“Barbers and death, think of all the ways they are related,” said my friend. We were in a shopping center. “Earlier this week,” my friend said with false gravity, “the sign in Joe Yates’ barber shop window read “Closed,” and a basket of flowers stood outside the door.” He stopped to look for his hair salon.
We were grad students then, literary associations sprouting like dandelions in the spring of our brains. “Death Comes to the barber,” wrote Williams, but the death of Det. Jerry Barber on TV was more current.
We found his stylist. I stood on some invisible obstinence, then sat and buried myself in SELF magazine.
When I was a kid my Uncle Tim, an Irish expat, used to take me to get my hair cut in this shop where he lived, a village called Santos in Extremadura. One day I had a cold and couldn’t go. But a week later I was ready.
“He died,”said my uncle. There was no other barber in town. My uncle shrugged: “It’s not a growing profession.”
And my friend, in the stylist’s chair, so relaxed.