stories

The Worst Haircut of My Life.

Wednesday, 5th July   2017

 

Dear Diary,

I woke up today with a headache. No, I wasn't hungover (and stop judging me, Diary) it was because my hair had grown so long that when I rolled out of bed every morning all my hair had bunched up on top of my head to make me look like Marge Simpson. I was in desperate need of a haircut.

I ambled down to my local snippity-snipper a block from my apartment. I popped my head in the door and a tall bespectacled gentleman looked up from the foils he was intensely applying. "Yaes what?" He asked. "Can I make an appointment?" I replied, as if it were an imposition. He replied in his thick, Eastern European accent, "Go. Next door. He halp you."

I walked out the door, turned left and found another glass door with an identical logo on it. I peered into the window to see another tall gentleman, but this one was far different.

For starters he had very little hair. It had all receded to a small, elite squadron of scalp-pubes at the very back of his head. He wore a tight black t-shirt that didn't completely cover his belly. His y-fronts poked up from his skinny jeans which he'd rolled up to make makeshift three-quarter length stylish leggings, showing off his bony ankles and Amazon-bought 'leather' loafers. (Ok, I also bought these loafers.)

He spun around from twiddling with his iPod nano, spotted me peering through the window and gestured for me to come inside. I froze... I wanted to run, but he'd seen me. I gingerly pushed on the glass door, causing a small bell to ring above my head.

"My nem Serge. Yes, You look for me?"

I said "Hi, Serge. I was looking to get a haircut, but if you're busy I'll come back another time."

He scoffed, "Beesy! Who is beesy, not me, thassfersher!" Then he let out a huge belly laugh. "Seet. I cut you hair."

I sat. (So he could cut me hair.)

Right off the bat I was very skeptical. He ran a comb through my unwashed, product-filled mane, pulling hairs out by the roots as he went. He held the comb like he was a baby learning how to get purchase on an object for the first time. It wasn't allaying my very real fear that this man was not a real barber.

"What you want do? Yes you want short?"
I said "Just... ow... just a trim. A shorter -OW! Fuck. -shorter version of this please."

With that, he whipped out his buzzing trimmer which looked like it was made in 1940's Russia. It had bits of bronze, corroded aluminium and a power cable that needed an adaptor to plug into the US outlet.

Seconds before he put chainsaw to scalp, I stopped him and said, "Wait!"

He paused, confused. 
I said, "Just one thing... please don't touch the sideburns."
He said, "Oh, you don't want sideburns do you?"
I said, "Yes. That's why I have sideburns."
"But if you shave off you look like me, yes? Look! I no haev sideburns!"

I said, "I'm ok with sideburns. Please don't touch my sideburns."
 

He then shaved off my sideburns.

 

My face went a shade of bright red. "What the F... what the.. "

I couldn't even muster the word Fuck, I was so angry.

"Why did you do that?" I asked, calmly.
"Do waet?" he quizzically enquired, continuing to shave the sides of my head like I was about to ship off to my second tour of Afghanistan.

"You shaved off my sideburns." I said, incredulous.
"I no shave off, I just treem." he shrugged.

I sat in a puddle of seething rage as he proceeded to completely transform my hairstyle into that of a backup singer for a Polish boy band. He didn't shampoo it, let alone spray any water on it before taking giant chunks from my now oblong-shaped noggin.

"Can you please not trim it so close? Is that a number three?"
"Yeas, is three. Ver good." he nodded with his eyes closed.
"I don't want that... I just wanted a trim. Can you use scissors on the side?"
"I only just begin. You wait to see what look like in end."
I could not wait for this haircut to in end.

His Russian EDM played on his iPod as I sat in a silent rage for the rest of the haircut. I don't know why I stayed. I should have got up the moment he shaved off my sideburns. I shouldn't have even pushed open that glass door, but I did. That tiny bell ringing was the beginning of the end of me going outdoors without a hat.

Eventually, Serge piped up again, "Life ees bewteeeful."
He paused. "Tras me. I know."

Life, at this point for me, was not beautiful. Life had transformed into a living hell. I could imagine myself going into an audition, handing the casting agent my headshot and them looking at me going, "Whose headshot is this? -And what the fuck is wrong with your head?"

My eyes darted over the blue liquid sitting by the window sill. You know, the stuff they keep the combs in? I figured I could end it quickly with a few quick gulps of that without causing too much of a mess. 

"This is Frank Sinatra!" Serge Boomed, as he paused in tableaux to listen intently to his iPod.

It was not Frank Sinatra.

It was Wham. The only song I recognised in a playlist of noises that sounded like a CD skipping in a Sony Discman. He stood still for a full minute as he listened, gestured to me and nodded, saying "No?  Yes?  Yes? Sinatra?"

