Tonsorial Tale

July 13, 2009

Over the years I’ve learned to let silence invite candor. So people sometimes tell me more than they should, or more than I want to hear. Today, the guy cutting my hair mentioned how fast my eyebrows grow. Then he volunteered that his eyebrows have always been too sparse. Except for two adjacent hairs off to the side, like an island. His word, not mine. He said the hairs grew abnormally long.

There was a pause, as if the barber hoped I would ask how long. I didn’t but pictured the hairs jutting out an inch or so then succumbing to gravity and drooping to his mouth. He remained quiet, and I was thinking the subject was closed. That’s when he described the hairs to be inseparable twins. His friends. But his wife hated them. One night he awoke when she plucked them out.

In his voice I detected not animosity but befuddlement, even though the plucking apparently happened years ago. “And you know what?” the barber asked, turning the scissors on my eyebrows. “They never grew back.”