Rickter Scale: Follicle follies hair to stay

The Rickter Scale is a regular column

Rick Stiebel before the COVID-19 pandemic. He would send a current photo. (Black Press Media file photo)

Rick Stiebel before the COVID-19 pandemic. He would send a current photo. (Black Press Media file photo)

Rick Stiebel/Columnist

My usually reliable brush isn’t handling the lockdown well.

It bristles at any attempt to coax my coif into assuming the position and rejects outright extra strokes aimed at flattening the curve. It’s left me looking like a silver-haired version of mid-’60s Ringo Starr meets mid-’40s Moe from the Three Stooges.

Six weeks in, my sideburns have taken on a life of their own. On the best days, they magically morph into bats frantically fleeing a brush fire.

The rest of the time they look like the turn signals that stick out of the sides of old European cars that most of you are too young to remember.

Meanwhile, my eyebrows have embarked upon an uncontrolled growth spurt that, according to the bride, leaves me looking like a horned owl.

Attempts to trim them myself went sideways, exacerbated by the fact that the range of colours for eyebrow pencils does not include white, whiter, or salt and pepper.

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The upside is that I’m wearing my mask more when we’re out in public in a vain, futile attempt to distract people from the folly of my follicles. It doesn’t seem to be working, however, judging by the looks I get from people we pass during our daily walks through the old golf course in Sooke.

For those of you scoring at home, I’m up to about two kilometres of forced march a day. The bride skips the drive home with me, however, because she says she prefers to add a couple of miles to her stroll.

The skeptic in me believes it’s her way of escaping my witless banter.

On our recent once-a-week outing to the grocery store – without a doubt, the unquestioned highlight of our weekend outings these days – Joan ran into a client who looked like he just stepped out of a stylist’s chair.

She mentioned how nice his hair looked, with me standing beside her for a before and after comparison. After ensuring no one else was in hearing range, he whispered, “I got a guy.”

Although you can’t be too careful about accidentally identifying your black market barber, I was tempted to ask if his guy made house calls. Instead, I mentioned that Joan has offered to cut my hair and that I was seriously considering caving to her craving to carve my cranium.

“What have you got to lose?” he asked with the smug confidence that comes with having “a guy.”

I admitted to Joan that I’m on the brink of turning the bride loose, despite her lack of expertise as a hairdresser, which seemed to add a certain spring to her step.

That’s on hold for now, though, after I took a peek at next week’s shopping list.

Seeing garden shears raised one balding eyebrow because we don’t have a hedge, and for the life of me, I can’t think of anything inside or outside our house that requires a belt sander.

Rick Stiebel is a semi-retired local journalist.

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