Touched by an Angel

I was in Zurich yesterday, window shopping, when I noticed my reflection in the glass, and concluded a haircut was in order. The closest place was called Finest Barbers, and I was curious to see if the establishment lived up to its name. My barber was Sammy, from Turkey. He told me he’d been cutting hair for ten years.

“In a row?” I asked.
He nodded, but I’m not sure the joke landed.
“How long have you been in Zurich,” I asked, “laboring among the world’s finest barbers?”
“Four months,” he said.
“Are you busy here?”
“Yes, I cut eight to ten heads every day.”
“Is that a lot?” I asked.
“Well, before here, I was in Germany. Was maybe busier there.”
“How much busier?”
“In Germany, I cut maybe twenty heads a day, sometimes more.”
“Well, I said, “it’s a well-known fact the Germans grow their hair faster than the Swiss.”
Another barber, working on another customer behind us, snorted. Sammy wondered if I was serious.
“Oh yes,” I said. “It’s a fact. Germans are like chiapets. Their hair grows like the pelt on a beaver. You can look it up.”
Sammy nodded thoughtfully, but the barber behind me laughed long and loud. I caught his eye in the mirror.
“You’ve been to Germany?” I said. They’re a very hairy people, am I right?”
“No,” he laughed. “But I know your voice! And when you say it, it sounds like it could be so!”
The other barbers name was Angel Rodriquez, and like Sammy, he spoke several languages. Five, in fact. Unlike Sammy, he was also the owner of the barber shop, and a big fan of the Discovery Channel. So, I recorded a plug for Finest Barbers on his iPhone, in my very best Deadliest Catch voice, and invited him to use it in whatever way he thought efficacious. Angel was delighted.
“That was so awesome! Please, allow me to return the favor.”
“What did you have in mind,” I asked.
“A special treat,” he said, “just for the Dirty Jobs man!”

After Sammy finished with my haircut, which was excellent, by the way, I went to Angel’s chair, and had a memorable chat about work ethic, entrepreneurship, and the value of mastering a skill that’s in demand. As we chatted, Angel dipped some Q-Tips into a fondue pot filled with hot wax. The wax was black for some reason – like the pitch they apply to ropes on the tall ships, to keep them from fraying. As we chatted, Angel inserted the black Q-Tips into my nostrils, and waited for the wax to harden.
“Is this a service you include with all haircuts,” I asked.

“No,” said Angel. “This is an additional $15 francs. “But not for you, my friend. This one is on the house.”
“You’re too kind,” I said.
“Don’t mention it,” said Angel.
After a minute or two, the wax was sufficiently hard, and the suspense was sufficiently built.
“Just relax,” Angel told me. “I’ll count down from three.”
I tried to relax. Angel said, “Three…” and quickly ripped the Q-Tips from my nostrils. I screamed, and maybe peed a little.
“Wow,” I said, “looking at the results. I had no idea there was so much hair in my nose.”
Angel smiled and said, “just imagine if you were German?”

Anyway, if you find yourself in Zurich and in need of a trim, please tell the Finest Barbers that the dirty jobs guy sends his regards. And if you go with the internal nose wax, you’ll find the Swiss air even more bracing and more invigorating than before…

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