If you’re receiving this note, it means that you are my new barber and/or hairdresser. First off, congratulations. You may not realize this, but you have passed a rigorous screening and background check. That’s something to feel very proud about.
Second, I hope you’re looking forward to this process as much as I am. I’m very excited to work together with you on creating the best haircut possible for me. I think, together, we can really do something special here.
Instead, of rushing through a discussion of what I’d like done with my hair just before the haircut, itself, I figured I’d write down some thoughts for you to fully digest before our appointment later this week.
Here are some feelings I’d like this haircut to convey:
- Bold self-awareness
- Attention to the past paired an enlightened optimism re: the future
I understand that these are simply words at this point. None of this will take final shape until we see the fully-realized haircut in action. I mean, neither of us can guess exactly what people will think when they look at this haircut. If we could control that, we’d rule the world. But, we can encourage. We can prod. We can guide.
I guess what I want this haircut to ultimately do is inspire others to be the best selves they can be. That’ll require both an eye on detail and attentiveness to the greater overall vision. Some would say your focus should be the minutiae and implementation, while I should handle big picture goals. Well, that might be okay for standard, everyday trims. But, I’m not looking for an employee; I want a partner. Let’s roll up our sleeves. Let’s spitball ideas. Really dig into the greater issues surrounding this haircut.
For instance, we both know that a haircut is not a static artifact. From the moment any single hair is snipped, it becomes an ever-changing dynamic aesthetic element, both in its kinetic movement and in its literal growth. A breeze, a jaunty step, the ticking of the clock---a haircut is literally different from one second to the next. And, planning can only account for so much of the ultimate form and function of a hairstyle. That’s why we need to be light on our feet.
Included in this envelope, you’ll find some additional materials to look over. It’s a few rough charcoal sketches and some magazine clippings. Don’t worry; none of these reference other, existing haircuts. I wouldn’t insult you as like that.
It’s more a style guide or a mood chart---photos of the Acropolis, gouaches of limestone sea caves, an interesting essay on fractals and their relationship to contemporary origami. Don’t worry about memorizing any of it; just be familiar with some of the concepts before our pre-haircut phone call.
Speaking of, can you send me your availability for a quick Skype conference about this? I want to bring in a couple of other creative types I know for a brainstorming session. There’s a Google document where you can sign up for any of the three-hour blocks. I mean, ideally, I’d like you involved with all of the sessions, but I understand that you’ll need time to sharpen you scissors and test your combs and such.
Again, I’m really excited about this, and I hope you are as well. If you need to reach me for any reason, there’s a list of my various phone and fax numbers in Section C of the attached documents. Don’t hesitate to call or email any time, day or night.
All the best,
Andrew "Andy" Ross
I’m sorry to say this, but it’s too late in life for me to learn what charcuterie means.
Please don’t try to define the word. There’s no room left in my brain for it. Believe me, people have tried to explain what charcuterie means before. It doesn’t stick.
All I know is that it has something to do with yuppie dinner parties and grocery stores that used to be banks. Or something like that. General fanciness maybe? If I had to guess, I would say charcuterie meant a place that serves high end hot chocolate. But, then again, something about the vowel sounds suggests pickles for some reason. That’s about as far as I can get before my memory starts throwing up defenses.
For example, last time I sat down to look up charcuterie on wikipedia, my brain was like, “Hey, before you do that, maybe you should double-check if you remember your online banking password.” So, I went to log in to my bank, and I could just barely remember my password. I think the implied threat from my subconscious was that if I learn one more unnecessary word definition, I’m going to lose an important memory. My bank password, for instance. Just for instance.
Listen, it’s a noble effort, you trying to teach me what charcuterie means. It is, and I love you for it. But, I just can’t. I’m sorry. “No room in the inn.” “I am stuffed.” “The straw that broke the camel’s back.” All that stuff.
I’m sure it would be great to go through life learning more and more words---having the world open up before you like the inside of a geode. Tiny nuances of meaning and thought coalescing to form an intricate, crystalline cultural landscape full of beauty and unmitigated understanding. But, did you see how many fancy words I just used? That’s all I’ve got in me. Believe me, if I tried to throw “charcuterie” in there somewhere, it would have fucked everything up.
Guys, we’re just going to have to come to terms with the idea that I can only handle a finite number of terms and ideas.
So, whatever new word you’re excited to tell me---inchoate, recondite, alacrity, onanisme---it would literally go in one ear and out the other. By the way, I’m a little hazy on what the word “literally” means. It’s the same as metaphorically, right?
