Saturday, October 18, 2008

Herman the German ~ Demon Barber of Yorkville is back!

Mr. Bellers Neighborhood has reposted my lost story, "A Barber's Portrait of Kaiser Wilhelm."

This prologue explains why 1960s' Yorkville fathers sent their boys to 'Herman the German" based on the local barber options.

I hated barbers. All of them. I was ten and girls started goofing on my haircut. I thought of several ways for my father to die. I’d rather get a needle in my ass from Doctor Somberg, then get a haircut.
On my block, fathers chose barbershops for their boys strictly based on who charged the least, with one exception. The cheapest barber charged 60 cents, undercutting the next guy who charged 75 cents. In a compassionate slip, most Dads coughed up the extra 15 cents rather than send their kid to Mickey Mouse.
Mickey Mouse, known as Charlie, only to his wife, had a breathing disorder and circus size ears. The ears alone would have earned him the nickname, but the clincher, was the shape of his hairline followed the outline of the Mickey Mouse Club Hat. Put that and his ears together, and you couldn’t look at him without mumbling, “M-I-C-K-E-Y…”
When he cut your hair, you counted on two things, body odor that could kill a rat and a breathing dysfunction that made you feel like you were receiving a dirty phone call.
Heaving breathing, followed by a drag on his cigarette, a hacking cough for good luck, then back to the deep breathing. He’d rest his scissors or razor on your head when he got tired, and he was always tired because he couldn’t breathe.
The neighborhood miser, Johnny Nolan, foolishly let Mickey Mouse give his two daughters’ haircuts. When Mrs. Nolan came home and saw the state of her girls’ heads and both of them crying at the kitchen table, she walked directly into the living room and woke her husband up from his nap by bopping him in the noggin with her closed fist.
“Nolan, you’re a wood head and the cheapest Irishman in New York City.”
This alone, didn’t stop the other fathers from sending their boys to Mickey Mouse. Something else did.
Anna, Mickey Mouse’s wife, had nothing to do all day, so she hung around the store and draped herself over an empty barber chair. She was always right next to you. A large woman with sore feet. Her shoes never fit right. They only stayed on when she walked next store to the German butcher and bought a raw frankfurter that she ate carrot style.
You’d be in the middle of a haircut; heavy breathing in one ear, thinking about nothing and out of nowhere, “FUCK, SHIT, PISS!”
You’d jump a foot off the chair; lucky, if your head missed the razor on your way up and down. With your timbers shivered, you tried settling back in – it got quiet again, except for the wolfman’s breathing. A few minutes later, “FUCK, SHIT, PISS!”

Anna had tourette syndrome, Mickey Mouse didn’t care, and you, ended up with a nervous condition and a neck twitch.

This, led kids to the other barber…

Herman the German waited for his prey... read the story in the hyperlink above


Anonymous said...

Another example of the stupidity that people of German heritage have to tolerate. This man was a victim of stereotyping and treated very unfairly. Any other ethnic group would cry and moan if they had to put up with the treatment that Germans have had to deal with. They just stand up straight, chin up and walk with dignity. Herman was a good hard working German Man. Thank you Herman for all of your wonderful conversations and great haircuts.

Brian McAdams.

Thomas Pryor said...

Brian, I respect your comments and I''m glad you read my story.