My Van Gogh Moment: A Covid Cautionary Tale


I offer a cautionary tale of sorts today. It’s partly about the efforts I am taking to stay safe, but I must also admit to the fact that it speaks to my own sense of thriftiness.

I should also mention that that I did seriously contemplate legal action to compensate for pain and suffering that I received during the event I’m about to share with you, namely mayhem upon my ear. It ultimately occurred to me though, that the defendant against whom I would be making such a claim, happens to be listed as a co-owner on our homeowners policy. This means that by extension I would be also suing myself. I suspect a court would reject the claim.

Allow me to explain…

Perhaps the only bright spot for us during this pandemic, and hopefully for you too, is the impact that it’s had on our household budget. Other than food and prescription purchases, discretionary spending is at a level I haven’t seen since my early twenties, when “discretion” was merely a term that helped guide me to pay either the electric bill or see the Talking Heads in concert (it wasn’t a hard decision; I owned several flashlights).

This time around the choices aren’t thankfully as stark. All of our obligations are safely being met with even a wee bit of a surplus to boot. Items such as clothes, cosmetics, restaurant meals, etc., now represent a paltry sum in our monthly expenses. For that we are fortunate, especially as so many others out there continue to be struggling.

As an example, I single out one expense in particular that has a big fat zero for your humble blogger: haircuts. Of all the public places and spaces into which we’ve made tentative steps since last spring’s stay-at-home ended, I personally have not set foot in my local barber shop. It’s not a point of pride but rather an outlier example of my own covid squeamishness. We own a set of hair clippers, so I’ve begged, pleaded, and cajoled Gorgeous into doing the honors for me. Safe and cheap.

It’s all gone down swimmingly, if I say so myself. I really don’t care how my hair looks, but I think she actually does a dandy of a job. For instance, with my mask on while out in public now, I am constantly mistaken for Hugh Grant. Definitely a win-win when you include the savings.

Uncanny, isn’t it?
Source: Indiewire

Unfortunately, this process hasn’t been completely without drama. I’m speaking now of the ear incident mentioned earlier, not the problem of women constantly asking me for my autograph. Now that the drama is all over, it’s quite a charming little tale to be honest. At the time, however, was somewhat frightening. What with all the blood and all.

The fun began after Gorgeous removed the razor guard on the hair clippers to shave the back of my neck. It was here when she noticed areas around my ears that needed extra attention.

What is it about older men and hair anyway? I remember when my dad began to sprout in odd places about his dome too. One can complain about the ravages of gravity, but for me it’s more about the hair. Quite often now I’m seeing it coming out in areas which previously I considered to be part of my most chiseled features (re: see Mr. Grant, above).

But back to the mayhem. Either Gorgeous forgot that she removed the clipper guard, or more likely she confused my head with one of her art projects. Either way, she proceeded to GOUGE part of my left ear in an attempt to rid it of its excess bristle. This happened during the final moments of the haircut; a most unhappy ending. So to speak.

Immediately my mind went right to that classic SNL skit with Dan Aykroyd impersonating Julia Child (“Oh, now I’ve done it -I’ve cut the dickens out of my finger!”). With blood beginning to pour from the ear and onto my t-shirt, I thought it might be a good time to stop the proceedings and apply first aid with water, alcohol, and maybe an antiseptic topical of some kind. But Gorgeous, bless her, was determined that we continue to rid my noggin of all those unsightly growths.

I wasn’t dying, for G-d sakes. Man up.

Source: by license via The HungryJpeg

A later inspection showed the ear to be fine. There’s a small wound that is already healing quite well. “Barely noticeable!,” Gorgeous remarked in bright, optimistic tones the other morning. “You’re all set now for another couple of months!” It was the gleam in her eye when she spoke that I found to be the most disconcerting part; as if she’s rather looking quite forward to that next opportunity.

If one takes Doctors’ Redfield and Fauci’s time estimates on getting a vaccine to be realistic, which I do, then it appears that we’re all going to continue to wear masks, practice social distancing, etc., until at least next summer. For me this means I’m going to remain remain wary about eating in restaurants, traveling, going into small shops, and all of the other things that I so desperately miss.

