My July bout with COVID was not much different than many others of late. Two days of fever with a week or so of cold symptoms and low energy. After that came frequent coughing spells. Now I’m concerned about the threat of brain fog.
COVID has been linked to brain fog and can reportedly lower IQ by ten points. A ten point drop would put me close to negative territory. A recent article said it’s like aging a brain by 20 years. If I begin writing about irregularity you’ll know why.
As a side note, you may have noticed my hair has been looking a tad shaggy. When I tested positive my barber canceled appointments plus quit giving me any sugar. I didn’t consider other options as prior experiences have not turned out well.
Mr. Willis Owen was my barber from early childhood until Jane took over. I only remember four haircuts he didn’t give me and I regretted every one.
In the eighth grade I sneaked off to Mr. Tommy J. Brown in Unadilla. He was a family friend and fine gentleman but prone to sipping the recipe on slow days. I learned that too late.
Patsy Bridges and I were paired to serve at the annual Mother-Daughter/Father-Son Banquet. I figured a formal occasion deserved a special haircut and that’s what I got.
Mr. Tommy was enthusiastic about his new vacuum clippers. “You don’t see any hair on the floor do you?” he asked repeatedly. He tested them down to the follicles. There was nothing left to comb, not even a remnant. On a positive note, his floor didn’t need sweeping.
My second harrowing experience also came in Unadilla with a fellow who was passing through. A classmate had been there and came to school looking spiffier than usual. That’s why I stopped by one afternoon and got clipped.
The cash register was behind the chair I was in. He finished barbering but didn’t remove the cape. Instead he left me seated as he took my money and slowly made change. I had given him the only bill I had, a ten. When I stood to leave, the ten wasn’t on top of the drawer like Uncle Emmett had taught me at Joiner’s Store.
I figured if he needed the money bad enough to steal from a kid he could keep it. If I could get a do-over I’d try to prod his conscience. “That’s a nice haircut,” I’d cheerfully offer. “Why don’t you keep that five for a tip.” And I’d invite him to church, but keep an eye on the offering plate.
A third memorable haircut came at Brookwood Plaza during college. I would let my hair get as long as I thought would be tolerated for visits home every six-weeks, then I’d return to Valdosta State and add a few more inches. Sporting three months of hair and about to head to Dooly County, I walked into a barbershop and stopped at the first open chair.
“Leave it a little over the ears,” I told a balding old man who didn’t cater to hippies. He went the other way, intentionally misinterpreting over as above. It wouldn’t have mattered except Jane was still assessing my long-term potential. When I dropped by her dorm she wondered why I was wearing a cap. I could tell when she fell her dreamboat had sailed.
Several months passed before I needed a barber. At Jane’s behest I went to a stylist and got a razor cut, shampoo, and blow-dried styling. The young lady was too cute for me to ask the price. I spent seven dollars and still didn’t look like a rock star.
That’s when I suggested Jane become my barber. She insisted she didn’t know how to cut hair until I explained we couldn’t go to Shoney’s for Slim Jims and strawberry pie. There’s not much to manage on top now but it still grows splendidly on the sides. That’s why two thirds of my head began looking a tad shaggy when my barber took a COVID break.
I got sidetracked recounting haircuts and almost forgot the brain fog issue. A ten point drop in IQ doesn’t worry me all that much and would likely improve the column. What bothers me is knowing it could be worse, maybe in the 20 to 30 range.
If I end up on the wrong side of zero, I should probably stop writing these weekly musings. In case that happens I’ve been researching other activities that might be interesting and help pass the time. There’s one idea that has potential but it comes with a major drawback. I really don’t want to be President.