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He Got His Wish

Saturday March 20, 2010

He always wanted a straight razor shave, so he went to get one on his birthday. After being led to a chair and leaning his neck back, he spotted the barber for the first time.

“Well this is uncomfortable.”  The words escaped on their own.  When your neck is exposed to a razor-wielding enemy, the carefully turned phrase is outside the realm of possibility.  He was lucky that air seemed to be moving regularly in and out of his lungs.  The jackass was a barber?!!

It all started a few weeks back when Jill talked him into watching an old black and white movie.  It was Saturday night and Jennifer was over at David Burrow’s house.  David Burrow.  He hadn’t liked that name from the first time he heard it.  Jennifer would never have agreed to sit through a movie like Mutiny on  the Bounty, but as Jill pointed out, Jennifer was dating now.  They were going to be able to do lots of things that they hadn’t been able to do together in a long time.  Well, he was glad at least his wife could see the up side of all of this.  Somebody needed to.

Maybe it was the beer or the fact that the dog granted him more cushion than usual on the couch, but Jill was right about the movie.  It was a good one.  He could see why people still talked about Clark Gable, why his wife had always had a thing for the guy.  Staring into the mirror the next morning, he decided to do something he had never done before.  His little girl had a boyfriend, he would be 40 by this time next month, and he had never had a straight razor shave.  Suddenly this fact bothered him.  Was he a little boy or was he a man?  It didn’t seem right, it needed to change and it would.  No sooner was the decision made then Jill’s face appeared in the mirror beside him.  Her eyes were huge.  “Jennifer isn’t in her bed.”

The rest of that morning was a blur that came into focus only when they had a very guilty looking Jennifer cowering into the cushions of their couch.  “You fell asleep?  Do you really expect us to believe that?”  His wife’s face was so red, it wasn’t entirely clear that she was breathing.  He was just glad that she was taking the lead on the conversation.  Words weren’t coming together in a logical way in his mind.  There was no space for them.  Awful images of his daughter and that David boy were crowding everything out.  Somehow Jill and Jennifer seemed to be talking, but the voice of that stupid, stupid man echoed in his ears.  “Maybe you need to buy your daughter a watch.”

Later he couldn’t be sure exactly what he had said in response, but he knew it wasn’t something he would be proud of.  Here now in this chair, awaiting the straight razor shave that would usher him into his 41st year, he wished he’d never heard of Clark Gable.

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