Tim Belford: Short Takes On Life
Tim Belford
Tim Belford
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Tim Belford is host of Quebec A.M. -- CBC Radio's popular English- language morning show (91.7 FM, 6-9, Mon.-Fri). He also is said to know a thing or three about wine.

Posted 09.26.02
Quebec City


Save the barbers.

There's hardly an endangered species out there that doesn't have someone or some group to defend it.

We've got "Save the whales," the SPCA, and "Peta" looking after the ethical treatment of animals.

We've got the government defending the piping plover, wolf enthusiast -- heck there's even concern over the preservation of the Massasauga rattler.

There's a whole movement trying to save the six remaining marmots on Vancouver Island and certain towns, I think in Nova Scotia, are building underpasses so a local population of toads can cross the highway to mate without ending up as road kill.

Well, I've got one more to add to the list. The barber!

I'm not talking hair stylist here. I'm not talking about anyone waving a blow dryer, a tube of mousse, or a curling iron.

I'm talking barber.

I'm talking about the man -- sorry ladies it has to be a man -- who takes clippers and scissors and trims my hair.

The guy who can give me a short top and sides, tell me the score of last night's CFL game, and knows who's building what in the vacant lot down the street.

There was a time in this fair land when barber shops and barbers abounded.

Every town had at least one. You could get a shave, a haircut, and even have your nose hairs trimmed. No fuss, no bother, and it cost about a buck fifty.

Given inflation, I'm even willing to pay about ten bucks. Which is what I normally do.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get to my regular barber the other day. I was in a different city but needed a hair cut anyway.

The first place I tried had a sign outside saying "barbier-coiffeur."

I knew I was in trouble when I walked in and instead of offering me a chair and a copy of field and stream to read they asked me if I had an appointment.

The second place looked a little more promising. It had a regular barber poll outside, real barber chairs inside, and no one asked me if I'd reserved a table for two.

Luckily, however, before I placed my backside in a chair and looked for an old Reader's Digest, I noticed the price card posted on the wall. If I wanted a regular cut it was fifteen bucks. Styled it was twenty, and if I wanted a specialty cut - whatever that was - it was twenty-five!

I fled.

You have to remember, I've been going to basically just two barbers for the past thirty-five years.

The first one was the father of the next one. For God's sake, the family knew my head!

In all those years I'd never been styled, moussed, blow dried, or razor cut.

I just got a hair cut, all the latest gossip, and a good joke or two.

And I'll be darned if I'm going to start paying more and more to trim what has become less and less.

So belugas - excuse my profanity - be damned. Let's hear it for the save the barber campaign.