I nodded. Eyes wide, staring straight ahead. Every minute felt like an eon. I just wanted to get up, pay this mook and get the hell out of this glass chamber of murder. My fingers dug into the plastic chair as looked in the mirror and noticed a band-aid on his left calf. The cut underneath was bleeding pretty profusely, dribbling down into his cheap loafers as he danced around me, hacking wildly at whatever was left atop my skull.

I should have never trusted a man with no hair to cut my hair. Now I have no hair.

Just as I thought he was done, he took one last snip with the scissors and said, "Peorfect."
"Okay." I said. "All done?"
He said, "You pay next door. This is where the art happen. Money happen there."

Indeed.

I brushed away the hair he'd neglected to remove from around my face and ears, stood up and walked out the door and into the next room where the money happen.

I walked in and said "Is this where I pay for what happened to me?"
The only person now in this room was a young blonde woman wearing a tight-fitting crop top and jean shorts nodding at me, smiling.
She took my card and put it into a square reader that blinked red to indicate it hadn't paired with the bluetooth on her iPad. 

A year went by and eventually she figured out how to pair the reader to the tablet and process my payment, complete with Serge pricing.

Needless to say, Diary. It's lucky it's baseball season, because I'm wearing my Yankees hat everywhere. Including the shower. And bed.

Good night.

 

Jason

 

PS. I'm pretty proud of Serge Pricing.

An Uber Driver Called Getty (Who Used to be Called George.)

Today I flew to LA to decompress before pushing forth to my third San Diego Comic Con. Upon landing I was met by Gary Leli, a fellow New York comedian who is relocating to California. Gary is as classy as they come— he picked me up in a car that looked like it was straight out of a Bond film. We put the top down, donned our sunglasses and zipped through LA traffic listening to Billy Joel before arriving at his beautiful Hollywood home. Dinner and drinks were in order. Lots of Drinks. (My flight had been diverted to New Mexico because there wasn't enough fuel in the plane to get us from New York to Los Angeles. Because of course there wasn't.)

Copious cocktails were bookended with a nightcap cigar on the deck in the warm open air: We were at the zenith of our chillaxitude.

The next morning we decided we’d hit the historic Beverly Hills hotel for some libations and merriment. His fiancée, the lovely Lindsay, ordered us an Uber. The phone bleeped to tell us he’d be here in 4 minutes, and that his name was Getty.

In his profile photo he looked like Buddha (if Buddha always wore a cap he made himself and drove a Toyota Sienna).

As the car pulled up, the doors flung open to reveal a veritable treasure trove of snacks, water, apple juice, fresh bananas, soft drinks and wonderment. Our driver was wearing a cap that said "Dr. Food Man Chew" and by golly did we take heed.

I grabbed a banana and a water and went to town as we hummed towards the Hills of Beverly. Getty had a story -and dammit, he was going to tell it whether we liked it or not.

Apropos of nothing, he held up a sign that he'd kept on his dash that read "Dream Big." It was at that point he told us about his life as a Chinese chef at his restaurant Food Man Chew, and about his son who -of course- was a stand-up comic.

He rattled of his spiel as he'd almost certainly done a million times prior, and in doing so missed about a dozen turns on the GPS, ensuring the length of the trip matched the length of his story.

At one point he said, "I changed my name to Getty because I read a book about a man named Getty. Very interesting fellow. So I change my name to Getty."

He paused.

"It used to be George" he said.

He then went on to tell Gary that he could teach him to make hot and sour soup in two hours, and that we were all going to win the lottery. At which point he reached into his sunglasses compartment and grabbed a lottery ticket for tonight's draw and handed it back to Lindsay.

If we win, we're going to track him down and split it with him, so he can re-open his restaurant and make Gary some soup.

Thanks for the ride, Getty.

 

 
the end

PART 2: My First Day Submitting Cartoons to The New Yorker

PART 2: My First Day Submitting Cartoons to The New Yorker

One freezing February morning in 2015, I was awoken by a message from fellow cartoonist telling me he was flying in from Seattle to submit cartoons to the New Yorker and asked if I had time to catch up. The text conversation quickly escalated from “Let's catch up!” to "I dare you to put ten cartoons together and come submit with me on Tuesday!”

I’d been wanting to submit to the magazine forever but never knew how, let alone where the hell it was. He had been submitting cartoons to The New Yorker among other gag cartoon publishers for years. I figured it would be a big help if I had someone who’d done it before to join me through the terrifying process.

“Why not!” I replied nervously, then sunk back into my pillow to realise what I’d just agreed to...