Friday, May 07, 2004

At the Barbershop…

My barbershop is a throwback to the 1950s – a one-chair business run by a blue collar no-nonsense motorcycle rider who knows everyone and everything going on in our partially restored downtown suburb. The shop is adjacent to our little Main St. (no kidding, that’s its name), and the old-timers drop by to talk, not necessarily to get a haircut. The barber (we’ll call him Joe), usually has his TV turned on for his customers to Bush Rove Fox News, as he calls it, so he can yell at it. But today for the first time I could remember, Joe had the TV off as I came in, and Air America radio was on instead.

He had been arguing vehemently with an older retired lady school-teacher, Joe being from the far left, and the lady school-teacher (we’ll call her Emma) from the far right. Now these two clearly love each other as friends and they also apparently love to tear into each other politically. If Emma had any ideas that I (as a retired military man) would completely support her point of view, that Mr. Bush was the best thing to happen to America since Abe Lincoln, I soon became a major disappointment for her – she probably was hoping for a 2-to-1 victory. Surely, I thought, Emma would at least agree that Rumsfeld had to go. But in mock anger, she harrrummmmpphhhed and stomped out the door.

A couple of minutes later, she appeared outside the glass door again, scowled into the barbershop at Joe and stuck a folded piece of paper into the door crack. Joe, now using a straight razor on me said, “Wait a minute, I’ve got to go see what that piece of paper says.” He walked over, got it, stared at it for a couple of seconds, and then broke out into hysterical laughter. Outside the door, I could see Emma walking away with a little triumphant smile on her face – and, I could swear, she was smothering a laugh. Joe, now with tears in his eyes from laughing so hard, came back to the chair and handed me the note. In big letters, it said simply, “COMMIE PINKO!!”

I thought to myself, as I too laughed, how much better this country would be if we could again laugh with each other, agree to disagree, but still remain close friends.

By now, Joe had the straight razor back in his hands, and was reading the note again over my shoulder, and again broke into hysterics. I said, “Hey Joe, be careful with that razor.”

Without skipping a beat, he kept the haircut going and, still laughing, said, “Don’t worry, unlike our &%$@% president, I can do two things at once, including speaking in complete sentences.”

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link