ERROL CASTENS: The man in my mirror gives me grief

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

I am cheap and hate waiting in lines, so for most of two decades I have avoided barber shops. I used to get my wife to cut my hair, but several years ago when I was getting shaggy and Sue was having a particularly busy week, I decided to try it on my own.
It has turned out mostly OK: Occasionally I’ve left a patch of scraggly neck hair, but collars cover a multitude of sins.
Tuesday was different. I took a little time that morning to notice a few hairs sticking out over my ears. I got out the clippers, put on a guard that affords a modest, consistent trim and started a buzz.
Soon the guard popped off, leaving a two-inch-wide, scalp-colored patch over the right temple. The only solution was a tight clip all over, and before long I’d collected an impressive pile of shearings.
I ran my hands over my nearly scalped scalp: Everything felt equally close-cut, and my head shone back at me from the mirror.
By then I’d remembered a couple of urgently needed phone calls, so I cleaned up and got back to work – never thinking to use a second mirror to look at the back of my head.
After laboring at my desk all afternoon, I strode into Oxford City Hall and found the upstairs boardroom packed with close to 100 people and a crowd of several dozen more in the hot, humid corridor. I weaseled my way to the doorway to record the proceedings and, when others left, secured a seat.
When the city board made its most anticipated decision, I slipped out for a cup of java and quick Internet access. After a few gulps and a short report to the office, I hurried for a post-election visit with Congressional candidate Angela McGlowan and her entourage in an elegant suite at the Inn at Ole Miss.
Ms. McGlowan, several of her supporters and I chatted for a few minutes before I collected a few photos and a few quotes for publication and took my leave to finish my work.
It was only the next morning that my wife saw the three pepper-hued streaks I had missed on the back of my head. She blushed, then blanched, at the realization that probably 200 people had seen me thus coiffed, and quickly sheared another tablespoon’s worth of dark hair.
I’ve never had renown as a fashion plate, but I have tried to maintain a reputation as a person within the bounds of sanity.
So much for that idea.
Those in the know assert, “The man who acts as his own lawyer has a fool for a client.” Now we know that anyone who acts as his own barber needs his head examined.
Contact Daily Journal Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or

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