Corona Hair: Salon Daze

Well I did it. Finally cut off my Corona hair. Man it got long. And curly. And unmanageable. Even the best products on the market were no match. It had gone well past the stage of being a novelty and now a nuisance. But I felt a little committed or invested to see how far I could take it; how long it could get.

Now let me say right off, there was some vanity involved here. Several people said they liked it and thought my burgeoning Mr Kotter hairdo looked good.  I would suggest those people go for MRIs as soon as possible. Young people, see the Kotter pic for reference, or you know, get on the google.


My Patron Saint

So yeah man, I’m not immune to vanity. Not to mention I’ll be 53 in a couple of months. I was intrigued and am quietly pleased that my hair grew that much at my age. So part of me also wanted to see if it would just keep on going. And surprisingly it did.

For context and comparison to the Gabe Kaplan pic over there, peep the pic that earned me the Mr. Kotter nickname from my wife. It’s a little grainy like a bigfoot sighting, but you can clearly see the hair helmet taking shape.

This shot was not long before I left for basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.



Kotter hair, don’t care.

It just occurred to me I had the stash going as well.  It was the style man, what are you gonna do. A few short years after this picture, after having my head shaved and maintaining a very close cropped haircut, I had my first salon experience.

Needing a haircut bad before I reported for work, I was forced to go to a salon. And at the time I say forced because up until that moment I went to barbers only. In my mind salons were for girls. I was a red blooded fighting man. (In total honesty the Air Force did very little fighting in those days, unless you count the fighting for a good parking space at the BX.)

I grew up with Joe the Barber. Joe Mangiello cut my hair from when i was a little kid until I was an adult.  He cut my father’s hair. That’s where we got our haircut, at Joe the Barber’s. That’s it. There was never talk of a salon.

When Joe the Barber retired we found another dude to cut our hair.  A barber. But there I was, 23 years old and walking into a salon in the mall because I had no choice.  I needed to have my haircut.  It was an eye opener on several levels.

Did you know they wash your hair in those joints?  Once I got over resting my head in that weird sink, it became a … well i’m just gonna say it.  A religious experience would possibly be an understatement. I had no idea.

Now this was 30 plus years ago so I feel comfortable saying the following. The woman washing my hair was stunning to say the least. And she was washing my hair so I had that going for me.

She only had to squirt me in the face with that hose thing one time, as I was falling asleep. It was like massage therapy. Once that warm water hit my head I was light out. Almost. A deft shot from the little water gun rinser thing had me wide awake; and provided her a good laugh. Salons, as it turns out, are just win/win scenarios.

Who knew?

She sat me up immediately remarking that my hair was as healthy as she had seen and predicted I would die with a full head of hair. Now that prediction could have easily come true had I gotten smoked by a dump truck on the way home from that haircut, but I got what she meant.

She also said that my hair would not only keep growing it would take on the characteristics of a steel wool pad as I approached 60.  Well that didn’t seem very positive. But I was still basking in the glow of my hair washing so I didn’t really care.

Well hair stylist lady, if you’re reading this, you were right on the money. My hair is still growing strong at the age of almost 53. And because of that and the current pandemic it’s way down the back of my neck. And because of that I didn’t want to trust my three month overdue shearing to just anyone.  I was heading to a salon. Again. With a more than full head of gray hair in all its out of control gloriousness.

I was in the trusty hands of a good friend. Thank god. The Corona conditions were gonna be bad enough; mask, wait in line out side the joint, etc… I felt it much better to be in the hands of someone I knew and someone I knew to be a serious professional when it came to the craft of styling hair.

So there I was, in the parking lot of the Ross & Co. contemplating putting on my mask. I was looking pretty swarthy. Tanned up olive complexion from playing golf, slicked back hair.  I was looking like an extra from God Father IV. As it was Tracy told me in no uncertain terms, “The Guido look has to go.” Guido, for the ill informed, is a slur hurled at Italians that we have embraced as a term of endearment. The sting removed long ago.

Heritage slight or no, she was right. It had to go. The hair was killing me. I couldn’t stand the way it felt. Regardless of how some liked the long curls. It just wasn’t a good look.  It was taking a lot more energy to wash and, god help me, use conditioner. My damn arms were getting tired.

My second ever trip to a salon was not as eye opening as the first, but it still went well. And if you live in the greater Knoxville area give Courtney a shout at Ross & Co. She’s a hairstylist of the first order. After a surprisingly smooth 30 minutes, mask and all, I was back to my short hair. I miss Joe the Barber, but the salon trip ain’t half bad.

Unfortunately no wash this time.

Damn you Corona!


Corona Hair and Cooking Class: Living Through History

For all you old faithful followers, you know who you are, I’m not back to writing again… I don’t think.  A thought occurred to me and has not left my head so I’m banging away on the keyboard in hopes of excising it; a bit like a sore tooth.

It’s not even a very profound thought. Frankly it has no profundity at all. When you read this whole thing you’ll be sadly disappointed, I promise.  You will most likely wonder why I even bothered. And why is it so damned long? Trust me I’m wondering that too as I fix error after error, typo after typo, clearly rusty and lacking any type of flow on my keyboard. But as a good friend once said, Hey man find your battel rhythm and get on with it. So I’m getting on with it.