You know, it doesn’t really matter at this point.
Hello, Kristie, is it? Welcome to Playboy. I’ll be your photographer, Donald.
Oh, it says in your file that this is your first time posing nude. Well, don’t be nervous. Nothing to worry about. Actually, full disclosure, this is my first time photographing a nude model. I just got hired on Friday. So, let’s agree to not be nervous together, shall we? Alright.
You can go ahead and take off your robe while I check the lighting over... Oh my golly. What is--- Are those your underpants? Goodness, those are very... something. Did wardrobe give you those? No, they’re yours? Even with all lace bits and the strappy thingies? Well, gosh, that’s... holy moly.
Uhhhh, okay. Why don't you get on the bed there. Careful not to--- no, you got it.
I’m just going to take a few test shots with your underclothes on, so that the both of us can get more comfortable with this whole business. So, that is what I'm doing now.
I am taking pictures.
Taking photographs, because I am a photographer.
Hey, Kristie? Hi. Try to make your face kinda, um, sexual. Sensual? I don’t know. Like, maybe you want to--- Nope you got it. That’s good what you're doing there with your mouth and stuff. Good job, buddy.
Sorry, buddy is the wrong word. Sorry. I'm just gonna pick up this light I knocked over.
Alright, whenever you're ready, you can unhook your top thingy. That’s right---your bra. That’s what it’s called. Take your time; I don't want to rush--- Oh boy, you just took that right off. You just... Um, alright. Okay. Umm... I should probably take more pictures if that's okay with you.
Please, if you could tilt your chin up, please. Thank you very thank you. And, could you please turn your top parts towards the camera. That's right; those parts.
Um, yeah, so it would be good for the pictures if you put your hands near your booooo... your breaa... your bosoms. For the photographs, could you kinda touch your bosomy parts? Again, this is for the pictures. This isn’t like a personal request or anything.
Phew, okay, we got that. I think these pictures are gonna be real nice so far. And, I guess it's time to take off the rest of what you’re wearing. Your bottoms.
Gosh, there they go. That has happened.
I'm just going to change film here. Oh, that’s right; this is a digital camera. Look at that. I knew that. Why did I think this was a film camera? Ha ha, that weird.
Whoa! That's your tushy. Your backside, I mean. Your buuuu... your bum. It's just right there. Out in the open. I should probably take a picture of that, I guess. That's my job, after all. This is my job. Taking pictures of naked ladies is my job. Okay.
It’s very hot in here. Are you sweating? No? I’m sweating.
Wow, y’know what? I need to go get a glass of water. Would you like a glass of water? Maybe some ice tea? I’m going to bring you some ice tea. Just wait here.
I’m actually feeling a little bit feint, so I’m gonna be over here in the corner breathing into this paper bag. No no no. Keep doing what you’re doing though. You’re doing great. Everything is just great. Phew, okay.
Thanks for your understanding. I hope you’re enjoying your first shoot.
Hey, you guys, I just realized I've been running this celebrity gossip blog for well over a year without posting any actual celebrity gossip. Sorry about that. I must have gotten distracted. To make it up to you---my gossip-obsessed readers---I've got some really juicy scoops.
Really juicy. Like, super juicy. Juicier than you can imagine. Okay, so imagine the juiciest scoop you can imagine. Even juicier than that. That’s how juicy these scoops are gonna be. Are you sitting down? Are you seated? Because things are about to get juicy.
Blind item: Okay, now this one is really salacious. Super juicy. Ready? It turns out that a big time movie star, whom everybody thought was nice, it turns out he’s…
Wait, before I get to that, I feel like maybe I should explain why I haven’t been better about loading you up on celebrity gossip.
It’s hard being a professional celebrity gossipist. The pressure to get juicy scoops; the scarcity of the scoops, themselves; the public relations people constantly feeding you scoops that might seem juicy at first but aren’t actually juicy at all---it wears a person down.
I mean, just sifting and winnowing through all the would-be scoops day in and day out, deciding which ones are juicy… Is this scoop juicy enough? Is it too juicy? How juicy is too juicy? That’s a lot of responsibility.
Add to that the overhead costs of being a working gossip hound. There’s laptop upkeep and wifi access. There are bribery payments to loose-lipped doormen. There are constant cab rides, chasing celebrities around the city hoping to catch them doing something juicy. It adds up.
Plus, I don’t know if you guys realize this, but there’s an almost infinite amount of competition out there for the juicy scoops and only a finite number of celebrities to produce juiciness. I mean, it’s not like any old random person can become a celebrity. It’s not like you can get on television without any discernible talent or skill, make a fool of yourself, and suddenly be a celebrity.
