Hair Scare

For one brief shining moment in the spring of 2014, the parade of horrible calamities that makes up the world’s news was interrupted by the delightfully wacky story that all North Korean men had been ordered to get the same haircut as the Hermit Kingdom’s leader, Kim Jong-un.

The BBC, which broke the story in the western media, walked it back a few hours later by amending the headline to limit the Hair Dictum to male students, rather than all men.

It remained a nice frolic for feature writers though, because anything involving the suppression of young people is irresistible eyeball candy for the oldsters who follow news headlines all afternoon.

But sourpuss editors who do not want a good time to last too long subjected the story to some journalistic analysis and concluded this entire totalitarian trim tale was probably a hoax, because real North Korean men out walking around in broad daylight were not sporting Kim Jong-un’s side-buzzed, floppy-topped do.

What a pity. I had already crafted a bit of childish verse to commemorate Mr. Kim’s (supposed) childish decree.

I sat down in my barber’s chair
for one more monthly shearing,
For years Bob trimmed my thinning hair,
to minimize the clearing.

“I’ll take the usual,” said I,
“the way I always do.”
“The usual?” he said. “But why?
The usual’s not you.”

“For I can cut it how you like.
My stylings are the smartest.”
I said “If you can make it spike,
I’ll know you are an artist.”

“A spike,” said he. “I’m on the job.
Your spike will be sublime.”
“If that won’t work,” I told him, “Bob,
the usual’s just fine.”

He spoke at length to every strand,
he clipped and combed and pasted,
Caressed each follicle by hand.
No single hair was wasted.

But as completion quickly neared
Bob’s face slumped in a frown.
The spike that he had engineered
stood briefly, then fell down.

“That’s fine,” I said, “A noble fight.
The challenge was too tough.
It won’t take long to make it right.
The usual’s enough.”

It only took a little while.
A peaceful, quiet respite.
But when I saw my newest style,
I looked just like a despot.

Hair was collected in a clump
Like a racer’s in the luge is.
As if some wild bear took a dump
on Moe of the Three Stooges.

I looked at Bob. His face was cool.
I said, “This is deranged.
I asked you for ‘the usual.'”
“That’s it,” Bob said. “It’s changed.”

“That spike was never meant to be.
‘Twas preordained to flop.
All hairstyles now, are, by decree,
dictated from the top.”

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