It was really just a  comment I heard from someone else’s conversation that sparked the thought in the first place and now I can’t rid myself of it. The comment, unlike this post, was actually very profound. Since I’m devoid of deep thought I’m stealing it.

Nothing will be the same. Nothing we do will ever be the same. Our world and the way we do things has changed forever. 

This was a co-worker and he was obviously driving home a very serious thought in a very serious time. The world he was referring to was our workplace and our mission and how we do business in the age of Corona. The moment itself wasn’t serious really; just another meeting in a sea of meetings. But it was said with such matter of fact-ness and passion, if I can use that word, that it stuck with me the rest of the day, the ride home and every day since then.

And yeah man it is serious stuff and should be taken as such. But one thought kept dove tailing from my mind onto his eloquent but short declaration. Something has changed, and it will forever change the way we do business where I work. And the thought kept churning and churning as I drove home from what would be my last trip from the plant for almost a month:

I can’t believe they are going to let us work from home!

The work from home revelation was so surprising I didn’t even know how to act. Should I still get dressed? Should I shave and do my rug up all nice? Then I went to the other extreme. Should I stay logged in longer than my normal 10hr day? Should I take bathroom breaks? Should I skip lunch and stay at my computer? Am I allowed to get up, walk the seven steps to the kitchen from my cozy home office and get a snack if I prefer?

Who knew, who knows?  Hard to say.  So I sat and I sat, at the ready on my home PC.

A little side note here.  They will never get the credit they deserve, but our IT department are assassins.  They ramped up a pandemic plan and got everyone who needed it, and we’re talking thousands of employees, set up at home in crazy fast fashion. Their efficiency at getting the whole network set up and handling serious traffic so quickly after the order was given, and as positive Covid cases began to mount in our area, saved lives. I have no doubt of that. Absolute steely eyed assassins.

Now back to my working from home ethical conundrum. Turns out the issue was of my own making. Someone put it simply, which is good because I’m a simpleton.

Do you take bathroom breaks at work? Yes. Well then take them at home. Do you stop for lunch at work? Yes. Well…

You see where this is going.  So easy even I could follow along. So here is the double edged sword of finally getting comfortable that you’re not screwing the company because you get up to pee in your own toilet three times in a ten hour period.


Getting comfortable is the worst thing you could do working from home.

I mean it’s not like I was laying on or near the couch drunk as a hoot owl by noon or anything. But I got comfortable in my kitchen real fast. With the kids home and the general populace wearing masks like people who had no idea how to wear masks, I decided to do one huge shopping trip and then eat the fridge and pantry empty before venturing out again. That meant cooking.  Three meals a day. And it shows.

It has become so bad, my oldest, now 10 and a veteran of cooking classes from a joint down the street even remarked about the daily menu. Um daddy? We’re eating a lot of steak these days aren’t we? 

Yes Frank and the reason for that is daddy saw Gordon Ramsey do it over and over while binge watching all 17 seasons of Hell’s Kitchen. And I’d really appreciate you getting out of my face about it.

Unfazed, he moved on to the other thing that really showed during this work from home excursion. My hair. Daddy did you brush your hair, cause it doesn’t look like it. 

Tact is not his strong suit. No clue where that trait, or lack there of comes from.

But tact or no, he was right on both fronts. Actually I am a little disappointed in him.  He failed to noticed another issue. It’s one he gleefully points out most times. I guess he figures it was so obvious he needed not highlight it.

I’ve gained 11 pounds in a little over three weeks. And it’s all Gordon Ramsey’s fault.

Back in December Frank and I were both sick for long periods of time with flu like symptoms. Frank was actually diagnosed with Flu B. I had the same symptoms; except for one.  I lost my appetite. I wasn’t nauseated. I just didn’t want to eat. A very rare thing for me. Nothing tasted good to me. Even my beloved Diet Canada Dry was not hitting the mark.

So while I wallowed on the couch, not eating, coughing my head off and feverish, a condition that went on for almost three weeks, I binged watched all 17 seasons of Hell’s Kitchen at a sharp 18 to 20 episodes a season. Watching Ramsey teach those chefs how to properly cook a ribeye steak in a frying pan while calling them all donkeys was a revelation.

Hence all the steak now. Application comes after comprehension. And I felt like I finally understood how not to turn a steak into a burned shoe.  It was a glorious lesson. So I am practicing.  A lot.

All the while my gut was getting bigger and my hair… well my hair was and still is out of control. I’m using product for the first time in my life if that means anything to you.

Here is a pic right before corona and from right now





Yeah man.  It’s real and it’s spectacular.

That’s about it.  That’s what’s been churning in my brain pan. See, nothing earth shattering. Just a realization that my work world has changed and for the better in some instances, my hair is longer than before I had it shaved off in basic training some 32 years ago, and it is possible to cook a perfect ribeye in a frying pan.

As for the Corona, it’s likely Frank and I both had it Christmas through New Year.  The anti-body tests might confirm that. Maybe not.

I was promised the doorway to hair long enough to go with a pony tail is just 3 or 4 bad weeks and then it would be fine. May have to test that theory but it ain’t lookin good. 

Work from home is tapering off for now. It may stick as a good idea going forward. No clue really. Hope so. I’ll definitely need to mix in a home office exercise program.

Hope there’s a Netflix series for that.