I mean, if that were the case, folks would be chasing fame all the time. There would be an entire metropolis filled with soulless, beautiful automatons doing whatever it takes to become famous. They’d fabricate opportunities to be out in front of photographers. They’d make scenes at nightclubs. They’d shoplift or flash their undergarments or, worst of all, become DJs.
Can you imagine a world like that? It’d be terrible. We’d be flooded with all sorts of false juicy scoops every day until we forgot which were the real scoops were and which were just juiceless static.
Soon, with the fall of celebrity journalism, other kinds of journalism---political, business, scientific---would collapse. The rich and powerful would realize that the social narrative could be manipulated and manufactured. Juiciness would be replaced by faux juiciness, and we’d be too distracted to know the difference.
As Edward R. Murrow said: If every scoop is the juiciest, then no scoop is the juiciest.
It’s a horrific idea, I know. Let’s just be grateful that it’s not the case.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I believe I just saw a cable television persona/teenage mother buy Starbucks while wearing a see-through tank top and carrying an iguana. Time for a little investigative journalism…
Hey, you guys, if aliens land on Earth, can I call dibs on being their first contact? Sure, I bet scientists and politicians would scramble to be first in line, but I think I could do a better job, and I'll tell you why.
One, I wouldn't make it such a big deal. My guess is that aliens would be weirded out by a lot of pomp and circumstance. Instead of flags and fancy handshakes and junk, I'd be all like, "Hey, dudes, pop a squat on that ottoman. I'll go grab us some cold ones." And, I bet the aliens would be like, "Awesome, yeah. This guy's got a cool apartment. Look at that dope Pearl Jam poster."
Two, I wouldn't be all up their asses about advanced technology. You send a scientist in as first contact, and he'd be like, "Spaceship spaceship spaceship!" Yeah, I mean, we'd get to that stuff eventually, but you gotta ease into it. I'd be like, "So, what are you guys into? Music? Or just chilling out? Cool. Cool. So, like, does your spaceship run on crazy powerful crystals or something? Do you have any extra of those?"
And, then we’d get to live on a world where everything’s run on crystals and everybody has Segways and stuff. Y’know why? Because I wouldn’t be pushy about it.
Where are we at? Three?
Three, if shit goes down, I know how to handle myself. Like, say these alien dudes are interested in world domination and kidnapping folks for butt probing.
See, if the military were there, they be all like, "LAUNCH THE NUKES!" at even the first sign of lasers or anal probers. Whoa whoa whoa, there's no need for nukes. My buddy, Herc, tries this kinda shit all the time, so I have experience in these areas. (Totally true. Whenever Herc gets wasted, he always grabs dudes and tries sticking his finger up the backs of their shorts. He’s laughing when he does it, but I think there’s something else there, too.)
But, instead of needing the military, I could just be like, "I got this," and whip out some kung fu shit. Just go total Roadhouse on those aliens. I'd be like, "POW CHOP PA-POW, WHAMMO!" And, they be all, "Oww, oooh, ugh! My big, gray head!"
Ask Tommy. He's seen me do it to a guy once who was messing with a girl at the Quik Trip.
Then, when the aliens are sitting on the curb, rubbing their sore heads or whatever, I'd hand them a cold brew, and I'd be like, " Sorry I had to put you guys in your place. But, you get that you pulled a dick move, right? Are we cool?"
And, they’d be like, “Yeah. Sorry we tried to invade you guys. We learned our lesson.”
Part four... Uh, okay, so everything so far has assumed these aliens were the little gray dudes who may or may not be into planetary conquering and/or butt science. Instead, if these aliens are the sexy green lady kind of aliens, I also call dibs on first contact.
For that I’m gonna need some supplies---candles, chocolate-covered cherries, maybe some scented oils from Spencer’s Gifts. I’m kinda low on cash right now, so do you think the U.N. Nations would chip in to buy those things? They’re in charge of UFO landing stuff, right?
Can you do me a solid and call and ask them? I don’t really know anybody at the U.N. Nations, and I think it’d be weird if I just called them up asking for money for sex stuff. Anyway, let me know if you hear back from them.
I’m really excited about this first contact stuff. I think it’s gonna turn out really great.
I wouldn't say I'm drunk with power. No, I'm not drunk with power. A little tipsy with power, yes. But not drunk.
I don't have enough power to be drunk with power. Believe me, I know my limit. It takes at least two or three times this amount of responsibility and say-so for me to go on a full-on power bender. But, sure, I've got a power buzz going. I'm feeling pretty good right now. Feeling good.
