63 days is a long time to go without a haircut. Not that I was counting or anything. My hair just works better short. You see, I have this problem on the right back section of my head…a cowlick. What a weird word! So a cowlick is a section of hair that stands straight up or lies at an angle at odds with the style in which the rest of an individual’s hair is worn. To deal with this issue, I shave it off. Try as I may to slick it down with gel or shaping cream or brute force, it just sticks up. So, for decades, I go to the barber every 3 weeks to ensure this issue never rears its ugly head (no pun intended).
Then, the pandemic. Businesses are forced to shutter, and my barber is no exception. He’s not considered essential, though I beg to differ. So, for the next 63 days, my hair grows. And the very issue that’s plagued my hair since childhood, apparently still exists. I never outgrew it…the cowlick came back with a vengeance. And there it was. All out of sorts with the rest of my hair. Almost wing-like in appearance, no one quite knew how to react other than ignoring it (except my kids…kids are notoriously honest… “Dad, you need a haircut! What is that thing growing sideways off the side of your head!”…and my wife, who from time to time would randomly, yet lovingly, use her hand to gently…sometimes forcefully…push it down, to no avail.)
Yet, Zoom video after Zoom video to now rejoining the human race, there was an understanding amongst our species. Adult humans know most physical issues are uncontrollable and offer kindness instead of criticism. This wasn’t overly true in grade school when making fun of others was the norm. But as adults, we become more empathetic and understanding of blemishes and imperfections that are, well, just life. While my cowlick is low on the scale of some physical issues that people have to deal with, I am reminded that we each are marked with imperfections…some with our outward appearance, others in our inward dealings. In the end, I’ve been treated with kindness for the past 63 days. And I, in turn, have and will continue to treat others as I would want to be treated. Something about that golden rule still applies.
As re-openings continue, yesterday, I finally got my haircut. My cowlick shaved away. A fairly surreal experience as my barber was fully masked as were the guests. We all walked in shaggy, and walked out with a bit more self-esteem.
Be kind to those around you, we’re all in this together.