Not making a difference since 2006. Blog motto: Always be sincere whether you mean it or not.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Don't try this at home. No really, run with scissors, but don' try this.

Got this originally from Dennis Mangan's The Deep Value Investor blog and then went to the story at the sight freemoney finance freemoney finance to read the article "Money Saving Tip: Cut Your Own Hair and Save a Bundle". Being the voice of humility and proud of it, I would never go out on a limb and make a ruling ex cathedra in a cavalier manner. Here I am on solid ground. This is a stupid idea. No, really, this is a stupid idea. Dennis and freemoney finance state the guy netted out $64,000 from doing this over the years. I assume it is the net of investing the savings, but we shall never know as the original source blog link to Uncle Jack is gone. I am assuming Uncle Jack finally looked in the mirror and never regained consciousness.

The freemoney finance blogger crows that as he shaves his head, he is already doing this. Okay, if you shave your head you are saving the dough and building up your retirement nestegg. Making a virtue of necessity is not something we humilitarians sneer at, and if one suffers from male pattern baldness, it is an ill wind that blows no good. Of course your man claims he does it because he likes the style and I would too if I were him, as humility does not preclude the horrible fault of vanity.

The first entry in the comments section says it all:

"8 - Total number of times I've tried cutting my own hair.

2 - Times I put large bald-spots on my head by accident while cutting my own hair.

4 - Times I've had to visit the barber to fix a bad haircut I gave myself.

1 - Number of times I gave myself a semi-decent haircut.

1 - Number of times I've had to take off all my hair because I messed up so bad.

Moral of story: Make sure you're expert with scissors and trimmers and extraordinarily coordinated before cutting your own hair!

Thanks to the miracle of blog anonymity, I am now able to deal with the horrible abuse that went on in my family. My mother cut my hair. Of course, you say, the childhood cannot have been all that bad if this was the worst thing that ever happened to you. It is true, mom never locked me in the closet with a radio locked on the oldies station (true, I'm old enough to be from a time when there were no oldies stations). I was an annoying kid and tried her patience no end and if this was the worst thing she ever tried, she probably deserves the posthumous nobel prize for forbearance.

Yeah, well you never went under her clippers. Al, the barber I had been going to up the street, would get you into the chair and out before you knew it and you never felt a thing. In fact, he was so fast, you were a bit upset that you were called to the chair so quickly and had to put down the slightly racy magazine you were reading (it was there I first learned the word, hermaphrodite). Of course this was a time before American men went to salons and no one ever considered getting a hair style like Japanese Prime Minister Koziumi.

Then mom got the bright idea to save money by cutting my dad's hair and mine. She never even suggested my sisters because I'm sure she knew that the Department of Social Services would descend on her immediately once my siblings were seen at large. A near bald son is one thing, two sisters with no hair in the late 50s would have been quite another.

My father could take anything and he would sit in the chair and patiently endure the unendurable (in the words of Emperor Hirohito) without a word. then I would be called to the chair, told to hold the sheet tight and sit still. I swear, I could have jumped up and down with Al and he would never have noticed enough to interrupt his lecture on politics to one of the adult customers. Move a nanometer with my mother and you would have her indicting you for a war crime.

And the itch. Al would put the sheet around you and fasten a clip and never a hair would get under it. Mom had no clip and by the time you were done, you had accumulated enough hair to make any medieval monk jealous because he had it too easy with his hair shirt.

Now, I mentioned that Al was speedy with the clippers. Well, mom wasn't It took forever and when I finally darted out of the chair and ran out, to feel itchy for the rest of the day I can still remember her last words, "It wouldn't have taken so long if you would sit still."

When I was earning money and could pay far the cutting, that torture ended. I think my mother's feelings were hurt by my disloyalty. I have a guilty conscience, as I did disregard the feelings of others as a child, but in this matter, nope. Memories of all the many wonderful things mom did, especially the exquisite meals she cooked are with me a lot, but those days of torture in an uncomfortable stool are the more indelible, even though I know she suffered with arthritic hands and it was no picnic for her. Even the knowledge that her thrift put three kids through college and provided us with a comfortable, if not opulent, childhood does not dim the small spirited memories of an ungrateful son.

My one consolation is that, unlike my sisters, she never made any of my clothes. It was common practice in those days of the near universal stay at home mom to buy fabric and patterns and sew their daughters dresses. The one boy I knew whose mom made his shirts suffered no end of what were, to be polite, adverse comments.

So fair warning, if you are ever reported for your kids' bad haircuts and brought to the bar of justice, I stand ready to testify as an expert witness, and not for the defense.

I am going to monitor freemoney as I am sure eventually to see tips like, "Be your own undertaker and direct your own and family members' funerals."


franjan said...

Richard - I had no idea that there were other people out there with the same problem as me!! I have lost count of the number of times I have gone to the hairdressers in the hope that they can remedy a bad haircut inflicted by my own pair, of what has now become, rather blunt scissors. Unfortunately the skin head approach is not so acceptable for a woman!! I also have to admit to being a mother who cut both my boys' hair, my daughter's and my husband's. The 'males' in the family still come to me rather than visit the barber so I can't have made such a bad job - I would hate to think they viewed it as abuse!!!

tvoh said...


The boys are giving you a vote of confidence and you should be happy with that.

I admire your courage in continuing to cut your own hair, but is that not, as they say, like remarriage after a bad first go, "The triumph of hope over experience."

franjan said...

Learning from experience can be a lifelong lesson that comes in many guises. Unfortunately experience tells me all too often that I can trust my own blunt scissors more than some of the clueless hairdressers out there. A jaundiced view, I know, but I live in hope of finding one who has a real talent. Oh to be a man who can have number 8 all over and look more than acceptable!!

tvoh said...

Your braver than I am.