But I will have to wrap my head around whether or not I’ll go back to the barber shop. Which might be better than actual wraps around my head.

Tonight is the last night of the Jewish New Year and the Rosh Hashanah holiday. Hope springs that this time next year will be sweeter for all of us.

Until next time…

Happy New Year 5781!

55 thoughts on “My Van Gogh Moment: A Covid Cautionary Tale

  1. Shana tova! I cut my husband’s hair as well and have so far managed not to cut his ear while trimming those strange sprouting objects but he is always quite nervous that I will. There are benefits to keep one’s spouse terrorized, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I cut my husband’s hair all the time. For the past 20 years without a pandemic! Only one mishap. In starting, I forgot to put the proper guard on the clipper and ran up the back of his head. Oops! He had 4 inches of a clean shaven path. Fortunately he couldn’t see it so he didn’t care. Everyone else was too polite to ask what happened. Shana tov!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A couple of months into our COVID shutdown Richard begged for me to cut his hair at home. I stood firm on my answer, No. Way.
    Your cautionary tale is a great example why.
    But my refusal did come with a price (other than that of haircuts that is). Richard and I don’t have great stories like your to share.
    Well written.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hubby has been cutting his hair (the few hairs he still has on his head) himself for years. Once in a while he’ll ask me to help trim the far back side, but he’s able to do it mostly by himself, without blood. I’ve been known to cut my own hair as well. Since I live 99% of the time with it in a pony tail, not much is needed style wise. And yes, that wonderful hair style will now probably continue on….I have no idea when I’ll even wear anything but t-shirts & shorts. At least I change out of pjs!

    Loved the Van Gogh reference.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally understand, Pat. It seems the cosmetic industry — lipstick I guess in particular — is indeed feeling the crunch right now. Not that if I’m honest I ever really noticed that expenditure prior to the pandemic; it was pretty well hidden from me. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. OMG… I didn’t even realize this – I don’t wear lipstick that much anymore because when I go out, I have to put on a mask! And who cares at home. The ripple effect from this pandemic is huge.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve been giving my husband his haircuts since lockdown… some results have been better than others (although I have yet to nick his ear). If I continue to improve – and, as you say, the current situation lasts into next summer – I have a feeling he won’t ever return to a salon. Of course, I won’t let him near my hair (or ears) with a pair of scissors so that expense will remain in the budget.

    I hope you mend soon but, in the meantime, milk your injury for all it’s worth.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not nearly as good at trimming David’s hair as Gorgeous is at doing yours. He’s mostly bald, and his hair is so white that it’s hard to see. He’s just lucky he still has ears.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Glad you lived to tell the story. 🙂 We’ve both been going to get our hair cut, but we do push the time limit a little. I’ve learned enough new skills and made changes in this pandemic so I just get a simple cut and go out happy that one thing every 4-6 weeks seems somewhat normal. Stay well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hmmm, I guess I’m lucky. Hubby buzzes his own head (he’s bald and goes for the all-around buzz) for about 99% of the cut. I come with the buzzer (!) to do around the ears and find any places he might have missed. Easy Peasy. So once you’re over being taken for Hugh Grant – tho I will say there might just be a pleasant likeness – think about the Yul Brenner look for the 21st COVID century…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. LOLOL! I cut the ex’s hair for more than thirty years. Never a mishap (until the last time he yelled to not cut his f***ing ear off.) After hearing that all those years…I put the scissors down and never picked them back up.
    He never would let me touch those wiley eyebrow hairs that had their own zip code though. He was too cheap to go to a barber, so now? He has a long grey ponytail down his back. Bwahahahaha! Poor thing…but at least he has both of his ears. 😬

    Liked by 1 person

  9. RE: ” I suspect a court would reject the claim.” Don’t be too sure, Marty. One quarter of our shared former paycheck provider, is now populated by judges appointed by one Donald Trump, and there is no telling exactly how that group might apply the law as it applies to barbaric barbering incidents…….or anything else.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You said “discretionary spending is at a level I haven’t seen since my early twenties” and I thought same here. I hadn’t quite processed that aspect of the upside of Covid-19. If this goes on as long as I think it will, it’s going to be 2022 before we ever do anything wild like eat out or *gasp* travel abroad. I wonder how much money we’ll have saved by not living our lives like normal. Something to ponder.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suppose that’s a cold comfort for many of us, Ally. I dithered on whether to comment on that actually because there are so many who are struggling right now. But at the same time, it is a positive thing for those of us who are following the rules anyway.

