A normal barber shop gives life to this story. One wouldn’t think it at first, but the local barbershop, with all its gossip and jesting, creates a perfect blend of the marvelous and mundane; the fascinating and the normal!
More than beards are trimmed in these sorts of places! Truth itself, even when offered in language that suggests universal importance, seldom escapes an appointment! Grand ideas slip in among conversations about football and women and weave through the room even as the barber’s scissors weave themselves through customer’s hair. If they are not stopped, they’ll list silently out of the building without causing any harm.
But occasionally these ideas land on a mind seeped in inner longing and they catch hold.
Jonathan, or “Joe Nathan” as everyone called him, had been waiting his turn quietly, with glazed eyes. “How ’bout ya today buddy?” asked the barber. “You kind’o quiet over there!”
Jonathan looked up, temporarily roused from his stupor, but before he could gather his thoughts, one of the patrons added: “Aw leave ‘im alone! You need to focus on that hair cut you’re givin’ or you’ll do a worse job than you normally do!” Everyone in the shop laughed.
“Hey, buddy! I got a whole list of other barber shops ’round hea’ and got the directions to ’em too!”
“Well, we need ta go somewheres that does a decent job! I bet they’re a lot cheaper’n you are!”
“Hey, buddy, that’s right, you’re gettin’ a quality hair-cut here, I’m tellin’ ya! Aint nothing like it anywhere! I been cuttin’ hair for 40 years! I even cut his daddy’s hair!” said the barber, as he pointed at Jonathan.
“Sho am sorry to hear your daddy passed away, buddy…”
Jonathan had gotten used to these sorts of conciliatory statements and appreciated the man for offering them.
“…aint dat right?” chimed in one of the patrons. “We all gotta go sometime, aint no doubt about that! No doubt about that at all! No sir!”
“Oh, that’s right” chimed in another, “…and somethin’ else to, I’ll tell ya. You gotta pay them taxes!”
“Oh, you got that right buddy” said the barber! “Only two things in this life you can know for sure, aint it? You gunna die, and you gunna pay them taxes!”
“But why must one do either?” thought Jonathan…as a grand idea settled into his mind. His father had succumbed to both death and taxes. Each had managed to rob dignity from a man he had loved so much! Jonathan was obsessed with the humiliation involved — the cruel application of life’s fingers around the neck of his beloved father! “What right did nature have to steal him away? A disgusting group of bureaucrats had planted their filthy hands into the wallets of men everywhere!”
The two villains were linked! Jonathan finally saw it! If he could defy the one, he could escape the other!
“I’ll prove you gentlemen wrong!” he cried. This uncharacteristic outburst elicited a round of laughter from the men.
“I’ll live forever!”
In a fit of excitement and energy, he jumped from his chair and ran out of the shop. “Well, now aint that something?” asked the barber, “he didn’t even wait to get his hair cut!”
No one heard from Jonathan for months afterwards. It was like he had disappeared.