A lot of beef (steaks and burgers mostly) is consumed on this weekend of BBQ’s when we celebrate the arrival of summer & while we also recall those who made it possible for us to celebrate. The honored dead are remembered with flags on the breeze and red-white-and blue bunting. We who survived carry the guilt of living while others did not. It’s there no matter what anyone says. One takes a bullet and the other walks out without a scratch. That my friends are the fortunes of war.
Then there are the soldiers who do not wear uniforms and fight in conventional ways. Perhaps I can doff my hat to them as well. This is an excerpt from White Powder: A Novel of the CIA and the Secret War in Laos:
Sam Willoughby continued, “I’m jealous of dead soldiers. Dead soldiers have friends to avenge them and family to mourn them. They lie peacefully in neat graves, their bravery and sacrifice noted; buried in smart uniform, medals in velvet boxes, citations to hang on the walls and a folded flag in a cupboard somewhere. They said what they had done and where they had been, and when they died, their friends told how they died, and, from time to time, why they died.”
Sam motioned toward the glass of pénard Burton held. He handed it to Willoughby, who sloshed it in his mouth and then downed it in a single gulp.“In the parlance of dead soldiers there is the front line. In the cant of my strange craft we call that place ‘the end of line.’ People in my business die alone. Our deaths are unsung, our motives unclear. So we die slowly. Every challenged moment of each belabored day is barbed and thorned with memory of the things we cannot tell. We die defenseless with naught to avenge us but the mute records of what we observed in the strange lands that swallowed us.”
I’ve been going to the same barber for the past twenty or so years. I don’t know how many men have the same experience. There have been gaps when I’ve been abroad, but I go back out of habit and because there’s something comforting about familiarity. In a world of hair stylists and coiffeurs, barbers have been shoved aside by the metro-sexualization of the male of the species.
I don’t care. I like to sit down and read automotive and hunting magazines while I await my turn at the chair. While you wait, there is always a shot of sipping whiskey if you are so inclined — single malt (12+ years old). Cigars too are available. (Kipling said, “A woman is only a woman but a good cigar is a smoke“…)
To me a shave is part of the experience, and not one with a safety razor. It’s got to be a genuine razor cut with a stropped blade. But before that, there’s the hot towel, the soap that always smells the same – and don’t ask me to describe it. A haircut must take place after a shave so close that it skins off the very top layer of epidermis.
The move to the White Wolf Mine means that I will need to find a replacement barber. That’s not easy. I found THIS YouTube video on barber shops by skimming the net to try and describe the “experience”.
Not All Americans buy off on the mainstream media BS
As always, a post worth reading.
No need to find a barber, LL. Just go for that hermit look, and after about a year's worth of whisker growth, you'll have the locals avoiding you like bad news. That, and chicks dig men with beards.
I grew up with barbers like that… though I could have the drink. There are not many of them left and I haven't seen one in my area at all. As for the weekend… I will have a sip of Jack Black for those who gave all.
There's going to be another "Barbershop Day" on the Iowa very soon. I think it's June 9th.
The guys who come and cut hair do it for the ship; they donate their time, and you donate the $20 you'd normally pay them to the Iowa.
You can even get your hair cut in the same chair President Bush sat in for his hair cut.
And for a nominal fee, they'll give you a straight-razor shave, too.
I'll send you the info as soon as I get it.
Barber's aren't easy to find these days. There's something wrong, to me, about going into a "salon." I don't like it, it feels wrong.
If you're Ben Jacobs or some other onesie wearing "beachcomber" maybe it's different.
I can only speak for myself.
I like the idea of become a mad hermit, but the hygiene that has attended me for so long doesn't fade easily.
YES, I'll be there! I'll even do a selfie. There is something satisfying at the thought of a haircut and a shave aboard USS Iowa
There were many more barbers like that when I was younger. There was a barber who called himself "Alf" (not the "alien life form" stuffed animal from the sitcom). Alf was a farmer who barbered on the side. His manner reflected his day job. Still I preferred that to the efite 'salons'. Alf only did one haircut – farmer cut. He charged $.65 and you got one of those hard candy suckers. If you were older, you could hit the tap for a beer for another $.25.
There must be a barber left somewhere in Texas.
As soon as I get the particulars I'll forward them to you. I always go, too, so it would be a nice time to hook up again before we both leave this God forsaken coastal desert!
I'm looking forward to it!!
I was off by a month….it's on JULY 9th.
Info here: pacificbattleship.com/event/detail/827
They're not taking reservations yet. I wrote my self a note to check back in.
Then again, the whole well-groomed hermit defeats the purpose.
Salut! Absent Comrades.
And we are fewer every year, aren't we, Old NFO.
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