      Re: travel. My bride, who even in the best of times hates the thought of going anywhere far, mentioned just yesterday how when all of this is over she wants to travel to Ireland. To say I was shocked is an understatement! Yet another upside perhaps.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Marty, Suspense, smile, slightly sick feeling in my stomach. It must be Gorgeous on the hot seat.

    Haircuts have been an issue around our house. My husband will not let me near him with scissors. Ergo, my Brother said something to him about his “flowing locks of hair.”

    Darn on the “GOUGE.” Gorgeous is very artistic and I am sure she will continue to do a wonderful job with your hair. Watch out, Hugh Grant! You have met your match. We just got back from a camping trip. Thank you for my smile.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If my hair could flow, I’d love to have some of those flowing locks, Erica. Unfortunately, I have stiff hair which ends up looking really bad whenever I’ve tried to grow it out. I’m jealous of your husband even without seeing him. 🙂 Hope you had fun on your camping trip!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. …and here I was…same situation as Gorgeous…looking, no staring ! at the fine hair growing on the ear of my beloved housemate. I looked up the appropriate name and the part is referred to as “Helix”.
    I just finalized (again) the requested hair cut…no stylist would be embarrassed about, and I was thinking about taking a short cut. if I just could use the clippers to smooth the Helix and get rid of the fine hair in one go, that would be great.
    But…having read the story about your blood bath and recalling the misfortunes of our Vincent, I refrained from the temptation…and that was a blessing, because we had just mopped the kitchen floor.

    Thank you Marty (and Gorgeous)!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. May the lord (or any patron saint of personal care) protect our sacred helix (helixes?)!!

      Good for you in obsessing over those pesky ear hairs, Elizabeth; you do get credit for that. But I definitely feel that perfection is something we can all agree should be set aside in these perilous times. One gold star awarded to you for both effort and preservation! 🌟 🌟


      Liked by 1 person

      1. true…you got a point. Next time I won’t wear reading glasses and what I don’t see is simply not there. Thank you for the gold star. I never had one like those.
        When at uni, I cut the hair if my peers and was paid with my favourite brand of coffee.
        Have fun tonight and if you can’t bear it, there is always “Schitt’s Creek” 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve been cutting Himself’s hair with the clippers for a couple of years now. The really brave step is that I let him loose with the clippers on mine. I’ve long had short (if styled) hair and stuck with it for as long as I could, but when my fringe started to scratch my eyeballs, I knew I had to get brave. He did a decent job, and so I let him do it again. This time he got over-confident and used the scissors on my fringe. Now I look like a 5-year old who’s cut their own hair. Seriously, I have a photo of my daughter at that age just after she’d done likewise – and there is a striking resemblance. I’ve had to promise her a) not to show it to her daughter, and b) never to talk about it in her daughter’s hearing.

    PS: My sympathies over the wound. It’s truly surprising quite how much blood resides in ears – a hairdresser once snipped my earlobe when I was wearing a white cashmere jumper. The earlobe recovered, the jumper not so much …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read this aloud as we sat with our coffee this morning. You had us howling, Deb! So sorry for your haircut, but the saving grace in all of this is that it’s not like social invitations are being extended much these days. Plenty of time to grow back! 🙂

      Blood on cashmere??!!!! Oh, dear.


      1. Marty, delighted I was able to provide entertainment to yourself & your good lady. I’m sanguine for precisely the reasons you mention.

        As for the blood on cashmere – it was a long time ago and I’ve learned not to be so daft as to wear a jumper to the hairdressers. I think I may’ve forgotten I had an appointment when I got dressed that morning …

        Liked by 1 person

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