Shave and a Haircut...

Two Bits!

Just had the three remaining hairs plucked from my scalp this afternoon. Walk into my favorite barbor shop. Yes, a barber shop. This ain't no ninny-picking, froo-froo hair gel joint. I have searched for years trying to find a decent barber who still uses hot foam and a straight razor to shave my neck. Lemme tell ya sumthin', just running an electric razor over my neck stubble don't cut it. I need that blade scraping skin and follicles.

Aside from the neck trim, I enjoy the nostalgia. This was the exact same place my dad took me as a child to get my ears lowered. Afterwards, when I was through throwing a fit, he would take me next door to the Baskin Robins for two scoops of my favorite Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream. These are the memories that I want to pass on to my son. This is the type of place that I want to take him to. I don't want to pay more than I have to so he can sit in a high chair and watch some beauty school hack stick a bowl on his head and just trim around the edges. I also don't want the anal rape associated with the exorbitant cost of going to those high dollar chain stylists. I want my boy to sit in the same nauga...nau...nauga....fake leather booster seat in the classic barber chair as some guy named Phil or Bob giving him a proper cut. He should do like so many other boys have done and pass the time sipping Coca Cola from an old glass bottle dispensed from the most ancient of soda machines while counting his reflection in the double mirrors as many times as I did. One old guy should be in the corner shining shoes and telling dirty jokes. This is where my son will get the first taste of the birds and bees. Oblique references to female anatomy and heated political exchanges. Men are men here. This is the last true bastion of manhood, and MY SON MUST PASS THROUGH THESE HALLS! This I have decreed.

Got off on a bit of a rant there, sorry. I really wanted to pay tribute to my barber and her friends. Her name is Vickie. She's been cutting my hair for about a year now. I started going to the barber shop a couple of storefronts down from I.W.Marks Jewlers when I worked at the other bank branch. I take that back, as I mentioned, I first visited as a kid with my dad. I just recently rediscovered the place and have made myself a regular there with monthly hair cuts. The price isn't high, just normal and accounting for the cost of living. In that price, I get hair cut, eyebrows trimmed, ear and nose hair plucked and shaved off, neck shave and a massage.

It took me a time or two to get used to Vickie's style, but we have found the style that she cuts and what I want mesh pretty well. We shoot the shit, talk politics and cycling, and generally cut up when I come in. She takes care of the hair, and I try to take care of her. My last cut before today was 5 weeks ago, just before the MS150 ride. Vickie was struck by a car while crossing the street near her home a couple of days after my cut. She is currently resting and recovering at Ben Taub in the ICU. A couple of the other barbers were filling me in on her condition and told me she is pretty messed up. Every couple of days she makes some form of improvement. She is on a vent to help her breathe, and has tubes and new orifices from which medicine and such go in and out. The other barbers say she is awake and aware of her surroundings, but they don't know if she has all of her mental faculties yet. She cannot talk right now, but recognizes people and seems responsive to questions asked of her.

I only knew of this when I walked into the shop today. I didn't see Vickie sitting there b.s.ing with the guys and her chair was noticeably absent from her station. I thought that she'd been fired at first, but the more I looked around, the more I noticed something else was up. Her mirror was covered in photos of her at the shop and there was a full tip jar at her sink.

This really sucks. I like Vickie a lot. She has a great personality and is extremely friendly. She makes my monthly visits worthwhile. If anyone reading is in the Houston area, I encourage you to stop by the barber shop next to I.W. Marks Jewelers on Bellaire Blvd. at Stella Link. Stop in, get a cut, enjoy the camraderie, and stuff a dollar in the tip jar to help speed Vickie's recovery. In the meantime, please send a small prayer her way. All the good thoughts we have, she needs.

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