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  • Mark Trudeau

A Glorious Haircut

Updated: Oct 16, 2022

Some things in life are just an annoyance- like getting a haircut. At 62 years old I've probably spent close to 3000 hours of life sitting in a barber's chair watching the faint curls of my brownish locks cascade off my shoulders to the floor. Who knows how many inches of the beautiful brown fluff has been cut away, but with the scriptural promise that every hair is known/ accounted for and shall not be lost to me; it would appear that at some point in time, I'm returning to the Earth as Cousin It from Adam's Family lore.

I've never like getting my haircut, especially now that there's less of it, but the hair on the sides of my head grows faster and longer and much thicker than anywhere else. Without the occasional snip, snip, I tend to look like Bozo the Clown with something on the order of airplane wings extending over each ear. Making matters worse is the hard hat I wear on the job site. Removing it at periodic times over the course of the day reveals something like a shapely rain gutter running from temple to temple, over my ears and finally coming together at the back of my head.

Needless to say, I have no choice but to take time out of my day, every few months, and go get a cut. Today was that day again. Here on Grand Cayman Island, there are many of what I would term, a more traditional Barber Shop. Back in the US, we have Great Clips and other quick, in and out, places where major and minor hair mutualization regularly occurs. How many times have I left just such a place justifying another necessity by saying, "it will eventually grow back," all the while believe that next time will be different. Today was very different, even boarding on the glorious!

The "experience" began when I checked in and was immediately ushered to my chair and Barber- no waiting, not even for a minute! Once in the chair I was offered a beverage- coffee, soda, something stronger? I passed on the beverage and Jamie went right to work preparing me in a way that not a single piece of stray hair could possibly make its way under the collar of my shirt to irritate me the balance of the day. After asking how I wanted my hair cut, scissors came out and in what seemed like a tornado of activity over my head, I quickly saw civilization return- not too much removed on top and more than enough on the sides. Soon the airplane wings were gone, along with the rain gutter at the back and temples. Thinking all was finished, and being wholly satisfied with the results, next came the eyebrow trim and a little clean-up of my goatee. Then the straight razor to clear away any errant hairs off my neck and around my ears. Soon my chair was spinning, and I was reclined with my head being washed and dried, followed by the most amazing Noxzema facial massage. With hot towel over my face, Jamie then provides a temple and upper neck massage working his way from my shoulders and back, back up to my temples. Ten minutes of haircut turned into almost an hour of personalize attention and feel-good therapeutics. A little light styling of the top hairs, that are so thin and fine that one wonders if such could be styled, and I left Jamie's chair feeling like the week had just started and I was ready to tackle anything the world could throw at me.

The final bill was much less than I expected and not all that much over what I would have paid at Great Clips, generous tip included. It's almost a shame to think that this haircut is likely to last me until I leave the island, which means I need to start taking whatever vitamins make hair grow faster, as I will not be leaving here without another spin in Jamie's chair! The moral of the story of course is that it pays to go the extra mile, deliver that extra bit of caring and service, for today was no annoyance, but a pleasure I can't wait to experience again!

And while I'm at it, let's do another round of the 3,000 questions:

Question 216: Use a cartoon character to describe your athletic ability.

Answer: Charlie Brown. All kinds of passion and expectation with so little coordination. I don't even need Lucy to be pulling the ball away!

Question 458: How shy are you when you meet new people?

Answer: Very! I'm a natural introvert and a would-be determined extrovert. My default setting is to find a corner, turn into it and spend the night trying to find out where the wallpaper was seamed. I work at being more extrovert, especially in work settings. Over the years, as my personal confidence has grown, I've become more vocal at sharing my ideas, making a case for why we should do something in a particular way, and so forth. I've had enough success now in my work, that I've finally reached a point where I'm confident in what I do, willing to promote and defend my vision, program, ideas, and so forth. In truth though, I'm happy to do the work and let the credit fall where it will and just move on to the next project. Meeting new people? I love people but would rather be the column in the room instead of center stage.

Question 629: What is your Kryptonite?

Answer: Dark Chocolate and Ice Cream, especially together. I might also add Brownies to the list as well. They're Krytonite in that it's really, really difficult to say 'no' to- that's weakness.

Question 635: Compare your writing style to any published author.

Answer: Emra Bombeck. Funny, witty, full of expressive details. But please don't tell her that! (She died in 1996, but you know what I mean!)

Question 641: When you were a kid did you ever ask Santa for anything? If so, what?

