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A new appreciation

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It took cutting my wife’s hair to get a whole new appreciation for the tools of other people’s professions.

As we continue to shelter in place, some things go by the wayside. Like haircuts. That doesn’t bother me, as I’ve been known to procrastinate haircuts for many weeks past the appropriate time. My wife, on the other hand, actually prefers to not look like a bum. With that in mind, she asked me to trim her hair this past weekend.

Oh, yeah – what could possibly go wrong?

As it turned out, I did a pretty good job. At her request I took a half-inch off everywhere, paying close attention to what I was doing so as not to double-cut any areas, and Sally was perfectly pleased with the results. However, I also managed to cut my left palm with the scissors not once, but twice, in the almost the same spot. Good thing Sally has red hair.

We woodworkers understand the danger we face every day from sharp spinning things in our woodshops, so we’re accustomed to using safety precautions and proper tool usage by second nature. But using the tools of somebody else’s profession – in this case, scissors – we’re sometimes lulled into complacency by how simple those tools may seem to be.

And, sure, scissors are pretty simple when clipping coupons out of the newspaper, but when performing precision cutting, as you must do when cutting hair, it takes expertise and knowledge acquired from long practice to get it right. Because your non-dominant hand is in the way holding hair while you’re snipping away at that same hair with the other, it’s real, real easy for fleshy bits to become part of the action.

Considering I spent only a few minutes doing something my haircutter does for hours on end on a daily basis and managed to cause minor injuries twice, the experience gives me a whole new respect for my haircutter and the tools of her trade.

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