Ron’s Time Tunnel: The Razor’s Edge

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One Saturday evening, an “out-of-towner” needed a shave and a haircut. The regular barber, Rush Gadson, was closed for the day. Rush cut hair out of a room in his; big, old, home, which once stood on the corner of 4th and Seaboard Street, just across the railroad tracks.

I always found Rush’s name fascinating, but even more so, when my father told me his full name; “Russian Corinthian Woodrow Wilson Gadson”, he’d chimed lyrically. That name invoked reminiscence of our “Cold War” nemesis, a New Testament book, and the “bookish” 28th President of these United States of America; how regal the barber’s name sounded to my young ears.

Later in life, I thought of Rush whenever, the actor Ricardo Montalban, elegantly informed TV audiences,  in a thick Spanish accent, that the new 1975 Chrysler Cardoba featured seats upholstered in the rich sounding, “Corinthian Leather”.

Subsequently, and much to my dismay, I discovered that the exotically dubbed, “Corinthian Leather”, was manufactured by a supplier outside of Newark, New Jersey. What a let-down!

I was almost as disappointed, after learning the disillusioning truth about “Corinthian Leather”, as when I found out that “Naugahyde” did not really come from an ugly little animal known as a “Nauga”, but was only what later came to be known as “Pleather”. Untruth in advertising” at its best!

Well the “out-of-towner” stopped by Gramp’s house that evening to “shoot the bull” with Grandaddy. As it turned out, the “foreigner” was actually an old friend of Grandaddy’s and the two of them, but mostly the “out-of-towner”, spent the next eternity, catching up on the latest; “Who-Shot-John?”, the visitor’s travel’s, how tall the short dog was, how short the tall dog was, or some such thing.

This gentleman, it turns out, was a great gossip, but he eventually got around to asking Grandaddy the locale of anyone who could dish a decent “shave and cut”. In response, Grandaddy pointed out the house next door; the humble abode of our one-legged Uncle-in-law, Uncle Son, whom the “out-of-towner” would soon find out, was not much for gossip and whose repertoire of haircuts was limited to what he could accomplish with a bowl, clippers, and a razor.

My brother and I were recipients of Uncle Son’s “haircuts” exclusively, throughout our early years.

Well, the man went over to Uncle Son’s who, reluctantly, agreed to provide the “shave and cut”. Uncle Son began to cut. The man began to talk; “This little town gets kinda wild at night” he commented.

Uncle Son cut; “I don’t know, things pretty quiet right now” Uncle Son muttered.

The man talked some more while Uncle Son “stropped” his razor.

The man continued to talk, “I hearsay there’s a lot of murders in this town” he stated in a tone that was more implicative than interrogative.

Uncle Son lathered the man’s face; “We don’t call ‘em murders here, we call ‘em killin’s”, Uncle Son scoffed.

The man continued talking; “Well, when was the last time ya’ll had a killing, as you call it?”

Uncle Son started to shave the man; “Last week.” he snarled, matter-of-factly.

“Whereabouts was he killed?” asked the out-of-towner excitedly, for he loved himself some juicy gossip. “Right out there in the street in front of the house.” Uncle Son growled; full-blown annoyance now tainting his voice.

“Well come on man, out with it! Who done it?” urged the man. Uncle Son quietly placed the razor’s sharp, gleaning edge against the man’s Adam’s apple and hissed demoniacally into the nosy out-of-towner’s ear, “I done it”.

The man hushed and Uncle Son finished the shave in icy but peaceful, silence.

OCCAM’s RAZOR: A principle which states that among competing hypotheses that predict equally well, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.

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