A Spy in the Barbershop

Dictionary of Texisms:

            Dumb as a box of rocks – not too bright. Variation – dumb as a box of hammers.

Once a month, whether I need it or not, Mom insists that I get a haircut. So every month, whether I need it or not, I have the privilege of hearing the barbers engage each other and their adult male customers in a lively discussion of current events.  

My regular barber, Norbert, is gruff. I suppose if my name was Norbert, I might be gruff too.  I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know my name; when it’s my turn, he waves at his chair and says, “Hop on up, Sport.” He calls all boys Sport. I once saw him give a girl a haircut, and he called her “Missy.” In the early days Norbert would ask me if I wanted a crewcut (I don’t), and he never fails to ask if I want my sideburns “long like Elvis.” Other than that, Norbert assumes I have nothing valuable to say and ignores me.

Norbert, on the other hand, has a lot to say, as do Tony and Jerry. Grandpa used to wait for me during my haircuts, but now he’s taken to dropping me off because, as he puts it, “Every one of those clowns is dumb as a box of rocks, and I can’t abide their ignorant blathering. If I stay I’m tempted to argue with them, and that’s a waste of good breath.”

I’m not tempted to argue, since they don’t think kids know anything. To make it so I can abide it, I imagine that I’m not just a customer but a spy, listening carefully and taking mental notes  so I can understand the pulse of public opinion in Rusty Springs. It’s a dangerous job, but I think I’m the man for it.

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