecting barristas, inmates and/or grotesquely mutated futuristic squirrel-men with his dull clippers and duller wit. That’s because he sucks so bad that nobody will ever tip him, so he needs as many hours as he can get. And is anyone else going to hire him? Let’s just say that’s never going to happen unless I steal a lot of hair.

I know I could have requested a specific stylist. But that would require me to learn the name of another specific stylist, and the specter of Gary would always drive any other names from my mind. Including my own. And even if it hadn’t, all the other stylists would have been snapped up by people just as keen to avoid Gary as I am. And it’s not like Minnesota Nice allows a person like me to walk into a hair salon and say “I’d like a haircut from someone who’s not Gary. My name is M. Giant. Okay, I’ll wait. Thanks, Gary.”

Why didn’t I just get my hair cut someplace else, you ask? Because I’d been hooked. I was chained to the nearby store by a bond I couldn’t break: and incomplete punch card. Yes, for over a year I carried around in my wallet a slip of cardboard that entitled me to one free bad haircut after I paid for ten bad haircuts. I wasn’t about to turn down that kind of bargain. Eventually I got the card filled up and claimed my free haircut. It was worth every penny.

So now I drive two miles to the next-nearest discount dead-tissue-trimming emporium and take my chances with whoever happens to be wielding the scissors that day. I still don’t know any of the stylists’ names, but none of them is Gary. And that makes it all worth it.

posted by M. Giant 3:18 PM 0 comments


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