I love going to the Barber shop (when I call ahead because I hate waiting), the comedy relief and insight you get when you are there is priceless. I go to a shop called Blades (formerly 818) out in the valley and this shop has "characters". There is Dave my Guy, who is like the cool Urkel (Stephon Urkel, if you watched Family Matters you know the difference). It's like he wears glasses, but he sags. Then there is Chitown. He is from Chicago and no matter what the conversation is about somehow he will end up saying "so what Michael Jordan is the best ever, say he ain't". Umh, Chi-town, we were asking if you wanted something from the store (confused face).
Then there is the Light-skin homie Mo who cuts my sons hair. He is cool, but light-skin dudes with curly tops always remind me of Tobey Bailey & Al B Sure. He does a good job on my little man's hair (especially his mohawks). Except the time D got a little excited and turned his head 2 quick and ended up w/ a slit in his eyebrow like he was the 3rd member of Kriss Kross. Hey, he's 3!!
The Barber Shop is the Man's spa. It's how we relax. No conversation or topic is off limits in the Shop. If you are looking for insight into a city or a particular community, just make your way into a popular neighborhood barbershop. You will find out the latest rumors in everything from sports to politics to the last story on 20/20. A question or topic is brought to the floor then the debate begins. Topics are discussed with the passion and fervor of a Presidential debate.
"Ok, who would you marry and who would you just want to have a 1 night stand with, Halle Berry, Beyonce, or Alicia Keys?"
"Did you hear President Obama speech about the stimulus package?"
"Man, did you hear about that kid that got kidnapped?"
"You know who looks good.... The Lakers!" This topic always starts here and ends up everywhere.
The barbershop is a place where feelings can get hurt, egos can be bruised and is the epitome of "Free Speech" at its highest level. If someone walks in w/ a fine girl, the minute they leave every barber & customer in there will be talking about "ahhh man, did you see the cakes on her". Vice Versa if they walk in w/ Lassie on their arms, trust there will be plenty of Barks once the door closes.
On a side note, until a couple months ago my nephew AK had never been to the barbershop, and D always go to the barbershop together, but AK wheres the curly fro. D always walks in to the shop confident and knows what is going on. D is used to seeing all the guys, music, and TVs going on at the same time, but not AK. As he was walking in for his first time he froze, looked around like he had no clue what goes on in there. Everyone stopped and laughed! It was hilarious. You would have thought someone was gonna cut his hair or something! Don't worry, we didn't cut his hair.
I won't say I get all my great ideas from the Shop, but I will say it is definitely one of my places of inspiration. The Shop is a think-tank. You can never get too full of yourself because the minute you walk into Blades you have to check your ego at the door. Not checking your ego will result in a barrage of jokes brought on by everyone holding a pair of Clippers. 20 bucks gets you a lesson in humility, a great time, and a fresh cut. I choose the Barber Shop over the spa any day!