Haircut Time

It’s short. It will grow–right?

haircut.jpgI had my hair cut today by Francine, Queen of Hair. Nothing unusual there. I spent a little while shmoozing at the shop before I left. I never really looked at my hair until I was on-the-air staring at myself in the monitor.

It’s short.

It was enough of a shock when it popped on the screen I suspect some attentive viewers had to catch on to what I was thinking. It will grow back–right?

I Used To Smoke Cigarettes

I smoked for 18 years and permanently quit the first time I tried. I didn’t even want to quit. I’m not trying to show off. That’s just how it happened for me.

I stopped for gas in East Haven. I was on my way to work from getting a haircut. Francine is the Queen of Hair, though if I didn’t stop her, she would play with each individual strand until it was perfect.

Anyway… I stopped for gas and there was a large sign in the parking lot. A sale on cigarettes – $5.20 a pack. Holy crap.

It’s been a long time since I smoked, but I do remember some benchmarks.

When I began to smoke, probably early 1969, a single pack in a vending machine was 40&#162. I was astounded in finding a vending machine at the WHDH-TV studios in Boston that sold them for 35&#162.

Driving to Florida in 1970, I stopped in North Carolina and bought a few cartons for under $3 a piece. Gasoline was probably 34.9&#162/gallon back then.

I smoked a pack and a half a day when I quit. Let’s see… $5 per pack is $50 per week or $2,500 a year. That’s crazy.

I have been told quitting cigarettes is incredibly difficult. I smoked for 18 years and permanently quit the first time I tried. And I didn’t even want to quit. I’m not trying to show off. That’s just how it happened for me.

It was pre-Stef, and Helaine was getting very upset, telling me how I was going to die and we’d have a child to think about. My people are good with guilt.

My first attempt at quitting was was to just cut back, which I did successfully for one day.

11:00 PM rolled around and I was sitting on the news set with our sports anchor, Bob Picozzi and our anchor, John Lindsay&#185. The news began with a single wide shot. Bob and I were ‘set parsley.’

Proudly, I told John I had cut down to only eight for the entire day. And he said, “You can’t do that. After a few days you’ll start ramping up. You’ve got to say, I quit now. I’ve already smoked my last cigarette”

As if in some Hollywood movie, the newscast’s theme music swelled, John turned to the camera and began to read. I sat and pondered.

That night, I came home to our condo in Branford. Helaine was in the kitchen. I took my pack of cigarettes, banged it on the table and said, “I quit.”

She had no clue what I was talking about. I explained.

For the next few months, there were carrots and celery and something to keep me busy. Helaine was amazingly supportive. Neighbors of ours, he a young physician at Yale/New Haven, prescribed Nicorette (back then, by prescription only).

Within a week or two, I notice my sense of smell had improved. The next cold I had made a much quicker passage through my system.

I’m sure there has been some damage done by all the smokes. I hope it’s not too much.

I’ve never missed my cigarettes. I never had a desire to return. I can’t understand why anyone starts now, if for no other reason than the expense.

$5.20 a pack. That’s a sale? They’re kidding, right?

&#185 – John Lindsay was on my mind yesterday. He had one of the briefest stays of the myriad anchors I’ve worked with. He also had a small part as a TV anchorman in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” It was on TV yesterday.

How I met Rev. Jesse Jackson

I get my hair cut at work. I know. That’s one of the most decadent priveleges my job affords me. In the last 15 years my hair has been cut outside of this building once; on the morning of my daughter’s bat mitzvah,

Today, I was sitting in the men’s dressing room with Francine (Queen of Hair) giving me a little trim.

By the way, if given half the opportunity, Francine would work on my hair for hours at a time, until each individual folicle was where it belonged. But, even when I rush her, she’s unreal.

So, Francine is clipping away and the door is open to the hallway. I tend to look at the mirror and call out to people who are passing by. A tall figure walks by, stops, and sticks his head in.

Jesse Jackson.

So, what do you do when you’re sitting, with a ‘bib’ on, trying to keep hair off your clothes with a woman spraying water on your hair? Is there anything clever to be said at all?

The Reverend Jackson and I do not see eye-to-eye on all issues… in fact, maybe not on most issues. However, I must admit he is a charming man… very approachable and seemingly without pretense (in our short meeting). There is no doubt, he is one of the most recognizable, revered, and reviled, people alive today.

I am astounded by the number of people at the station who say they’ve met him before. He is a person who makes loads of one-on-one contacts. That’s a major strength.

He is tall and a little rumpled in his dress. He was accompanied by, though not surrounded by, a group of tall and large black men.

I’m sure he needs bodyguard protection, he is a controversial figure with a lot of enemies. But his ‘protectors’ were not at all menacing or threatening or even overly cautious here in the television station. But, they were big. I’d feel safer.

I wonder if he’ll remember meeting me? I will remember meeting him.