"That's it!" I said, half to myself, and half to the cat. "It's a clear sign Jesus wants me to go cut my filthy hippie hair." After a brief stop to the ATM for to make with the cash-withdrawing, it was off to local Davis Square Barber Shop, the one with the faded pictures of Davis Square asitusedtabe in the window. Funny, even though the placard in the door claims it's open Mondays til 4:30, at 3:00 PM it was closed up tighter than a chastity metaphor.
"Well, that's that," I said, half to myself and half to passers-by. "It's a clear sign Jesus didn't really want me to cut my filthy hippie hair after all today. Gee, I wish he'd make up his mind one way or the other."
I really shouldn't be too surprised; some Davis establishments like to set their hours of operation and then gleefully ignore 'em. Nick's Roast Beef likes to just not open some days. Some times they even take a moment to scrawl a quick sign in the window. Other times you wonder how much longer it'll be before the venerable establishment is, once again, under New New Management.
I should also point out here that while I could have just as easily found some ritzy-titzy hair salon for which to plunk myself down into, I didn't want to. Hair is cut so infrequently these days that when it happens, it has to happen in one of two situations: either in an actual factual barbershop with the old guys and the blue stuff they dip the combs in and the reading up on baseball one has to do before setting foot in the place, or by a loving girlfriend with a pair of scissors and good intentions. The latter being right out, as Baby Bush has a better chance of getting a Nobel Peace Prize than I have ever going out with anyone again, I turn to the barbershop for the ear-lowering. Only today I was denied even that, so with a couple bucks burning a hole in my pocket, it was time to use that haircut money to fund books.
I'm beginning to like the Harvard Bookstore more and more, especially their nice downstairs area. Today my haul was a pip: two biographies of Walter Winchell (one written well after his passing, and one sensationalistic account first published in 1953, where the author describes his "beating by thugs" and other atrocities visited upon his person in an effort to suppress the Shockingly True details which you, the lucky reader, are about to witness -- but better check behind the curtains before you do!)
I also snagged Jimmy Breslin's excellent biography of Damon Runyon, which I am plowing through first because it's unputtable downable. Breslin strives to write as breezily and underworldly as Runyon did, though in the third person instead of the first person present, and (being a newspaperman himself) slavishes much attention and love to the descriptions of the newsrooms of the day and the characters that populated them. I fear that if I keep on reading I too shall dispense with the contractions for good, and adopt the very cadence of the Broadway men whom Runyon befriended. I am just getting to the part where he begins to meet said Broadway men, and I eagerly await his introduction to Otto Berman, one of the unfortunate souls who went down with Dutch Schultz in that spectacular ruckus in the Palace Chop House.
Interesting Fact from the Book #1: The character of Sky Masterson was, in part, modeled after the notorious lawman and gambler Bat Masterson, whom Runyon hung around both in Colorado and New York City.
All in all not a bad haul for a haircut's worth of money, and the extra-budgeted burger at Bartley's was, as usual, delicious. I am glad I have learned how to eat a medium rare burger one-handed, including placing the burger down and picking up the napkins and wiping my face nicely clean, so that the other hand can keep the book open on the table. Spilling soda on some of the pages is, of course, a bonus.