Rich the Mutilator
I got mutilated by a barber named Rich, and I don't mean my hair. Afterwards, I rebranded him Rich the Mutilator, a title only fitting for a man who all but made me weep in a swivel chair.
Rich is what I call a neurotic narrator. He has neurons in his brain that fire with such ferocity while he tells a story that it actually triggers involuntary jerks and jitters throughout his body. Some may simply see this as an affliction of enthusiasm, but it is inappropriate for certain professionals, namely barbers. Barbers who spend a lot of time with an electric razor. Barbers who administer a straight shave. Barbers who like to tell stories. You could say a haircut with Rich the Mutilator is like a chatty game of Russian Roulette, except you're the only player: it's when, not if.
In my case, the when came in triplicate. First, while sculpting my sideburns, Rich tweaked at the climax of a story about his high school basketball team and nicked my left ear. When a drip-sized preview of what was possibly to come began to warm my earlobe, I determined that the nick was more of a gash and that it surely called for notice. It received none, however, from my overly stimulated barber whose only concern was the proper telling of his tale, glitchy as it may be. I could not employ a Q-tip in my left ear for two subsequent weeks, a problem for someone who obsesses over wax-free hearing.
My attempt at silent and tear-free recovery from mutilation number one was curbed by a second mutilation that occurred when Rich got keyed up about a business trip to Brazil and allocated his excitement to the shaving of my extraneous neck hair. The burning sensation imparted by his spastic movements was accompanied by the firing of my own neurons which were constructing much gorier mental images of the straight razor he employed slicing open my jugular vein and spilling rich red blood all over the floor atop my discarded shards of hair.
The third mutilation, in complete contradiction with Rich's recent Arthritis diagnosis, came in the form of a complimentary massage that felt more like an attempt to obliterate every pressure point in my neck, back, and shoulders. I arose from my swivel chair trembling, scared; a Survivor. I departed without looking in the mirror because I was ashamed of the man that would have peered back, a man who, of his own volition, had chosen an abusive barber, a man who had just paid a mutilator to mutilate him. I thought it better to reflect this masochist back at home, where his guilt-ridden stare could be contemplated in private.
Physical evidence of mutilations one, two, and three was indeed unmistakable in my bathroom mirror. What gripped me, however, was something else. What caught my attention amongst the bloodstained earlobe, the red and tender neck, the cowering posture of my abused shoulders, was, ironically, my hair. From the ears down I looked like I had just gotten mugged, but the situation atop my head was truly stunning. I had received a fantastic haircut from Rich the Mutilator.
See, Rich the Mutilating Barber is clumsy, but talented. His haircuts are violent, but handsome. When it came time for my next haircut, I was as torn as the little piece of skin that dangled from my ear, but I eventually made the decision to return to Rich's barber shop and to his swivel chair, where he has maimed me each and every time since. And, each and every time since, I have received a better haircut than the last. Sometimes, the desired result only demands a little mutilation.