I went to get a haircut today in anticipation of some work related matters. Not work of the "from the couch with laptop" variety but "in front of an actual client" variety. As such it seemed like a good idea to get one last haircut to trim things up a bit and give an appearance of professionalism. OK, Alycia told me I was too hairy and should go get a haircut.
Now a brief bit of backstory. This will all make sense in a minute, bear with me.
Back in Springfield, Massachusetts I used to visit a barbershop in downtown with a distinctly ethnic Italian-American cohort of employees. One day I listened as my barber explained what he would do to the slightly dark skinned gentleman (he looked Puerto Rican or Cuban to me) who walked in the door accompanied by his white girlfriend. He muttered what he would like to do to this gentleman as he was shaving behind my ear and around my neck with a straight razor. The activities he spoke of weren't enjoyable sounding and were laced with many unkind racial epithets. This made me uncomfortable (the word uncomfortable actually doesn't adequately describe my terror, though I feel like I remained calm) since he was holding a straight razor inches from my jugular. I never visited that barber shop again. I read a few weeks later in the newspaper that my now-former barber and a friend had been arrested on racketeering, loansharking, and other unsavory charges. It turns out that this place was an organized crime front, a fact well known to local townsfolk, but oblivious to me, a newcomer.
I once played pool (I was in a pool league for a while) in a unhygienic/scary run-down strip club in what was left of downtown New Britain, Connecticut, where the home court advantage was apparent since everyone on our team (the visiting team) was terrified of touching anything lest they contract leprosy, or worse. During the evening an enterprising young gentleman approached and tried to sell me a pair of sneakers and a package of raw chicken breasts for $20. It must have been a tough night for selling that combination of items as he stopped by on the way out the door and let me know the price had dropped to only $15. It was a great deal, but unfortunately I didn't think the sneakers were my size.
I relate these two seemingly unrelated stories because they are 1) the most unusual hair cutting experience I've ever had and 2) the most unusual thing I've ever had someone try to sell to me. Though neither one of these stories will ever be topped, luckily I can now combine these concepts together into a new and fascinating story 3) the most unusual thing anyone has ever tried to sell me while getting a haircut.
Back to my haircut yesterday..... Just as I sat down in the barber chair a truck pulled up and a uniformed (he was headed to his job with the border patrol) dude hopped out, pulled a long cardboard box from the truck and proceeded inside. Though the barber knew who this was, he still made a "I wonder what's in the box?" comment, to which I replied (with what I thought was a funny joke) "I don't think those are flowers for you in the box". He didn't laugh, though I thought I was being quite funny.
The long flat box contained a beautiful, shiny black semi-automatic assault rifle, near new condition, "I've only run 2 magazines through it" the guy said. The weapon was an AR-180 (I think I remember this correctly) but could also be called an AR180 or an AR-180B, there seemed to be some discussion about this point. The barber wanted to know the exact model number so he could discuss with his gun compatriots and confirm that he was getting a good deal.
After much discussion, fondling of the rifle, and observation of various accessories that could be attached to it in various places, price was mentioned - $650. They agreed to meet over the weekend to complete their transaction and the dude in the truck with the rifle left. Aforementioned barber person was extremely excited about the new gun he was going to purchase, but now was faced with a dilemna - he had too many guns. I don't know if this was a wife-imposed or self-imposed gun quota, but with a new gun entering the picture, he had to sell one of his current guns (he mentioned having at least seven other rifles).
Naturally he had a captive audience (that would be me) to describe the gun he planned to sell. His segue was gentle - "so how do you feel about the AR-22's?" Uhhhh, they're good. He continued tactfully to try to sell me his now-extra assault rifle, until I explained I wasn't quite in the market for an AR-22, and we proceeded with the rest of the haircut uneventfully. I enjoy trips to the barber....