Learning through Laughter

Bob Owen, Humorist

I’m so blessed.  I don’t know why I’m singled out, but I am.  Maybe it’s because I enjoy them.  Maybe it’s because I’m able to share them.  Maybe it’s because I’m a bad person and get a kick out of laughing at things other people do.  I tend to think it’s something nice, like I just like laughing and making others laugh.  My wife thinks it’s mostly because I’m strange.  She’s not often wrong, she will tell you.

The fact is funny things either happen to me or in front of me all the time, just about every day.  And, because you’re one of my closest personal friends, I’m going to share one with you.

The most recent happened at the barber shop.  I sat in the chair, gave the barber my glasses, and told him I wanted a scissors cut.  He smiled, perhaps because a lot of bald men don’t ask for a scissors cut.  But, off he clipped.

In the chair immediately across from me was a young man in his late 30’s in the process of getting a flat top. Not the flat top from the 50s that was cut to within a half inch and glued to an upright position with Butch Wax.  Not that flat top.  This was more of a gourmet flat top that was “taller” and held shape on it’s own because the customer had thick hair. The kind that could actually move with the wind.

I don’t know how long the man’s hair was when he entered the shop.  He was being processed when I arrived.  But, there was a good deal of hair on the floor.  A student barber had been working on him, and from my perspective didn’t seem to be particularly comfortable in the role.  Perhaps because he was cutting under the close supervision of the professional barber, who decided at one point that perhaps she should step in and keep the cut indeed flat.  I personally know this lady, and she’s the consummate professional and demands this from her students. Her customers always receive great service and excellent cuts.  

When the teacher took over, another student came over to observe, but mostly to chitty chat.  The young man who had been working on his first flat top held his hands out parallel to the floor and said at the top of his voice, “Look, my hands aren’t shaking as much as they usually do. My new medication is really working.”

The price of a hair cut - $6.  The cost of the tip - $2 or more.  The terrified look on the customer’s face – priceless!!!

His whole body assumed a countenance that could in no circumstance be interpreted as relaxed; and he probably would have come up out of the chair if the teacher hadn’t given him a mirror to prove that his cut really was fine.

I laughed out loud and proclaimed to the room, “You’ve just witnessed how to build confidence in a customer without really trying.”  The instructor looked over at me and said, “Bob, if you don’t behave, I’m going to glue all this hair on your bald head and then give you a Mohawk with an ax.”  I told her I wouldn’t pay extra.   

When I left, the young student was being taught the finer points of not sharing his medical history in public.  

That’s why I’m so lucky.  People can’t make up stuff like this.

Date of Blog Story: 
March 15, 2011

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