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Gone but not Forgotten by Deke Cutter


We'd been out camping for a week and as great as it was, I was glad to get back to the "civilization," such as it was in the small town at the trail head. Mike and I had booked two rooms at the pleasant inn just off main street in the town. Boy was I glad to get into a hot shower and get myself cleaned up. I was glad of the hotel provided a hair dryer too since such luxuries were not included in our packs. Well, Mike wouldn't need one anyway, since he kept his hair pretty short. We met for dinner which was excellent and moved over to the bar. I said to Mike, "What shall we do tomorrow?" Mike said that he thought he'd check out the barber shop on the main street. "I didn't bring my clippers and I am feeling a bit shaggy," he said. "How about we meet over at the shop tomorrow and we can drive down to the steam railway," Mike said. I said OK and we went on to knock back quite a few of the very good local brew.

I woke up a bit foggy the next morning, took a shower, dried and brushed my hair and headed down to breakfast, expecting to see MIke. The owner of the inn, he doubled as the breakfast chef and waiter, told me that I had just missed Mike. I figured he had headed over to get his haircut early and figured we could probably get an earlier start on our side trip. After a quick breakfast, I walked over to the barbershop. The barber greeted me and got out of the chair where he was reading the paper. I explained that I was supposed to meet my friend here in the shop I described Mike and as I was telling him he was coming in for a buzz, his phone rang. He handled the call quickly and apologized to me. He explained that I was his first customer of the day and that my friend hadn't been in. I smiled, a bit uncomfortably, as I had not intended on getting a haircut here. I went to a great place at home and my barber, Charlie, kept my hair just the way I liked it, kind of shaggy looking but also neat enough for work. About 15 uncomfortable minutes went by, before I got a text from Mike explaining that he had decided to take morning run to clear his head and that he would meet me at the barbers in half an hour. I was getting up to leave and the barber looked at me with sad eyes and said, "its a slow morning, are you sure I can't clean you up while we wait for your friend?" I don't know what possessed me to agree to it, but I did.

He quickly had me in the chair, caped up and combed out. I was just about to explain that I would just like a very light trim when he switched on the clippers and pushed them up the back of my head. I quickly pulled my head away and yelled "Hey what the heck are you doing?" The barber looked at me and said "you told me you and your friend were getting buzz cuts, I am starting on yours." All of a sudden, it clicked, the phone call, he had misheard what I said. I reached my hand up and felt a path of very short hair reaching up about half way. I said to the barber that I really preferred to keep my hair longer. He told me that he could try to limit the damage. Again, I should have just gotten up and waited to get back to Charlie's but I guess the shock of the moment led me to agree. The barber then proceeded to go around the sides and back with his clippers. By the time he had uncovered both my ears, I knew I had made another mistake. He went to work on the remaining longer hair on top, lopping off a good few inches and leaving me with a very old fashioned looking haircut. As I was looking at the damage, Mike came into the shop and uttered the one word that made me know things were as bad as I thought-"Dude." Now guys know that the word Dude can mean many things and in this case it meant, "this is not a good thing I am looking at." Mike came up to the chair and rubbed the naked skin at the back of my head and said it again, "Dude." I looked at myself in the mirror and looked over at the barber and said, "you know, I think maybe I'll just go for that buzz cut after all." The barber, eager to be done with this difficult customer, put a number 3 blade on his clippers and quickly dispatched my remaining hair. It looked better than the "dork cut" but I hated it. Mike hopped in the chair got the same cut as me and we were on our way. Mike tried to convince me that the cut looked good, it would be low maintenance, he could keep me cleaned up when we got home. I was having none of it. I said that my hair was already starting its journey back and nothing would get in its way.

By the time I started back to work a few days later, I had gotten used to the "new me," (well, I could look into the mirror without cringing). I went into work. It was Monday so we had our weekly staff meeting. I took some good natured joshing on the haircut from some of the guys. Afterwards, my boss called me into his office. "Daniel" he said "I must say I am pleased to see that you have rid yourself of that shaggy mop. You have been doing some very good work for us, but I wasn't sure you were ready for the next step up. This short haircut shows me that you are. If you keep up the good work and maintain that fine looking haircut, you will be moving up in this organization. So, now I am stuck with a buzz cut that I don't want and a promotion and raise that I do. Life sure can be funny sometimes.



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