Answer: Just last year I asked him for an Aston Martin Vantage V12 Convertible. Didn't get it! I suppose I did sit on his lap at some point in my childhood, though in truth I don't know that I ever recall any specific time/ event. What I do recall from the time that I was about 5 years old, was waking up on Christmas morning to magic, wonder, excitement, joy and much, much happiness! I came to understand this better after I became a dad for the first time, and every time after that. I love Christmas- it really is the best time of the year! I love it now more than ever for what it really represents- the birth of Jesus Christ! I love it for the great wanting that stirs deep inside of me- not for things I want, but for all the things I want to do and give out of love for my family and friends! This is especially true after having some very lean years at Christmas when Pam and I first arrived in Las Vegas. I look back on those times with great humility and gratitude. I'm reminded every year that I'm Scrooge from Dicken's "A Christmas Carol." Not the Scrooge when the story opens, but the Scrooge at the end of the book who lived every day as if it were Christmas and gave all he had to others. Alas, there's still some of the earlier Scrooge in me, but the ghosts of Christmas past are working their magic in me a little bit each year! "God bless us! Everyone!"

Question 693: When you were in school who was your favorite essay or assignment about?

Answer: Nicholas II, last Czar of Russia. I love history and something in the tragic life of Nicholas II touched me, and I have never been able to let it go. Here was a man with everything- power, wealth, education, he could speak five languages fluently, connections to the Royals throughout Europe, some of the wisest and most profound thinkers of his day, and yet he failed his people, he failed his nation, and paid for his failures with his life and those of his family. How does that happen? How does someone with everything, lose everything so spectacularly? Ultimately, he listened to the wrong people and insulated himself from the real conditions of life in his nation and among his people. He wasn't selfish, just ignorant and insulated. This is not too far removed from what we're seeing now in our own nation with a government that no longer seeks to serve the people and has become too isolated from the average man and woman. There are great lessons to be learned in history, and we mostly turn away from all of it, and to our great detriment.

Question 793: What is one thing you've failed at many times but keep trying until you finally succeed?

Answer: That would take a book to answer. Just one? It's a loaded question- there's too many possible and probable answers. Just when I think I have something figured out, I come to realize I'm about as far away as I could be on that one thing. Here's a sincere answer: Being a Dad! I have never seen myself as having done the best job I could, but I have always done what was my best at the time. Hindsight is always perfectly clear and too often, honest in ways we may not like. I've come up short so many times as a dad that the times just can't be counted. How many opportunities to really shine, and show caring, nurturing, and real teaching to these precious children granted me, only to fall flat on my face! I'm still working at it, even though most of the kids are grown and have ventured out on their own. The caring, concern, wanting to nurture, needing to matter and contribute never ends; nor should it. This is one thing I'll be working on well past the day I die, of that I'm certain!

Question 894: What do you think of the "tiny house" craze and is it for you?

Answer: If someone wants to live in a shoebox and can be comfortable there, they should be allowed to live as they choose. I don't think it's a bad thing, though I think it's been taken to extremes- how can two people with 2-year-old get along in a house that's 8' wide x 12' long? It's a little much (bad choice of words- you know what I mean!). It's not for me but living in 10,000 SF isn't for me either. For that matter, what do I really need to be happy? Depends on a lot of factors. If it's just Pam and I, we don't need much, but we need space for those we want to come and be with us- for a week, a month, or even longer, so that means more space than a trailer will provide. I also don't want to shower with one foot in the toilet, or not have enough bookshelf space for my growing library. News flash to the younger generation- when the power goes out, and it will, you can still read a book by candlelight and be happily entertained or informed.

Question Who do you think is smarter, men of women?

Answer: Did I say at the beginning of all this that I randomly pick these questions? In truth, smarts don't matter for much, but wisdom does. I define wisdom as being able to use all God has given us in our ability to think critically and make good decisions. Men are no better than women in this regard and there's a lot of men that don't measure up to women in many areas. Each has their own perspective, it's one of the reasons why gender is so important. The best combination is a man with a woman, as Adam and Eve started out. There's lot of examples in the scriptures of great men and women who were so because they loved God first and had each other. You don't hear too much about Noah's wife, but I'm sure she had some say in how the kitchen was laid out in the Arc and who would be doing clean up on the lower decks every day. In all seriousness, I really believe that no man is stoppable in anything he sets his mind to if he has a strong and supporting woman by his side, and the same is equally true of women. Daughters, find a solid God-fearing man, and Sons find a determined and God-fearing woman. Everything after that will be easier!

Question 1987: How do you feel about photography?

Answer: Love it! Had some really good cameras in years past- have no idea what became of them. I used to go to Chicago and other places that I would road trip to and take gobs and gobs of photos. Some turned out surprisingly well and I did have a handful in an art gallery in my hometown of Brimingham, Michigan back in my late 20's. Like so many things, life and finances get in the way of expensive habits. One day I'll get a really first-class camera and start taking pictures again- I see compositions everywhere I go and have a fair amount of material on lots of old phones. One day I'll get them move to disk, edit them and print some out- maybe I'll have enough for some artwork in my above average tiny house!


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