The holiday season is almost over. A Christmas Story has disappeared from your television. That station on your FM dial that’s been playing nothing but Christmas music since early November has gone back to playing your favorites from the 70s, 80s, 90s and today. All of the decorations are put away, unless of course you live in certain parts of Georgia and Alabama. In that case you’ve got another 5 or 6 weeks to check that one off the list.
Here’s my exegetical analysis of the holiday season that was.
The Holiday Haircut
I was 12 hours away from home and my hair was starting to make me look like a roadie for Winger circa 1988. I harmlessly stepped away from the family festivities and wandered in to one of those haircutting places that are especially catered to guys. This one was called Sport Clips. If you’ve never been in one it basically looks like the guy that designed your middle school locker room worked his magic on a Fantastic Sams or Great Clips. The only difference is that there are huge flat screens playing Sportscenter and tons of sports memorabilia from the local teams. In this case the local teams were the Washington Redskins, Nationals and Bullets/Wizzards. That is another way of saying that none of the posters hanging on the wall involved anything more recent than 1991. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so down on myself for being an Atlanta sports fan.
I sat in this huge waiting/locker room with a dozen or so other guys and we all alternated between looking at the giant flat screen and the floor. After about ten minutes my number was called by a woman in a referee shirt. This is the first problem I had with the alleged just for guys haircutting place. No respectable man likes referees. Even guys who are referees don’t care for referees. Why, then, would we want a referee cutting our hair? I’m starting to have some doubts about this place but I’ve already committed. It’s too late to make a run for the door.
On your way to your station you are asked if you want the MVP treatment. I had no idea what this meant, sort of like when I order at Starbucks.
“And sir, would you like that grande, tall or skinny?”
I told the lady I just wanted a plain, basic haircut. I think it was called the Junior Varsity or the Mighty Mite or the War Eagle. Something along those lines.
When you go to your chair Sportscenter is playing for you on your own flat screen. This idea looks good on paper but is a colossal failure in reality. The problem is that while you are trying to watch Sportscenter, the referee lady keeps trying to talk to you. In sports, you know that a referee is doing his job well when you don’t notice him. The same is true when that referee is trying to cut your hair. If there’s one thing a guy hates, it’s trying to watch TV while some woman he doesn’t know is talking to him. I’m beginning to think that the lady that came up with the Sport Clips concept didn’t consult any guys during the planning phase of her idea.
When I was done I went back up front to pay and I couldn’t believe what I heard.
“That’ll be 24.95.”
Apparently, ESPN charges Sport Clips to play Sportscenter in their stores. The only men who pay this much money for a hair cut are members of Rascal Flatts or Flock of Seagulls. These may in fact be the same band. I’ll check on that and get back to you.
This experience has led me to explore the possibility of opening my own chain of barber shops designed especially for men. I’m calling it Shaky Fritz’s. Fritz will be a large, older man with no hair, one leg about 12 inches longer than the other and a nervous twitch. Everyone gets the same haircut, Fritz will probably smoke while administering said haircut and he’ll do all of the talking. There will also be two or three other gentlemen in the waiting area who haven’t needed a haircut for a good 20 years. They’re just there. Everyday. All haircuts will be $5.00. No television and no referee shirts.
If you know anyone named Fritz, let me know. No previous experience required.
The Holiday Shopping Experience
For the first time in my life I participated in Black Friday. I did this to save 50 bucks on a bike we were buying for our oldest kid. This Black Friday was held on Thanksgiving night at 10:00. I’m not sure what they call Black Friday when it’s held on a Thursday so I’ll just call this one Pepper Spray Thursday. The Pepper Spray Thursday I participated in was held at a Wal-Mart. This is important. If you walk into a Wal-Mart on a Tuesday afternoon in March at 2:15 about 80% of the customers will be
a.) wearing their pajamas.
b.) talking loudly to themselves.
c.) wanting to fight someone.
d.) All of the above.
You can imagine what Wal-Mart is like at 10:00 on a Thursday night.
My wife and I arrived about 30 minutes early, found the bike we were looking for, stood next to it and waited for the clock to strike 10. Things were growing increasingly tense and other people were showing up who also wanted bikes for their precious little ones. One older lady who looked like she probably taught Sunday School at the First Baptist Church called for my attention.
“Sir! Sir! Excuse me, sir!”
“I just wanted you to know that I planned on getting these bikes here, okay. I’m just letting you know so you don’t get them.”
How does one respond to that? Fortunately, she was referring to the pink bike with a banana seat and streamers coming from the handlebars so I just said okay but I’m glad she’s not my Sunday School teacher.
My strategy from this point on was to find the meanest looking people who were interested in the same bike as me and make friends with them. This way, if things get sideways, I’ll have already developed a relationship with the heavily armed people. In this case it was a group of women whom I assured that I would help when the time came. One of these women was waiting on a bike that the Sunday School teachers had moved in such a way that it was impossible for anyone else to reach. This was a perfect chance for me to strengthen our bond so I told her my plan.
I would lift up a few of the boxes while she secretly pulled one halfway out so that it would be easier for her to make the grab at 10:00. We carried through with our plan and things were going great right up until the time when a very short and very spunky Wal-Mart associate came from out of nowhere and caught us in the act. While undoing all of my hard work, she gave us a lecture.
“I wish you people would just leave this stuff alone until 10:00.”
And that’s when my new friend, the convicted felon whom I was trying to assist, responded to the Wal-Mart associate.
“I don’t know what this man was doing. I tried to tell him to stop.”
Lesson learned. Next time I go to Pepper Spray Thursday, I’m keeping to myself. Better yet. Next time, I’m skipping it all together and waiting for Cyber Monday.
The Holiday Movie
One of our family traditions at Christmas is going to the theatre to see a movie together. This year our kids wanted to see Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwreck Island instead of The Muppets. I still have Post-Traumatic Stress from the Muppet episode when I was a kid where Alice Cooper guest-starred so, fearing he might make a cameo, I was content with Alvin. This was a mistake.
This movie was basically a bunch of computer generated characters with digitally altered voices singing songs that someone else wrote. Come to think of it, I think I just described 90% of the 2012 Grammy nominees.
We should have seen The Muppets.