I was sitting in a waiting chair as my dad whisked his barber clippers in short motions at the back of his customer’s neck. Another Saturday in the barbershop, a lazy afternoon of casual greetings, conversations about the weather . . . I was probably reading a Richie Rich comic book.
The scene is quite clear to me because it was the second such experience of the summer. As the barber shop shoe shine boy I was privy to this man’s world of adult conversations and a wide variety of news and opinions. This day the door opened, banged back and then opened for a gentleman who as pushing it with a crutch. I’m sure I stared.
He pulled himself into the barbershop and with clarity of speech and standing erect to muster some dignity he declared himself a beggar and would be most appreciative it anyone could help a fella who was ‘down on his luck.’ I stared because the man only had one leg and one arm. The lines etched into his face suggested that life had been hard for him. Very hard.
I’ll never forget my dad’s two questions. First, dad asked him how he had lost his arm and leg. Without hesitating the fellow said that he had been trying to jump a train and he had ‘miscalculated’ the jump. Bad luck seemed to be the theme of his life, or at least that was his perception and he even conveyed a resigned attitude about it.
Then my dad asked, “Do you drink?” (My dad could cut to the chase like that.) Continue reading Barbershop Theology, Part Five: Down on Their Luck