I had the same barber for 18 years.  I always went to Nick the Knife.  I dubbed him the knife about 5 years in to our business relationship.  He was an old time barber with lots of magazines in the waiting area.  He was always playing big band music on AM radio.  I never had to say a word.  I got on the stool and he cut my hair just right.


Nick was eccentric.  He was a crazy right wing nut but he was my crazy right wing nut.  I just had to tune out when politics came up.  It was best to talk baseball or the weather.  I could get his goat by mentioning climate change.  Of course, he was an old guy and eventually he would retire on me.  I was devastated.  Just because he was 79 years old was no reason for him to just up and abruptly retire.


It left me with a void in my life. I was wandering in the wilderness without a regular barber.  It is a search that still goes on.  Once, I even got my hair cut in the airport in Memphis simply because the opportunity presented itself.  It is hard to find a good barber.  I walked into one place feeling hopeful but I noticed they were playing Maroon 5 on the radio.  I just turned around and walked out.  How can you get a haircut with Maroon 5 playing in the background.  That’s just barbaric on so many levels.


I may have found a new place.  I found a barber shop around the block from my childhood home.  It’s a Latin place.  They would have Latin music playing in the background.  It was far younger in clientele than me but I could dig the music.  I would prefer old timey jazz but this was acceptable.  One time, a woman that could barely speak English cut my hair.  She still managed to do a good job.


Of course, then the pandemic hit.  I haven’t had a haircut in over 20 months.  I might be wearing a ponytail again if this keeps up.  The last time I wore a ponytail was in 1998.  I will go back to the Latin place again if they survive the pandemic.  Otherwise, the search may begin all over again.  I really should have taken Nick the Knife’s picture when I was there.  Then at least I could display the photograph on my desk.  A good barber is more essential than many people realize.



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