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Each Monday, Tommy Tomlinson delivers thoughtful commentary on an important topic in the news. Through these perspectives, he seeks to find common ground that leads to deeper understanding of complex issues and that helps people relate to what others are feeling, even if they don’t agree.

On My Mind: A Hairy Situation

Tommy Tomlinson

I see that some of you have started to cut your own hair now, or you’re letting a family member do it. Peace be with you. I’m going to hold out a while.

This traces back to some childhood trauma. My mom decided one year that she was going to cut my hair to save money. She bought a manual trimmer that was basically a comb sandwiched around a razor blade. It looked like one of those Furminator things they sell at the pet store to clear out the hair from a shedding dog.

She dragged that thing through my hair for half an hour. You know that little sting when you pluck a stray hair from your eyebrow? Imagine that times a million.

But that wasn’t the bad part. The bad part was when she sent me back to our barber a few weeks later. He leaned down over me, stopped, and stared. Then he said: “I don’t know who cut your hair last, but somehow every single hair is a different length.”

So, yeah, I leave haircuts to the professionals. If we stay on lockdown, I’m going to let it grow until I could qualify as a lost Allman Brother.

(By the way, this might be a good time to check in with the person who does your hair and see how they’re doing. Maybe even send them a few bucks, like a layaway plan on haircuts to come.)

I can ignore my hair for a while. But my beard is a different matter. I intended to just let it go until the virus passed, like hockey players who never shave during the playoffs.

But over the last few weeks it has found new levels of scraggle. My mustache has crept over the top of my upper lip and is homesteading on the other side. According to my wife, this makes me less kissable. We’ve got enough people in our lives keeping their social distance. I sure don’t need one more.

So after my shower I dug around in the dresser until I found my old trimmer. After a few minutes of dragging it around my face I got the worst of it pared down a little.

I walked out for an inspection. Alix said I had missed a few mustache hairs. She moved me under the kitchen light, grabbed some scissors from the knife block, and clipped off the last few strays.

I don’t know what your definition of love is. But trusting someone to come around your face with a pair of kitchen scissors? I’d say that counts.


Tommy Tomlinson’s On My Mind column normally runs every Monday on WFAE and WFAE.org. It represents his opinion, not the opinion of WFAE. You can respond to this column in the comments section below. You can also email Tommy at ttomlinson@wfae.org.

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Tommy Tomlinson has hosted the podcast SouthBound for WFAE since 2017. He also does a commentary, On My Mind, which airs every Monday.