Posted: April 27, 2014 in Salon Stories, Uncategorized

As in the lyrics written by Jackson Browne, “Say a prayer for the Pretender”, I find myself waking up some mornings feeling like an imposter to the profession I hold in such high regard. Dreading the morning wake up call or text has become routine.

As an example, on my way into work this one particular morning, I am leaving, and I see Lisa, one of my top stylists, sitting on her balcony. Lisa lives in the same building I am temporarily living in. It’s not unusual to see Lisa on her balcony, however, at this time of day she should have already been at work. Instead, her hair wrapped up in a towel, bathrobe tied at the waist and cigarette in one hand, coffee in the other, Lisa greets me with a smile. I question, “Shouldn’t you be at work?” Smiling she responds…”I’ll be there”. This becomes our morning ritual. I will give it to Lisa though, somehow she always managed to look completely put together and arrives to work just 15 minutes late.


On my drive in, my first phone call comes from one of my stylists. “Joseph, I can’t come into work today because I have vertigo and I don’t want anyone to catch it”. I didn’t know whether to laugh or to feel sorry for her lame excuse, so I opted for the diplomatic “pretenders” response…”OK, feel better, I’ll see you tomorrow.” As I’m consoling my vertigo ridden stylist, a text is chiming in from another one of my stylist…”Joseph, I don’t have a client until 3:00 this afternoon, so I’m not coming in till 3:00″. In my head all I can think is how will you ever have any more clients if you only come in for the one or two you have scheduled?
However, the Pretender shows up again and responds, “Okay, see you at 3:00.” To top it off…the next text arrives shortly with another stylist proclaiming she will be late to work because of traffic. This might sound totally normal to you; however, I happen know she lives in the building across the street from the salon.

As I walk into the salon I smile through the bullshit and say “Good morning everyone”. Sitting in my chair, I’m greeted by my first client of the day who begins by telling me she has found a picture with the most wonderful hair color that she would like. She pulls out the picture and it’s in BLACK AND WHITE!!!. “(you can’t make this shit up”) Even the pretender is speechless on this one…

The very next client is a challenge to everything I have ever been taught to produce a skillful haircut. You see, as a hairdresser we use facial features as references for balance. So your eyes, ears, nose and mouth all become points of measurements for us to do a precision haircut. To my dismay, this client has NO FU@&ING EARS!!!! I can’t believe this….it’s not even 12:00 yet!!! What I won’t do for a dollar!! And the struggle for the legal tender continues…

To the reader, I will let you finish the stories of this day, because anything you can make up I have likely experienced.. One thing I know for sure…the end is always the same…

“I’ll go on home and lay my body down
And when the morning light comes streaming in
I’ll get up and do it again”

“The Pretender” by Jackson Browne

I’m going to rent myself a house
In the shade of the freeway
I’m going to pack my lunch in the morning
And go to work each day
And when the evening rolls around
I’ll go on home and lay my body down
And when the morning light comes streaming in
I’ll get up and do it again
Say it again

I want to know what became of the changes
We waited for love to bring
Were they only the fitful dreams
Of some greater awakening
I’ve been aware of the time going by
They say in the end it’s the wink of an eye
And when the morning light comes streaming in
You’ll get up and do it again

Caught between the longing for love
And the struggle for the legal tender
Where the sirens sing and the church bells ring
And the junk man pounds his fender
Where the veterans dream of the fight
Fast asleep at the traffic light
And the children solemnly wait
For the ice cream vendor
Out into the cool of the evening
Strolls the Pretender
He knows that all his hopes and dreams
Begin and end there

Ah the laughter of the lovers
As they run through the night
Leaving nothing for the others
But to choose off and fight
And tear at the world with all their might
While the ships bearing their dreams
Sail out of sight

I’m going to find myself a girl
Who can show me what laughter means
And we’ll fill in the missing colors
In each other’s paint-by-number dreams
And then we’ll put out dark glasses on
And we’ll make love until our strength is gone
And when the morning light comes streaming in
We’ll get up and do it again
Get it up again

I’m going to be a happy idiot
And struggle for the legal tender
Where the ads take aim and lay their claim
To the heart and the soul of the spender
And believe in whatever may lie
In those things that money can buy
Thought true love could have been a contender
Are you there?
Say a prayer for the Pretender
Who started out so young and strong
Only to surrender

  1. Art says:

    no ears huh? you missed your opportunity to say what you really feel… she wouldn’t have heard a word you said!!

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