I don't usually get my haircut in Roslindale, but the godforsaken hellacious virus from another world (slight exaggeration) has made mincemeat out of my routine, and now I'll go anywhere and do anything.
"We need you to fly to Iran and get a few Americans holed up at the Canadian Embassy out of the country."
I'll do it!
No, wait, that was just me recalling the moving "Argo," which I happened watch just a few days ago. Always love to revisit styles from previous periods, like the early '80s, when I knew as much about fashion as I do now. Apparently, there were mustaches, and eyeglasses were oversized.
OK, so I need a haircut, and one day I'm driving through Rozzy village, which is totally normal for me, and then I encounter a sign that includes the words "Barber." Cut to two days later. I have to get my scooter's safety inspection done, so I figure I zip over to J and D Cycles in Hyde Park, which it turns out passes right by Rozzy Village if you believe Google Maps, which of course I do, despite my strong preference not to.
Have you ever heard the song by Barber Shop by Tom Waits? Also, I am blogging about a random haircut I got because – what, there isn't anything more important happening in the world to blog about?
But I digress. So, I go into the shop and realize that this place doesn't specialize in my brand of graying, thinning, British Isles hair, nor my British Isles mother tongue. And with the cost at $8 more than I'm used to paying, I get up to leave. But then a barber comes over and tells me he is available, and now I'm stuck getting a relatively expensive haircut from a man who can't possibly know how to cut hair like mine.
Of course, I'm wrong. Armed with an array of weapons that would make the Russian army look ill-prepared for battle and a few mumbled words of instruction from me, the barber clips and cuts and sculpts to perfection, adding a handful of foamy mousse to the top of my hair. I'm pretty sure the barber didn't cut the top short enough, until I live with my new head for a day and determine the length is spot on.
Didn't get the barber's name, but very likely to visit that shop again.
I'm sure I seem to you like a guy who doesn't miss a major golf championship when it is played at a course five minutes (on a bike) from his home, and it turns out I didn't miss the first round of the 2022 US Open golf championship yesterday. Generously invited to attend by my friend Curtis, we two aging hackers with mediocre backs stumbled around the course for a while, trying to find a good location to watch the action, until we found the par 5 8th hole grandstand, where we could watch famous people in slacks and hats that proclaim which major corporation is sponsoring them hit approach shots, and chip and putt to finish the hole.
After a couple of hours, my friend Curtis felt like he needed to get up and walk. There was a threesome teeing off on the 15th, just behind us, and once they had played their shots the officials dropped ropes and let people pass through, until the threesome coming off the 14 arrived, whereupon they put up ropes again just before we arrived at the crossing. So, Curtis and I were caught there at the 15th tee
This seemed like a hole that was clearly concocted for the US Open. The length of it, a par 4 at more than 500 yards, couldn't have been the regular tee box for members. It would take a drive of 280 yards just to make the fairway, and the tiny real estate that the tee box was comprised of suggested it had been horseshoed in for a major championship. As a result, we were inches from the players and their caddies.
When you watch golf on TV, you usually see huge galleries at the tee, but that's because the networks show you the best players, with fans that follow them around the course. If I can paint with broad brush strokes for a second, I would guess that the American contingent of PGA touring pros is made of up of lots of Christian family-men – guys like Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler – probably Republicans, certainly guys who don't go raising hell the night before playing in a golf tournament. But the group at the 15th were people I had never heard of before – Ryan Gerard and Jesse Mueller, and a third guy named Brady Calkins.
There was a backup ahead, so the caddies and golfers at the 15th started making small talk about where they were staying and the crazy traffic and trolleys going by their windows. I couldn't help but notice that the caddy for Calkins was young and was dipping Copenhagen chewing tobacco, talking smack with Brady like he was a drinking buddy rather than an employee, which is what professional caddies are. Most notably, the golf bag he was carrying was tiny compared to the wardrobe-sized bags that everyone else on the course was using. It was like his boss had played hooky from work to hack around with his buds on a municipal course, grabbing clubs he had bought second hand, and looking for the drinks cart to pass so he could grab a can of local craft beer. It seemed so unlike the players you hear about all the time that I couldn't help but search him up on the interweb, which is how I found this article about Brady in Golf Digest.
Brady Calkins: maybe a Christian, maybe Republican, but at this point in his career definitely not a family man who seeks to get a good night's sleep before he tees off in a major championship.
I haven't attended an actual theatrical farce since the late 1980s, when I went to see Joe Orton's "What the Butler Saw," accompanied by a woman with whom I was hopelessly infatuated. My strongest memories of that evening – in the darkness of a tiny theater somewhere on Charles Street in Boston (need to check the facts on that) – are less about the comedy itself than the revelation that we humans spew an incredible amount of saliva when we talk.
The director of this production had backlit the stage, such that every time the actors yelled – especially the balding guy playing the central character of Dr. Prentiss – the audience saw impossibly huge clouds of salivary droplets spewing into the air. It was both comical and disgusting and went on for a couple of hours. At times it was hard to follow the play because I was so awestruck by the bursts of goo coming out of the actors' mouths. It didn't exactly provide the romantic atmosphere I was hoping for that evening.
One day, when I was in grade school – call it fifth grade – a teacher angrily hollered at us for treating English class as a farce, which made me laugh because, as a French Canadian, I had many times eaten a meat stuffing called "farce." Then she yelled "Patrick McVay wipe that smirk off your face now!" I might not remember many of the world's thorniest crises of that era, but I remember her saying "farce" and me laughing about it.
Calling our behavior a farce was, to be honest, inaccurate. It was more of a circus. Farces, to my mind, have a pattern to them. Several doors as well. There was only one door in my fifth-grade English class, and our unruly behavior had no discernable pattern.
I've never written a farce, but I did once claim, in these very pages, that I was going to write one called "Gun Farce." I'm guessing that I posted that blog entry shortly after a mass shooting occurred. I won't even bother to check what mass shooting might have happened around January 13, 2013, because, let's face it, they happen just about every day in these increasingly disunited states.
Sometimes, I feel that penning a play around the general contours of my Gun Farce blog entry would be worth the effort, if nothing else to assuage the guilt I feel for doing otherwise little to combat the conditions that enable teenagers to waltz into gun shops and purchase semi-automatic rifles without a license and use them to murder children in their classrooms en masse. However, I don't think it would end up being terribly funny. It's hard to lighten the mood when a minority of Americans are arming themselves to the hilt. It feels eerily like preparation for war, except the enemy is, apparently, young people in school.
Maybe what I'll do instead is write a farce about the US Senate. After all, the Capitol has lots of doors, the principal characters are mad, and there is a decades-long pattern of defending the purchase and sale of guns at any cost.