The Barbershop Diaries, Volume I, Issue 2: The South Will Rise Again — After This Word From Our Sponsor

No pain, no gain

No pain, no gain

This week’s narcissistic self-indulgences yielded 4 real snoozers and 1 quite interesting gander into the “mind” of a fundamentalist Christian.

Number one for five days on Digg, and in number two on Reddit for the last six days, is a short video of a young man, perhaps a gymnast, in a (yep, you guessed it) gymnasium with a large red rubber exercise ball.  Harmless and pedestrian enough.

The young man next rolls the red ball slowly out in front of himself and proceeds to follow behind the ball.  Just as two other gentlemen, perhaps coaches, leaning nonchalantly against a pommel horse in the background, come into the clip, the young man jumps, feet-first, onto the rolling red ball, allowing the ball to roll off his feet to his buttocks and up his back.  Generally, this is the end of this sort of maneuver as the average person’s agility tells them to bail off to the left or right before something severe and crippling transpires.

But not our young man.

In this all too nonchalant clip, the young man continues to allow the ball to roll to his neck and head, when he fully extends his legs backward and behind his now inverted body.  This move drives the back of the young man’s head deeply into the rolling exercise ball towards the back of the ball’s center of gravity.  Simultaneously, the ball accelerates as the young man is flung, head-and-neck-first, into the air. 

No one in the background or on camera is the least bit concerned or impressed as the young man continues to extend is body out and straight and the momentum from the accelerating exercise ball continues to gently spin the young man back onto his feet facing the direction he was headed with the ball in the first place.

Then the young man gives the ol’ index fingers from hips out to the camera, indicating that he knows he stuck this move, and so does everyone else.  No big deal.  Anyone can do this.  It’s as easy as rolling off a rolling exercise ball and not breaking your neck or fracturing your skull.

Some young people can’t help themselves — they seem to love to make older people feel, well…old.  The first time I saw Travis Pastrana stick an inverted flip on his 250cc motocross bike and land squarely on his two wheels, I was similarly stunned and envious.  Then young Travis went on to explain in a post-feat interview how many times he had fractured or separated vertebra, ruptured discs in his neck and eaten, God help us, hospital food.  I was no longer envious.  By the time these kids reach my ripe old age (upper forties), they will wish they’d just fornicated their brains out in high school and left the elaborate mating rituals to Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.  Gaining the experience and joyous revelation that young people have no respect for the wisdom of experience appears to be a concept that only actual experience can obtain.  Words simply do no justice to this phenomenon.  Comedian Ron White states the condition quite simply as, “you can’t fix stupid.”  I’ll be more generous: words cannot mean anything between parties when the parties involved do not share a common pool of experience.  In such cases, one or all parties are just pushing out air.

This submission owes a lot to Digg’s founder, Kevin Rose, who couldn’t help but to comment on the athleticism and precision of the young man in this video.  Kevin is an avid rock climber and has yet to burst into the over 40 crowd and has a good decade or so before he gets there in all his glory.

Communication appears to be the problem that befell this week’s number two (on the list for four days), a man being videotaped from a local helicopter as he attempts to shoot a charging police dog while steadying his handgun against the roof of his white subcompact station wagon.  The charging dog then leaps over the roof of the auto and, rather than ducking, the man receives the jaws of the police dog with his free arm.  The dog then wrestles the suspect’s testicles to the ground, followed almost immediately by the rest of the suspect.  Not to miss an opportunity for a free collar and the chance to handcuff an already subdued suspect, three of four police officers rush in to the scene to salvage what is left of the suspect’s genitalia.  The fourth, sidearm drawn, examines the suspect’s vehicle for free donuts. 

Question: why are we putting down close to 5 million canines annually when many of these animals could be drafted for military service?  A pack of no more than one dozen animals of this caliber could easily subdue a squad of Taliban, in or out of a Tora-Bora cave.  And they’d do it for an entire year for less than what we are paying out for a week of armed man-to-man combat.  War is hell, but playing “fetch” isn’t.

