Thursday, July 17, 2008

An unkind cut; take that, pal; stay tuned; my name is...

I didn’t get a haircut today.

I know – that REALLY makes you want to read this, doesn’t it?

Indulge me.

I go to this old school barber shop near Casa del Faour; been going there since I moved into the area in the early 1990s. It was run by an old Cherokee Indian.

It was what a barber shop was supposed to be; not a salon or a Supercuts. A real barbershop. Complete with the pole and the 1950s posters of guys with perfect hair.

I’ve survived three barbers there. My first was a nice old Russian lady who died of a heart attack. Then there was another elderly lady who passed on shortly after.

The old Cherokee took over my head after them. It was his place, and it took me a while to get on his list. I finally figured out that you had to go there a long time before he would cut your hair.

I didn’t know his name. But he would wave me over every time I came in. We didn’t talk much (I know, big shock that I could be quiet).

But he always knew I wanted it over the ears, tapered in the back, leave the top alone because it was getting thin. I never had to say a word after telling him once.

He also knew I would always tip $3 on a $12 haircut. So after a while, if I gave him a $20, he would just give me back $5. No questions asked.

(He was taken aback the one time I told him to shave it all off for Terry. Longest conversation we ever had. At the end he just said he would see me in two months. He seemed happy with the reason, though).

I even started taking Will. He got to go straight to the Cherokee; no waiting period for him.

The last time I saw the old man, he labored. He had to stop two or three times. He said he had “lung problems” and was pretty far along, and sorry it was so slow. I was in a hurry, but I didn’t say a word, as usual. I just smiled. And this time I left him the whole $20.

When I drove by today, I saw the “closed” sign. It looked empty, dusty. No one had been there for a few days.

I didn’t need to be told why it was closed.

I won’t find another place like that. I’ll wind up at a Supercuts, or someplace close and convenient.

I will miss that old Cherokee. It’s those people who give sanity to your life.

It’s Jose at Yao’s, who knows exactly what Matt and I want when we sit down and has it waiting on us every Tuesday before we go on the air.

It’s Goose at Sam’s, who listens to the show and knows when I want Jack vs. beer and never has to ask.

It’s the waitress at Hunan Hut who brings me Diet Coke and Hot and Sour soup before I reach the table.

It’s Luis at Escalante’s, who knows I want fajita salad every time, with lime peanut on the side.

It’s the security guard who smiles and asks how I am every day.

Those people are important. They give life sanity. They give us little places to call home.

They make up a community, even in a big city like Houston.

I’m going to let my hair grow out for a while now. Who knows, maybe he is just sick?

I know better. But I am saving the tip money in case I get one more haircut.

And one more chance to ask his name.

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Ok, now that I have depressed everyone...

Don't you love people who complain about getting free stuff? In the old days, it would drive me nuts when my colleagues would bitch about the press box food. You aren't paying for it, gang. Unless it's crawling with roaches, maggots or politicians, don't whine.

I have seen people whine about the dumbest things. Like where to sit in a press box. Even saw two former colleagues almost come to blows over a freaking seat in a press box.

It's not just us, though. We have radio giveaways, and give people koozies, and they say, "can I get a shirt?"

Do you see any shirts? We have koozies. Here. Take it. Thanks for listening.

My favorite was an appearance we did with 1560 at the racetrack. They were nice enough to make us a plate of food; lots of really good chicken wraps. It was awesome stuff. They also brought about 20 cokes. And it was just me and Nuno.

People kept coming up to the table and asking us if the food was free. While we are on the air. We kept saying no.

After the show, as we were breaking down the equipment, about 20 people descended on the food like Aggies to a freshly sheared sheep. (For non Texas folks, let's go with, "they descended on the food like flies on fresh manure”…For Aggies, oh, come on, I’m joking).

It was embarrassing. They ate everything in a matter of seconds.

By the time we turned around, all that was left was a few crumbs on a napkin.

And one guy bitching that the food was too "soggy." Not only was it free, but you stole it, chief.

Next time, he gets press box food.

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Another great guy with a great blog is Raheel Ramzanali. Here's the link.... http://www.kingofsports.blogspot.com/

Raheel makes me laugh.

There are so many talented radio people in this city. The guys at 1560, Marc Vandermeer over at 610...I am also a fan of people like Robert Hinsley and Adam Wechsler, guys I don’t know that well...But there are some very good people that don't get enough credit. Raheel, like my man David Nuno (congrats on the twins, big guy!) is a multitalented guy who will be a big star some day. Frankie the Bull, Chance McClain...those guys are all awesome. I know we are all competing, but I have nothing but respect for them.

(Yeah, the General most of all).

I’ve become a big fan of Dave Tepper, Chuck Savage and Julie Takahashi at the new place. And Carl Dukes is a pro. And my respect for El Deano and Picachu is a matter of public record.

I don't know what the future holds. A part of me misses newspapers and thinks they are worth saving. But I'm having a blast doing this, too, and I love where I am.

Stay tuned to all of us.

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OK gang, I really need a new nickname. Virtual Val does not like Uncle Freddy, so stick a fork in it. It's dead. Even though Val is virtual and is thousands of miles away, what she says on this blog goes.

I have the most clever and intelligent friends in the world. One of you should have a perfect nickname for me.

(Memo to Hu, Sandy, Min, Dana -- I have a few pretzels* riding on you guys...don't let me down. Otherwise I am going to have to rely on El Deano. He's the 4-5 favorite).

Winner gets full credit on several multimedia outlets... And no poker nicknames since I am in temporary retirement again.

*-pretzel is our radio euphemism for “dollar” when we discuss potentially illegal wagers.

5 comments:

King Of Sports said...

Thanks for the love pro! Nothing but respect for you and the boys (and females) at ESPN...good posting man!

Anonymous said...

You are right about 'those' people that silently touch your life - we all take them for granted.

As far as a new nickname - well Val and I refer to you as 'future ex-husband' if that helps!

Hu xoxo

ChrisC said...

Ouch! Virtual chicks trump good friends? I've been calling you Uncle Freddy since day one, so trying to come up with something as classic as that is gonna be tough! If Val doesn't like the moniker, shouldn't she 'virtually' come up with a new one? ;) Oh and go see the new Batman, it's a sick flick! Heath for an Oscar! Ship it!!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I think I know those two former co-workers you mentioned about almost turning a press box into "SmackDown!" For Christ's sakes ... it's a fucking seat!! In the immortal words of Colorado's football coach, "This ain't intramurals! It's Division I football!!"

New nickname -- "Fast-Buck Fred"

Well, I'll keep working at it. Ciao bud. -- Joe

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