Today on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, the second hour had a discussion about eighty-eight American books that the Library of Congress believes have been influential in who we are. The discussion itself was interesting, even though the librarian, Mark Dimunation, kept using the word, impact, when he meant to say “influence” or “effect.” But that’s not what drove me to the keyboard today. Near the end of the segment, one of the guests said the following:
“It’s like cutting your own hair. You just don’t do that.”
This is an example of synchronicity, I suppose. Today happened to be the day that I had set aside for doing exactly what the guest said I don’t do.
Yes, I cut my own hair. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t waste time on such a trivial matter on this weblog, but hearing that remark brought up a thought about our culture.
Some five years ago, the last time I went into a hair salon, I sat in the chair and allowed some apparent child to run a razor with a guide comb over my head. That cost me $15 plus a tip. It occurred to me that I could do the same thing. After a trip to the local big box store for a $30 razor, guide combs, and scissors kit, I have done what the talking head believes to be the impossible or undesirable.
To be sure, I favor an easy style and don’t care about being stylish. It works for me. Thirty dollars in five years and counting is a price that I can live with. But that’s not the main point.
What matters the most to me is that too many people have an attitude that they cannot do things for themselves. We used to be a country that valued self-sufficiency. Now, we have “experts” who tell us what we can’t do, and no one on the program even reacts. I want control over my own life. When I went to hair salons (barber shops being hard to find), no matter how many times I told the child what I wanted, she wouldn’t comply. Cutting it myself means I get exactly what I want and what I deserve. It’s a test of my ability to do for myself. It’s a reflection of the fact that your opinion about my hair is none of my business.
It’s the American thing to do.