Like, for instance, I would not make you hand me your stapler and then throw it away just to prove that I could. I wouldn't do that. I might borrow your stapler and “forget” to return it. I can easily see myself doing that at my current level of power intoxication. That sounds like me. Yes, siree.
Yes, maybe I'm a bit smilier. Maybe I've got a skosh more jaunt to my step. A moderate amount of power will do that to a man. But, I swear I know my limit.
Here, look---I'm touching my nose and walking a straight line. I'm not forcing an underling touch my nose for me. If I were doing that, I'd be that first person to admit that I might need to cut back on power.
Am I being mean to the mailroom guy? No. Am I demanding people avert their eyes in the elevator? No. Am I making the interns go get me coffee? Yes. Yes, I am doing that. Like I said, I’m slightly buzzed on power.
Excuse me one sec. I gotta answer my phone. Don't go anywhere.
Hello? Frank! Franky Frank, how you livin', you ol’ ziplock bag of crap? I'm just kidding. How’s Marie? What? No, you’re not interrupting anything important. Are we still on for racquetball Thursday? Sure sure. Ha! You’re goddamn right I am. Alright, I’ll see you then. Slap Marie on the ass for me. Ha ha, no, you’re gay.
Now, what was I saying? Oh yeah, maybe I might be a tiny bit drunk with power. Maybe a tiny lil’ bit. But, if I can admit that I'm drunk on power, can you please admit that your face looks like a rabbit? Can we admit that?
Admit it, or you're fired.
Whoa, I'm having the most intense deja vu right now. It feels like all this has happened before. Remember last week, when I said I was experiencing deja vu? This feels exactly like that.
Remember? Last Tuesday, you were sitting over there, and I was right here, and I said, “Whoa, I'm having the most intense deja vu right now. Everything feels like it’s all happened before.” Am I crazy, or does this feel exactly like that? Super weird.
Of course, last week I was referring to a feeling of deja vu from two weeks ago, when I had really strong deja vu at the library. You were with me then, too. Remember? I was in the library talking about deja vu and... Holy moly, this is weird. Do you think we’re stuck inside some kind of time loop? Like Groundhog’s Day?
Wow, intense. It seems like every time we get together, you start talking about planning your wedding, and then I mention feeling deja vu about having felt deja vu during our previous visit, when you were also talking about planning your wedding.
I mean, what are the odds that I would always experience the same, recurring deja vu about feeling deja vu? And, that it would always interrupt you blathering on about how stressful it is to plan a wedding? It’s not like we could be having the same exact conversation every time we’ve seen each other for the past seven months since you got engaged. That’d be too extreme of a coincidence. Right?
Wait, where are you going? Are you stomping away in a huff? Again? Weird. Deja vu.
Alright, new guys, I'm running low on nicknames, so you're gonna have to take whatever's left. I'm sorry, but I've met a lot of people in my life, and I've given every single one of them a nickname. The choices are kinda slim at this point.
Speaking of slim---you are tall and slender. I've already used up Slim, Beanpole, and Skinny Steve. I guess I'll have to call you... Obelisk. Which is also something tall and thin. You're welcome.
You nickname will be StrongJaw.
Yours will be Mr. Magoo. No, wait; I have a Mr. Magoo. Your nickname will be Squints. No wait, Pinchface McSquints. That’s more appropriate.
You’ll be Gomer.
You will be Goober.
Your nickname will be The Old Goat. I like your white beard and your vigor in chewing gum, by the way.
You're going to be called Banana Hands.
Your nickname will be Turkey Bacon. Because you have hands the size of a bunch of bananas, and you smell like turkey bacon.
Your nickname is going to be... No Glasses Guy. Because you look like a guy I worked with named Glasses Guy, except without his glasses. Do you wear contacts? No? Good.
You'll be named Fat Steve. I already have a Skinny Steve, and need to balance that out. I hope you understand, Fat Steve.
You will be nicknamed Guy-Next-to-Fate-Steve.
You---wear this beret for a second. Alright, your nickname from now on is Pierre. Never take off that beret, or I might forget your name.
You will be Barnum.
You will be Blue Shirt.
Your nickname will be FaceDude.
You will be nicknamed Bowie, because you are David Bowie. It's an honor to meet you, Mr. Bowie. I'm a huge fan of your music.
You shall be Blue Shirt Number Two.
Alright, all the rest of you who haven’t gotten nicknames yet, wait here. I am going to go grab a thesaurus and some name tags. Bowie, you can go. I’m sure you’re very busy being David Bowie.
