This was the day I pegged as a good one to get my hair cut. I figured that I wanted it relatively close to the day of the interview because my hair tends to grow out in wild random ways if given half a chance, but not on the day itself because I wanted some time to adjust to the cut and to give it a few washes. Saturday seemed perfect. Unfortunately I couldn't get an appointment with the person who usually cuts my hair, but someone else was open in the same salon and I figured that it would probably be fine.
I am, of course, a moron.
Upon entering the salon and taking a seat in the chair I had but one instruction to the woman who was soon to be holding sharp metal scissors alarmingly close to my precious scalp. "Not too short." It seemed like a reasonable request, winter's coming and I prefer to have longer hair when it's cold out, plus I don't like how I look when I'm sporting only an inch or so. She went to work, spritzing and clipping and cutting and doing all that other haircare professional stuff. I sat patiently, glancing down at a book in my lap.
Time began to pass. A lot of time. She worked silently, cutting away more and more of my dark brown locks, and the clock in the corner of the shop ticked away. The book was good and I started paying more attention to it than my appearance in the mirror. After awhile she began to brush the hair off my shoulders, a sign that she was finishing up, and I glanced up in the mirror to a scene more horrible than any I have seen before. There, where my beautiful head of hair had previously been, was something that resembled nothing so much as a fringe of bad carpet. If this was "not too short" then too short would have required actually peeling the scalp off the bone and then grinding away at the skull itself. I had almost nothing left. Just enough to accentuate the fact that I was balding up front. The process had taken 45 minutes. 45 minutes to destroy my self-esteem. 45 minutes that shall live in haircare infamy.
I paid, tipped (I didn't want to know what she would do if I didn't tip.) and left, trying to console myself with the knowledge that if I were drafted into the military I would be ready, or at least my hair would.
Nothing happened of note, except for my scalp feeling like a cross between Antarctica and a Klondike bar.
This was the day of the interview itself. I woke up early, wired with energy and ready to go. As my first act of the morning I decided to shave. That was where it all started to go wrong.
The thing about shaving is that it involves holding a razor-sharp blade against your face. This is necessary to rid yourself of unsightly hair (Jesus hates the chin-pubes) but it also gives it a disturbing similarity to being mugged, and, well, if you're not careful you can cut yourself. Four times. Before you notice it. And then you can stare at yourself in the mirror and the blossoming dots of blood on your face and realize that you're going to a job interview looking like someone who lost a fight to a weed whacker (false) or who cannot be trusted to reliably execute even the most rote and basic task (regrettably true.)
This it not how you make a Good Impression (tm).
After the blood congealed on my lip I decided that I needed to form an action plan. This is what you do when you realize that you've fucked up and can't possibly fix it but you need to do something other than feel like an idiot. You formulate an action plan. My action plan was to go get a new pair of shoes and a shiny new razor that would finish shaving my face without taking any more chunks of flesh out of it.
The best laid plans of mice and men...
I walked to the shoe store, about 3/4ths of a mile away, past about 5 shoe-repair stores (why are shoe repair stores so much more popular than stores that sell new shoes? Isn't this the new disposable society? Is there someone mailing people free shoes that nobody told me about? I demand answers. Demand them!) and went in. Immediately I was accosted by a Pakistani salesman who informed me that with my fat feet there was no way I was jamming them into a pair of timberlands or anything nice, and the only shoes he really had to offer were New Balance. I found this a little rude, but probably not incorrect. New Balance is the only brand that consistently fits me. So I decided to purchase a pair of black New Balance shoes. The salesman poo-pooed my choice and told me that another shoe was far superior for fat people. "It has been medically shown that people with a lot of extra weight should wear this shoe. Doctors have said it." Yeah, doctors who are paid to endorse $100 pairs of shoes. I asked him to bring both pairs out and I tried them on. While the shoes he suggested were kind of ugly I had to admit that he was right and they were far more comfortable, so reluctantly I decided to buy both. After all they're sneakers, they don't go bad. It's not like buying two gallons of milk. Sneakers keep very well.
As I got ready to purchase the shoes the salesman made another comment about them being great for overweight people and then said something like "So, what are you doing about that? I cannot sell these shoes to someone who is not serious about losing weight. They are very special shoes only for fatties with dedication to getting thin." I said something about working on it, which he took to mean working out, and that seemed to satisfy him, sort of. He gave me the evil eye as I left the store and when I went into a Rite-Aid to buy a new razor I half expected him to leap out from behind the candy rack and shout "Do not even think about it! Take a Snickers and I will cut you, bitch. Cut you with your own razor. Give me back the shoes, you are not worthy."
As for the interview itself? It went okay, considering the fact that I was wearing a sports coat and tie and everyone else was wearing jeans, or bermuda shorts, or in one case what appeared to be a rather unsightly poodle pelt. That is to say it went horribly. Oh well. At least it was a learning experience. What did we learn?
1) Never trust a hairdresser you haven't known for years.
2) Cheap razors will cut you, man.
3) Pakistani shoe salesmen are crazy motherfuckers.
4) Don't dress to impress, except when you should, and you'll never know exactly when that is.
5) If you're a fat man invariably someone will ask you if you'd like to sit down in a very flimsy chair and you'll be caught in the awkward situation of standing, or risking breaking said flimsy chair.
6) People love to get shoes repaired but nobody knows where they come from.