Culture is the social transmission of norms, values, and ideas. The barber is a crossroads of oral tradition, and therefore close to my heart. At the barber, I can always close my eyes and truly relax in the chair.
Two days ago, on one t.v., "Gunsmoke" is playing, cowboys are having a shootout somewhere in the desert. On the other t.v., a b-ball game concludes dramatically in the final tenths of a second by a half-court shot.
A former barber (Sherri) rubbed my shoulders in the chair, sent me off with a hug and candy. VIPs used to come through, the wall is riddled with signed portraits hanging slightly askew, Sanford & Son used to come on, Joe would talk for hours, I read Field & Stream magazine.
A much earlier barber of mine, one 80-something barber in middle-America, Charlie, opened up at 6 a.m. everyday regardless his age, charged only $6, and kept a loaded .357 Magnum in his drawer.
One outside Baltimore comes to mind, a twenty-something's dream complete with pool tables and boxing matches. Me as always, the only minority in the room.
One with leather chairs, some with ashtrays in the seats, memories of Hank Ketcham writing about Dennis the Menance getting a free barber school cut.
Thank you barbers, for keeping it real.