Dab

Dab (v): to pat or tap gently, as with something soft or moist:

I have written about him before.

But let me not be so foolish as to think that my readership is poring over each and every article, as if trying to discover the secrets of the Dead Sea Scrolls or the true intention of the Magna Carta.

His name was Mr. Wintermute and he was the town barber.

He was a small man, did not have a wife and possessed a very high voice.

dab, Brylcreem, Dead Sea Scrolls, Magna Carta, gay, hermit, hermit crab, haircut, barber, small town, a little dab’ll do ya, haircuts, community theater, Hostess Snowballs, tricks, bratty, fat boy,

Nowadays, we would joyfully proclaim him gay, but in that season, he was soft and sweet.

He also was a hermit. But he was a cheery hermit—in other words, not a hermit crab.

He always tried to relate to the young people who were forced to sit in his chair to get their monthly haircuts. (For some reason, our parents were extraordinarily concerned that hair not be given the chance to become wild and wooly.)

At the same time, on television, Brylcreem had begun an ad campaign with the slogan, “A little dab will do ya.”

It was an accurate statement, since Brylcreem had the consistency of toothpaste mingled with glue.

So Mr. Wintermute would come to the end of a very uncomfortable hair-cutting session—where in ten minutes he would have asked twelve questions and received no answers. And right before he let you out of the chair, he always said, “Would you like some good stuff? I mean, for the girls, remember—a little dab’ll do ya’.”

Honestly—it was well-rehearsed. Certainly up to the quality of community theater. But I was only eleven years old. I was not thinking about girls. I was more concerned with raising the funds to buy some Hostess Snowballs and how to relieve some of the galding between my chubby legs.

So I whimpered some sort of “no” in his direction, and he always countered, “You’re good-lookin’. You don’t need tricks.”

I never treated that man well.

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anybody work so hard for seventy-five cents and the approval of a bratty, small-town fat boy.

It was years before I realized that I could use Brylcreem on my hair and it would hold it up and in place—so it wouldn’t fall down on my ears, causing my parents to insist that I get it cut.

Yes, Mr. Wintermute—a little dab actually does do you.

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