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Chad the Barber

April 20, 2012

Since my arrival in Fayetteville last summer, I’ve been going to Chad for barbering.

Found his name on the Internet through a simple search. As I recall there were one or two positive reviews, and the shop wasn’t too far from our condo, 3-4 miles, so I motored over.

Chad’s Barber Shop is an unprepossessing block structure on the southern edge of town, not the poshest address, for sure. But it looked fine to me. Chad turned out to be a black guy, pretty big and muscular and, as he acknowledges, with a big booming mouth on him.

Black Barbershop

Not that close, Chad! It's the mohawk or frohawk I be wantin'!

The first time I visited, and maybe the second and third times too, I might have been the only customer. Chad certainly wasn’t overly busy. But I was able to scope out the business and get the scoop — who his customers are, how they get to him, how he might want to increase their numbers. I offered to draw up a flyer for him, which I did, but he hasn’t used it yet. He’s never really advertised — except for word of mouth, or booming voice, could be. (You’d have to be pretty hard of hearing not to hear Chad’s voice if you were anywhere in the vicinity. I’ve called my wife a couple of times from the shop, and she says she could hear only Chad’s boombox of a voice going.)

What would Chad’s point of difference be if we were to advertise his services? Sports! he booms, for one thing. He eats, drinks, talks and pisses sports, after all. You’ll get an earful of sports if you patronize Chad — everything from grade school basketball and football, in which his 11 year old son, Chad Jr., excels, to college and pro sports (including, this last visit, a values-laden discussion about just fired Hogs coach Bobby “Lover Boy” Petrino).

Effective cutting, for another. Chad suggested the motto “You grow ’em, we mow ’em.” Isn’t that different?

Anyway, Chad is a pretty good barber and does good work when he has the time and the shop is not crowded. (I came in once amid a scrum and left with my ridgetop intact: how I hate that! That pointy head that, since babyhood, presaged my pointy-headed pseudo-intellectualism! That pointy head that, now, would look just fine in a mohawk, wouldn’t it?)

Sure, and Chad is a character, surveying and dominating his nondescript big shop. (The footprint of the building must be about 15 feet x 45 feet, and Chad sometimes uses another barber when he’s busy.) His voice booms and explodes as if he’s giving orders, though he’s usually only opining — about sports, character, love, gossip. I’ve learned a lot about his wife, ex-wife, and 3 kids. I’ve learned about Chad’s growing up in southern Arkansas and his sports playing days. I’ve managed to get a few words in edgewise, just to needle him a bit or see if he’s awake.

Last time I was in, Chad gave me a snootful about his lazy ex-wife and her bad influence on their daughter, who lives with her and her drug-dealing boyfriend. (Told me how he instilled discipline when the girl lived with him one semester — punishing her when she came home with demerits, giving her anything she wanted otherwise. How he had her learn her numbers via a basketball drill: she’d have to hold the ball over her head and rotate it from hand to hand, continuously, until she could shout out the thousands numbers Chad held aloft, pronouncing them accurately: not five-two twenty-one, for example, but five thousand two hundred twenty-one.)

But he also listened to my brief explanation of the camping trip I’m going on, in Texas and New Mexico, on my way to Tucson, Arizona. Man! he allowed. If he was retired like me, he would go not just for two weeks but forever. He would disappear! But it’ll be a few years, man, giving haircuts one head at a time. Mowing what we grow and saving up the dollars till he can lie in splendor, devote himself to watching sports and raising family in tranquility.

  1. Gerry permalink

    I thought all of us had ridgeheads? Oh well, something has to hold us together. I was afraid it was our hair. And then when I started going bald I feared to sleep lest I fall apart.

    • The ridges may be nature’s answer to our vanities. Let’s go with the (ugly) geological flow, then, allowing ridges, slumps, mudslides, and wattles. When can we do, bald or hairy? We are victims of the plot.

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