The communication problem appears to be a failure in our educational system as the suspect makes several errors in judgment that even a typical middle-schooler would not have made.  Error one, the suspect attempted to outrun police radios using a fluorescent white subcompact station wagon.  While your late model Dodge Colt may be equipped for time travel, there’s a pretty good chance that it will take longer for your Colt to reach light speed than it will take three squad cars and a police helicopter to corner you in a rail yard cul-de-sac.  And if one of the squad cars has a canine officer – error two, you’re tragically overweight and can’t duck below the roofline of your trusty starship – error three, you’re only packing a six shooter – error four, you’re going to jail for a lifetime of no respect.  Probably without your testicles.  Word up: crime may pay, but nothing – criminal or pedestrian — pays very well if you’re an idiot.

But being stupid isn’t just a United States criminal predilection: it appears to involve all of North America’s college students as a billboard near University of Toronto has featured our number three submission for a little over four days.  The billboard, no doubt retouched by a local graffiti artiste of questionable sexual tastes was originally intended as an advertisement for a cellular phone company attempting to “reach out” to the student body with suggestions as to what to do at 2AM on a typical night.  Two checkboxes, obviously a part of the original advert, suggest either calling a cab, or text messaging party information to all of one’s friends.  A third checkbox, done in a tasteful shade of red spray paint and checked-off, suggests anal sex as the obvious choice.

Profiling this bit of vandalism, I suspect the criminal mind of an undergraduate college student, perhaps high on marijuana or cocaine.  The individual graffitist, likely overcome with a case of the giggles, risked their buzz and their academic record to climb askew this billboard near Spadina and Dupont in downtown Toronto to make this witless, omni sexual statement.  I’m sure it was funny at the time, but the next day the message probably wasn’t as funny to this section of Toronto’s homosexual community, nor the billboard advertiser who had to clean this vandalism up, post haste.  Of course, now that we know that the billboard was neither a Pattison, nor a ClearChannel, we are left to suspect not an inebriated college student, but, instead, a “hired gun” working for one of these two competitors.  I’m leaning towards a ClearChannel consultant because I’m living near San Antonio, Texas, and I’m aware of the ignorance of the May Family and the after-effects their brand of social “leadership” produce in neighborhoods and “heezies” all over town.  I put nothing past a family that “proudly” supported the presidential aspirations of George W. Bush not once, but twice.

Submission number four, five days and holding, is just a vacation photograph from Southeast Asia.  Everyone loves to ride the elephants and loves to watch the way these Thai boys command the respect and obedience of these large, but not Africanized, elephants as they cruise leisurely through the jungle.

Something went terribly wrong in this photograph because the bull elephant at the rear of the caravan decided to ride the female elephant just in front of it.  Insertion was accomplished to the smile of the female elephant and the horror of the middle aged woman riding atop this four-legged estrogen factory.

Noteworthy, other than the size of the bull elephant’s member, is the look of success and amusement on the face of the young male patron riding atop the successful bull of the caravan.  One would think that a healthy amount of fear, or at least caution, would be in order; however, the young vacationing male, perhaps an aficionado of fine “Jackass” outtakes, almost adopts the bull elephant’s mating success as his own.  Note to self: inspect the genders of the elephants in any caravan of these mammals and ensure that any females with engorged, oozing vulvae are avoided entirely.  As much fun as these elephants might be having together, they could easily ruin the fun of any mortal human that gets between them.  Permanently.

I have to stretch this week’s coiffure to five simply because it is so reminiscent of last week’s number four.  This week, the parent of a middle schooler responded to a teacher’s request for acknowledgement and waiver for a field trip to a geological museum by spewing all manner of fundamentalist Christian nonsense about the world being only 6,000 years old and the Earth having been created in a mere seven days by the Master of the Omniverse.

Some people should not be allowed to raise children.  There, I said it.

So consumed with fear and loathing that their world will soon come to a glorious and pious ending featuring the vaunted Jesus of Nazareth gliding towards them on a cloud, that these people are making their own children mentally ill.  No room for interpretation or metaphor exists for these people as they waste no time witnessing to everyone who crosses their path of their intention to leave this world in one, big, vacuous and righteous, “poof,” known as the Great Rapture.

Visit this site and prepare yourself for Rapture, Christians.  The sooner, the better.

