I was looking forward to a fresh start in 2022. Weren’t you?
The shutdown in March 2020 – damn, almost two years ago — was tough on my barbershop, and recovery hasn’t been easy. Wearing a muzzle on my face and talking to customers all day while cutting their hair has been more than enough cardio for me, thank you.
So, during the reopening, I turned up the volume on the TV, and that shut everyone up. Don’t strain your vocal cords, Bob, trying to carry on a conversation with me when we can’t even read each other’s lips. Just watch the game, and we’ll catch up on our uneventful lives when things ‘return to normal.’
That’s the problem. First it was the Alpha version of COVID, then Delta, and now there’s the Omicron variant. We’re going to use up the letters of the Greek alphabet before we put this pandemic behind us. For as long as I can remember, I have been distrustful of the government, news, science, education, even my own mother, but I always tried to put aside my differences with the universe for the sake of my business. Even when L.A.’s vaccine mandate went into effect in October, I played along.
And for what? I lost a third of my customers for posting on my window a sign, ‘vaccine proof required,’ which, by the way, hangs next to my barber pole (that Neapolitan swirl is actually a trade insignia for my craft that dates back to the Middle Ages. Some say prostitution is the oldest profession in the world, but we in the haircutting business know better).
It’s difficult turning away people who don’t abide by the law, even laws intended to make people safe. After all, I never got vaccinated. That’s right. I never bothered with the shots, yet here I am pretending to check vaccine records when customers enter my establishment. We wear masks, and now visitors supposedly have strong immunity against the virus, so I figured, what the hell? What do I have to lose? Come inside, and I’ll trim your beard at your own risk.
And that’s my point. 2022 for me is the year I am no longer going to succumb to contagious diseases, including mass hysteria, public health, or COVID-19. I plan on living like Johnny Lawrence in the Netflix TV show, Cobra Kai, and show the world ‘no mercy.’
In fact, I bought myself a Cobra Kai t-shirt for Christmas, and I’m already feeling better about the state of my universe. I stopped wearing masks, and I’m starting to kick ass!
Last week, I beat a woman half my age wearing yoga pants to a stop light as we both jogged down the street. She may not have known we were racing, since I was trailing her most of the way and staring at her butt until I finally took the lead, but hey, a win’s a win.
Wearing my Cobra Kai t-shirt even cured my erectile dysfunction. Last night, I had sex with my wife for the first time since the pandemic and didn’t need Viagra.
This morning, some asshole tried to cut in front of me in line at Starbucks. When I confronted him, and he realized I was wearing a Cobra Kai t-shirt, he laughed, and then he started to cough until he got so choked up, he fled the store.
Some customers suspected he had COVID. Screw that. And screw Starbucks, too, for not serving me because I didn’t wear a mask. Their coffee tastes like chocolate ice cream, anyway, and I can only stomach it with a shot of Bailey’s.
Tonight, I might uncover the ’84 Trans-Am parked in the garage and take her for a spin. If you wake to a loud, horrible muffler that sounds like a misfiring rocket, just know it’s probably me tearing up Reseda in a drag race.
Except I’m running a fever and starting to get the sniffles, and my wife’s pissed because she’s vaxxed and boosted, and she suspects I’m a reckless moron who brought home COVID.
Better than an STD, I guess.
January 7, 2022
Ron Atkins is a long-time Valley resident, five-time failed karate student, and owner of Ron’s Barbershop. Find him in the Yellow Pages.
Categories: Environment & Health