Today I woke up at 1 p.m., an early spring break start, and sleepily wandered to my garage for a hair trim. I laid out the newspaper, oiled the blades and clipped on the guard. I had grown proud of my thrifty method. Only a few years ago I paid top dollar, almost $15, to have old men run their own clippers through my hair for a few minutes. I figured going to the barber was a stupid expenditure, so I went to a Charlotte Wal-Mart to buy the cheapest trimming set I could find.
The thrift excited me. I thought I would trim outside, shirtless, in all sorts of conditions: hot, cold, raining, snowing, hailing. This kind of thing, foregoing personal comfort to save a few bucks that did not need saving, was what older men like my father did. I giddily anticipated losing my good sense.
Just as I was about to do the deed this morning, I dropped the trimmer on the cement floor. My favorite guard, the 1/8 inch that kept me militantly short and clean for years, broke. I briefly considered the 1/4 inch until thoughts of butt cuts and $100 scalp massages entered my mind. I could spin out of control. These things happened to people like John Edwards and Zack Morris.
I pondered my options and called Conair customer service. Richard, possibly Richard Simmons, answered the phone. I explained my problem while Richard fished through the database to see whether Conair had this part in stock. They didn't.
"Honey baby, I'll send you a 1/8 inch from another model," he said, "but I ain't gonna tease you. It might not fit. You'd better get your ass to a beauty store to get a one-size-fits-all guide." Conair's warehouse seemed disorganized, but their staff was sincere.
I called Sally Beauty Supply. The lady told me she had what I wanted. I went and got it. It was between the nail polish and hair extensions. They only had 1/16 inch in stock. I was sold.