Arrogance and waste were the backbeat this week, gentle readers, with a strong aftertaste of misunderstanding.  I recall the only time I came home with head lice as a kid, and my father hit the ceiling.  Gene the Barber was mortified.  It was my mother’s fault, my fault – everyone’s fault but my father’s.  That’s how I learned just how devastating and damaging an emotion guilt can become.  My father had taken all the shame of growing up poor and Polish and turned it into seizures of guilt that would stalk him like a hungry lion for the rest of his life.  The thought never occurred to anyone that, perhaps, head lice weren’t anyone’s fault.  That maybe, just maybe, we humans unconsciously call these little creatures from out of nowhere as a way of bringing us closer together, as a way of bringing us a different perspective on our shared responsibility for and to each other.  I know I never felt closer to my mother than when she actually reciprocated all the attention I have given her as a child when I combed her hair, as she was combing every strand of my hair with a fine toothed comb, as she was endlessly shampooing my hair, my sister’s hair and washing our bedding every day for two solid weeks.  All this just to prove that we were, “different” from all those “poor niggers” across town – like being black around a bunch of white people was something black people should be grateful for even while we were supposed to detest every waking moment of the experience of being anywhere close enough to them to contract head lice.  Lice didn’t jump from one head to another; it was a disease that we contracted because we were supposed to be allergic to being poor. 

When did being black in America equate to being a pariah?  That’s a good question captured inside a very stupid, almost rhetorical line of inquiry.

For me it happened when I was hauled out of my best friend’s house on Sunday morning just as they were making “hotcakes” – French toast at our house and at every white person’s house I ever knew growing up.  My father, a native of Philadelphia, had no problem yelling at me from their front stoop that I needed to get my ass out of there, and then yanking me up by my tiny arm and slapping my ass a nasty shade of red all the way home.  I wouldn’t be able to attend the local barbershop, and certainly I couldn’t be seen at our shared place of worship, if I spent any time at all around those black people down the street.  City of Brotherly Love, indeed.

Suppose we actually understood what everything in this life was for…. 

Oh, wait a minute — that’s been our problem all along.  So shame equals guilt and guilt equals inadequacy and no matter how large your male member becomes, an ounce of guilt buys you a ticket to an impoverished state of perpetual misery where no matter how much money you make or power you acquire, the hole in your chest only gets deeper.  Wider.  More painful.  And then, one day, it beats no more.  The hole swallows itself.

Getting a haircut, for real, is serious business; as serious as the state license my eyes would always fix on while the razor buzzed and the scissors snipped.  No amount of athletic agility, depraved indifference, mastery over one’s environment, abject goofiness or obedience to the dictates of an imaginary cloud being is going to change the truth of any matter.  Nor will my understanding of truth make the hole in my heart hurt any less.

Thank whatever God you believe in that it’s just a haircut.

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4 thoughts on “The Barbershop Diaries, Volume I, Issue 2: The South Will Rise Again — After This Word From Our Sponsor

  1. Pingback: Barbershop Diaries, Volume I, Issue 2 « C O T O

  2. I guess Travis Pastrana is not the motocross kiddo who just killed himself in from of his admiring family in Central America? Clearly natural selection is still at work, even if it’s had to adopt newer methods.

    • Dood…that was Jeremy Lusk. And he knew better than to try that trick in competition. He’d tried it before, failed, and was “afraid” of it. So much so that he didn’t attempt it for months afterward.

      That is not a trick a person should be attempting. If it’s not second nature, it’s a waste of time. It’s suicide.

      Pastrana has his whole backyard set up to condition himself (his muscles, his eyesight, his inner ear — everything) for pulling off these maneuvers in a safe manner. Before he tries anything live, he’s practiced the move hundreds of times with harnesses, padding and so forth.

      I don’t know what Lusk’s training is like, but the mental training required was clearly lacking. A twinge of fear is nothing. The blast of the horns of angels means back the flock off.

      Some people cannot accept their limitations. They want everything right away. They want natural born gifts, but whine when they hit walls.

      I feel for the Lusk family and for the sport. Someone needs to grab these kids by the nape of the neck (because NO ONE in media or advertising appears to want to) and carry on a series of one-way communications.

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