Years of haircuts experienced on the hair-bearing side taught me the wrong lesson: that I could do it for/to myself and save money.
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Among the many things that are better left to professionals—piloting a jet, performing almost any surgery, copy editing—cutting hair always should be included. I did not know this until the day I learned it.
Cutting hair looks so easy. The professionals talk to you and even chat amongst themselves while they are doing it, for crying out loud. (Some will even use the word “amongst” while talking: “Your dark hairs are here, amongst the gray ones.”) How do they do that? If you interrupt me while I am merrily typing away, I will pretty much stop typing and begin to glare at you until you decide to ask someone else whatever it is you came to ask me. And how do you know where I live anyway?
One of my barbers back in the early 2000s was a World War II Navy vet who loved to tell stories from his war years while he was wielding his scissors around my scalp. (He was of the old school: No clippers for his customers. “Why give them a cut that they can give themselves?” he would ask-declare. Little did he know how well I knew that lesson. See below.)