Be back in a sec. Hold down the fort, FaceDude.
I might not be the best babysitter, but that you would accuse me of losing your child simply because I can’t find your child at this very second---well, that hurts me.
First off, I just woke up, so I’m a little groggy. You can’t expect me to pull together every detail about an entire night of babysitting the moment you guys wake me up on your pool table.
Second, I feel like maybe I was set up to fail on this one. Because, your child is very small. It could be in this room with us right now, and we wouldn’t know. It could be under the couch, or it could be inside an over-sized vase, or it---
Pardon? Yes, I’ll stop calling your child “it.” She, alright? If labels are so important to you, she’s a she. She could fit into nearly any empty space in the house. The dishwasher for instance. Or the inside a piece of luggage.
Thirdly, why are you so worried about where your daughter is? Are you guys helicopter parents or something? Y’know, that kind of constant, hovering attention can really screw a kid up.
Fourthly, there are a ton of reasonable explanations as how I might not know where your daughter is at this precise moment:
Maybe we were playing hide-n-seek, and she cheated by crushing an Ambien into my scotch.
Maybe there was a tornado, and I told her to climb under the pool table for safety, and then I got up on top of the table to bat away any falling debris, and I got hit on the head in a heroic attempt to save your child’s life. And, now I have that type of amnesia that heroes have in movies.
Maybe an evil stepmother you didn’t invite to the christening came and put a sleeping spell on me and turned your daughter invisible. Did you ever think of that?
Any of those things could have happened. There’s literally no way we can know… AH HA! There she is! See? She’s poking out from inside the awesome fort we made! Now I remember that we made an awesome fort and pretended it was a castle, and she asked if she could sleep in there. I promised to keep watch for monsters from an elevated position, which is the pool table. Boom, that’s what happened.
See, I told you I’d remember once you gave me a minute to wake and for the scotch to wear off. So, who looks foolish now?
What do you mean, “That’s the neighbor’s kid.” That’s not your daughter? Well, that’s the kid I’ve been playing with all night. If that’s the neighbor’s kid, then where’s your daughter?
Hey, Debra, thanks so much for having me at this party. It's been a lot of fun.
Uh… I guess I should probably explain my appearance. I had thought this was a costume party. And, actually, it's kind of weird that no one noticed I was dressed up as Harry Potter.
I mean, what does it say about me that I came to a party filled with my closest friends, and nobody thought twice about me wearing a cloak and glasses? Am I trying too hard to get attention in life? Am I the guy who wears a cloak to a normal, non-costume party?
The invitation said to “dress up.” Does that not mean costumes? To me, that means “wear a costume.”
When I first got here, I assumed everyone else's costumes were just super subtle. Like, I thought Phil was dressed as Where's Waldo. But, then it turned out that his wife had bought him a new shirt. Which explains why he looked at me funny when I said, “There you are! There’s Waldo!”
When I finally realized that I was the only one dressed up, I got really confused as to why nobody was calling me out on it. I mean, sure, people were giving me a hard time, but no harder of a time than normal.
Was everyone ignoring me being in costume on purpose? Was it a prank? Like a “don’t encourage him” kind of thing. But, it wasn’t that. People genuinely didn’t seem to notice that I was dressed as a boy wizard. So, I started dropping hints. Like saying lines from the Harry Potter movies and pretending to cast a spell on the punch bowl. But, nothing. People honestly didn't realize I was in costume. Honestly, that's fucked up!
It's not just that you guys are unobservant, which you clearly are. I mean, let's share some of the blame here. But, more importantly, it says something about me. It's says that I'm that guy.
I always worried I was that guy. Somewhere in the back of my head, I knew I liked attention a little too much. And, part of me understood I have kind of a “goofy younger brother” thing going on. But, Jesus Christ, am I the guy that everyone just assumes is always wearing a costume? So, that when I actually do wear a costume, nobody notices?
I had a full-born panic attack about that when Charlie was blowing out his birthday candles. That’s why I was sitting on the coffee table with my head between my knees. I don’t think anybody saw me. Or maybe they did. Maybe they thought I was being my normal, weird self…
… It feels like the floor is dropping out from under me. I don’t mean to be a drama queen here. Am I a drama queen? I guess only a drama queen would ask that question.
So, yeah, I’m gonna head out. Maybe take some time to think about stuff. Maybe join an ashram or something. Unless that’s attention-seeking as well. It probably is …
Anyway, nice party. Tell Charlie happy birthday for me. G'night.