Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Singing Barber

“I know the world’s being shaved by a drunken barber. I don’t need to read about it.”

This the quote from the movie Meet John Doe that has justified my lifelong aversion to reading newspapers. But between Facebook and the daily e-mail headlines, it’s impossible to avoid the onslaught. An old friend of mine, distraught as we all are by the horror of the daily news, sent me a short video of the kind things people do and have done for each other, the things the newspapers don’t and won’t report. Complete with Pachelbel’s canon soundtrack, it plucks a different string in the heart than the usual discordant and over-amplified chord of fear and cynicism and despair. Some of the stories I knew—the Karnofsky’s giving Louis Armstrong his first trumpet, Marilyn Monroe helping Ella Fitzgerald keep her job in a jazz club—and some were new—the man who put a refrigerator on the street for people to offer food to the homeless.

The video ended with a reminder to sing everyday with the people around you, to awaken our deep capacity for connection and compassion and empathy, our sense that we belong to and with each other. A song will cut right through the obstacles of race, religion and politics, go from vibration to vibration without a passport or identity papers.

And so let us remember that there are many kind and loving barbers, who care for us with loving hands and make us the most beautiful we we can be. And they’re singing while they work.

But a word of warning: before you sit down in the chair, make sure they're singing arias from
The Barber of Seville and not Sweeney Todd!

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