Wednesday, May 04, 2011

856 Owen The Barber Calls It A Day

856 Owen The Barber Calls It A Day

After 50 years behind the barber chair, the shoulders just won’t take it anymore. This guy’s a cantankerous, crusty country curmudgeon of a man, but the eyes sparkle and twinkle. He really doesn’t want to give it up. But he’s running a race with time, and knows it. Recent bypass surgery was successful, but after that, you still want to take it easy.

No more haircuts. Cut back on golf. No more fixing-up-the house and schlepping of the tool box. No more playing in the band. All stuff that requires his powerful but now cantankerous, crusty country shoulders.

Part of this is geometry. Owen alleges he is 5’2”. That is not a typo. This means he’s been reaching up for a long time. That can murder the bones and muscles.

Part of this is age. The shop is only open 15 hours a week. He and unindicted co-conspirator Bernie, somewhat younger and much taller, mosey in about noon and mosey out around six on Thursdays and Fridays and then put in another three hours on Saturdays.

A haircut is ten bucks and takes about ten minutes. It’s the kind of place even people with no hair go every now and again even if just for the company. You want face time with your orthopedist? Owen’s is the place to meet. You want to watch baseball or golf on big screen TV without the distractions of home? Read the New York Daily News for free (the store is six hours from the city,) learn the latest about the town cops? Let your obnoxious kids bounce exercise balls? (Don’t complain. Owen’ll invite you out even in mid-haircut!) This is the place.

No shaving. No women’s haircuts (“there’s a perfectly good place for that two doors down.”) Probably violates 16 different laws, but “I don’t give a...”

Owen owns the building which has maybe half a dozen other stores.

Customer: “If you’re going to retire, may I offer a suggestion?”

Owen: “Sure, what?”

Customer: “If they know you’re not going to be around, your tenants are going to get sloppy about keeping the place up and paying the rent.”

Owen: “I’m pretty careful about who I let in. And one of ‘em asked for ten year leases when I told ‘em I was retiring.”

The shop will stay open. Maybe that 1948 National Cash Register will stay as part of the fixtures. And the TV.

Customer: “So, you’re in your eighth decade? You’re much older than I am.”

Owen: ?????

Customer: “You got 55 weeks on me.”

Owen: “So I got two feet in decade eight and you have one in, and one in the air.”

Grump on, Owen. Happy travels. And your teams all win and all your rounds be under par. But not too far under par, if you want anyone to believe the scorecard.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2011

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