Four months ago.

When you think of “four months ago,” what comes to mind?

Many things, right? I mean, it was the end of winter and snow was still in the air but spring was right around the corner for one thing. A trip to any kind of store, restaurant, school building, or just out into the public was no cause for alarm for another. In fact, one of my last forays I took into the pre-modern pandemic world was to a place called “the barbershop.”

And then I didn’t go anywhere.

To be honest, I did go places, but not nearly in the frequency as before. And when I did, my behavior reflected the times. Mask on, quick in, quick out. I eventually made my way back into all of the places I’d gone before quarantine captivated my lifestyle, except for one; the barbershop.

Two days before things got real, I got my haircut. The “Rob Ford haircut” is pretty simple — a number one attachment on the top and a number two attachment on my beard. Using my current Record-Eagle photo for reference you can see that barbers could be blindfolded and still get the job done on my head. You may be asking yourself right now, why does this guy even pay for haircuts?

That’s a good question. And as the pandemic unfolded, instead of cutting things myself, I adopted some sort of solidarity with the tonsorial community. A small part of my stimulus money was earmarked for a haircut when hairstylists were allowed to reopen.

But they didn’t open.

And when they did open, my favorite barber shop quickly developed a backlog.

Long story, if not long hair, short, it was almost four months to the day when I plopped into the chair.

Things had changed.

For starters, we both had masks on. He even had a face shield on and gloves, too. Working from right to left and exchanging muffled small talk, the mask was deftly worked around. Even when the beard was trimmed, a mask was our constant companion.

Let’s talk about this beard for a moment. A once well manicured facial feature, neglected for 120 days, had grown to what some might call “holiday length.” In other words, only Santa Claus would appreciate its new dimensions. And even then, Santa might have laid a finger aside of his nose and said, “dude, get a haircut and get that beard under control” before rising up the chimney.

Anyway, that’s what I did. It took half an hour and it now looks great. After a barber/client consultation we decided to use the number two attachment on the top and fade the sideburns into the beard. Using an easy touch, the beard was shaped a bit but still has what the beard business calls “volume.”

Best of all, and this may have been part of my plan all along, was that I could observe a barber properly plying his craft. Going to barber college and then cutting my hair the old way somehow seemed a waste of talent. Not unlike a master craftsman hired just to saw a two-by-four or an electrician paid to simply change a light bulb.

I’d add to that list something about a writer being paid to describe an outing to get his haircut, but for once, this one was really worth the effort.

Email author Rob Ford at robfordwrites@gmail.com.

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