Friday, September 18, 2009

The Spirit vs. the Letter of the "Law"

From the back, it's a photo of my Thai barber doing his
"law" magic on the customer seated in front of him.

Interestingly, the word for "handsome" in the Thai language is pronounced "law." When I first started going to this guy for haircuts six years ago, I noticed after every haircut, he pronounced "law" with a big smile as I stepped down from the barber chair. After a couple times I went home and checked my dictionary and immediately decided this guy was a GOOD barber. You don't get compliments like that every day, so might as well soak it in once a month at haircut time. It was a good working relationship. The more energetic the "law" sounded, the bigger the tip.


About six months into my new customer-barber mutual appreciation sessions, I showed up at the shop to get my mane trimmed, and took notice of another customer already in the chair. He was about 80 years old, very thin--almost emaciated, a dark wrinkled face that that would make a Chinese Shar-Pei jealous, hardly a tooth in his head, and a few whisps of white hair on a mostly bald head--which, for some reason, he was having trimmed.

Sure enough, at the end of his haircut, this shriveled geriatric hobbled down from the chair, and the barber started beaming. Instinctively, I knew what was coming next. He would utter....that....word....

I can barely think about it now. It was like watching a slow-motion slasher movie. I stared in horror at my barber brandishing a straight razor in the air and slowly opening his cavernous maw. The slow-motion "Nooooooooo" reeled through my mind as I imagined myself, arms outstretched and flailing, lunging at the barber to shut his mouth.

But before my thoughts could turn to deeds, that guttural sound slowly spilled out like a river of lukewarm lava-- "LAW."

Adding insult to injury, he gushed it out twice. "LAW, LAW."

Soaking it all in, of course, the near-toothless farmer grinned and paid his 50 baht, plus a generous tip. Bigger than my tips. Of course they were bigger. He had more reason show his gratitude.

Yeah, I still get my haircuts there, but no more do I trust a single word from this traitor, particularly his discourses on the "law."


P.S. After my epiphany, I then started asking other questions to myself, such as: "If I was 'law' AFTER the haircut, what was I BEFORE the haircut?" The suspicion about The Truth continues to mount.
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Janna said...

John, it is so fun reading your posts. I feel as if I can experience Thailand by proxy. Blessings on you my friend. Janna - PS - I'm in WV now.

Anonymous said...

I guess you had the barber to make you look like a skin head. that's why he said law,law felt sorrow for you. guess who?