Shave and a haircut -- free!

Well, I didn't get a shave OR a haircut, but I did get some haircutting advice from a lovely barber whose shop I walk by now and then in between picking up drycleaning and mail.

He was standing outside when I walked by and stopped me to tell me how much he likes my haircut. I told him my husband cuts my hair, and no, he's not trained, but he's been doing it for ten years now for fun.

He asked what tools Bub uses and I said he cuts with scissors and trims the back with clippers. And that we just bought a pair of thinning shears and we're having some fun with those. I told him the only problem is that I have a big cowlick that sticks up in back that's hard for Bub to manage.

So Frank, the barber, says, "Come in," and leads me to his chair. "Sit down," he says.

And for the next five or ten minutes, he proceeds to show me how to deal with the cowlick, how to cut the top and sides so they blend better, and how to trim the back with scissors so the hair hugs the shape of my head.

He combs it straight up and says, "See how this isn't straight? It should be straight," and proceeds to mock-trim with his scissors, demonstrating how Bub should cut straight across and then notch in "like so" to make it lie properly. Of course, he's totally destroying my 'do, but I don't stop him, because I'm so amazed and grateful that Frank would give away this information for free to some woman who happens to walk by his shop on occasion.

When the lesson ended, I thanked Frank for his advice and promised to come by after my next haircut to show him the improvements. I should probably bring him cookies or something for offering up this great advice completely unsolicited.

And if you're in Santa Barbara and need a haircut, stop by Danny's Custom Styling at 3337 State Street, in Loreto Plaza, (around the corner by the travel agency), and ask for Frank!


I, plagiarizer

I was in fourth grade when my school district put out a call for entries for an anthology of students' poetry. I was excited to submit something I had found in a box, written in my handwriting and illustrated with my drawings. It was a sweet little poem that I assumed I had written a couple of years earlier. (Had I run this by my parents before submitting it, I'm sure they would have set me straight).

Fast forward to a man arriving at our house, either from the school district or from the FBI; I don't recall.

I just remember being terrified that I was in serious trouble. The man explained that this poem was not my work and that I should not have submitted it. What exactly do they do to plagiarizers? I thought I was going to jail.

Now, I can see being fooled by a sweet little poem like this:

Mix a pancake,
Stir a pancake,
Pop it in the pan.

Fry a pancake,
Toss a pancake,
Catch it if you can.

As a 9-year-old, I can imagine thinking I might have devised that one.

But this?

The Caterpillar

Brown and furry
Caterpillar in a hurry;
Take your walk
To the shady leaf, or stalk.
May no toad spy you,
May the little birds pass by you;
Spin and die,
To live again a butterfly.

This is an abridged version of a Christina Georgina Rossetti poem that I had plagiarized at the tender age of six or so (the pancake poem above is also by Rossetti).

Or not plagiarized, but rather written out and illustrated in my own handwriting, not because I was trying to take credit, but because I liked it and I didn't know that I should put her name on the page.

I think that experience made me into the law-abiding citizen that I am today. I am pretty sure I will always get caught if I do something naughty.

Here's the full version:

Brown and furry
Caterpillar in a hurry,
Take your walk
To the shady leaf, or stalk,
Or what not,
Which may be the chosen spot.
No toad spy you,
Hovering bird of prey pass by you;
Spin and die,
To live again a butterfly.