I've been on a kind of medical hiatus as I recover from hip replacement surgery and have barely left the house for five weeks now. It's possible I have become a little scruffy.

My wife Beth Ann, looking over her readers at me last night said flatly, "You need a haircut." 

I was torn by the prospect as I was preparing a bodacious soliloquy for court the next day, where some carpetbagger attorney would accuse me of being a deadbeat for not paying my exorbitant hospital bills from a St. Louis Hospital. 

"Don't bother me, woman!" I hollered back. "I'm in the middle of telling these thieving hyenas what they could do with their bill!" 

Sent, I might add, after I had already paid the weasels in full according to their own bookkeepers. I admit the thought of looking scruffy might be just the thing to convince the judge of my suffering at the hands of these miscreants. 

It didn't bode well for my bodacious soliloquy however, as Beth Ann, with merely a look, over-ruled my objections and I agreed to make an appointment with the boys at Town and Country Barber Shop for the next day. She's meaner than any judge, I consoled myself, and went back to preparing my bodacious soliloquy where, like My Cousin Vinny, I imagined I would convince the courtroom that the attorney for the hospital definitely needed new glasses.

Well, after a sleepless night, the day arrived and I appeared, hat in hand,  before the magistrate in White County Court. The attorney for the hospital was not a weasel at all and I immediately felt sorry for him. He told me he had 27 cases with his name on them that day and he pleaded with me to acquiesce. I refused and with my bodacious soliloquy still on my lips, the judge banged down his gavel and ordered the whole thing continued for three months.

The young attorney, unaccustomed to anyone showing up for civil court, didn't bring a card with him. He scribbled his phone number on the back of my summons and said call him and we'd work something out.

Beth Ann led me from the courtroom as I grumbled, "They didn't get a chance to hear my bodacious soliloquy!"


With that stuck in my craw, my obviously relieved wife loaded me up and delivered me to that manly cave where masculinity is celebrated, where taxes suck, new trucks rule and the Cubs and the Cards are celebrated by all no matter which side your on: to Town and Country Barber Shop. 

I plopped down in a comfy chair and was instantly put at ease as Steve Winkleman, the proprietor, asked the guy I know only as Bob, why he didn't buy a little truck as every eye in the place peered out the windows and pretended not to be able to see the man's brand new pride and joy parked just outside. 

Adam, Steve's son, looked back from the window, and proclaimed that his wife was going to buy herself a big truck and he would probably have to build a big new garage just to hold it, it would be so big.

Bob knew he had to take the heat. He was next in line. Bob climbed in Adam's chair and quickly changed the subject to politics, a subject he felt sure would take the focus off his tiny new truck parked just outside. 

Bob's ploy worked of course, and all agreed that the recent political rhetoric had far outstripped any  semblance of actual debate and then Steve divulged he had once run as a Democrat for a local seat. The place momentarily went quiet. He quickly added that he had little in common with the Democrats in DC even though he still considered himself a Democrat.

His son Adam jumped in and, waving his conservative credentials like a battle flag, began to berate what he believed the Democrats and their socialist comrades had done to the USA recently. I was sitting in Steve's chair by this time and I began to worry that hostilities might break out between the father and son barbers.  I calmed the moment by placing five bucks on Adam to take his dad in the ensuing scuffle. Everybody laughed. 

And, in that moment, all agreed, at Town and Country Barber Shop you can be a Cub fan or a Cardinal fan, a Democrat or a Republican, with all the problems in the world; in the end we're all just a bunch of guys needing a hair cut.

I paid for my hair cut and as we walked out into that rainy Friday morning, Beth Ann looked at me and said, "much better!"

I had to agree.