Michael Cleverly: Has Homeland Security noticed your haircut yet? | AspenTimes.com

Michael Cleverly: Has Homeland Security noticed your haircut yet?

“H ow short do you want it?”


“How short?”

“Well, you seem like a nice girl, but I don’t want to have to see you again until Halloween.”


Buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz…

“Is that too short?”

“Jesus, what if it is? You’re half finished.”

“No, really, is it too short?”

“I have no idea. I don’t have my glasses on.”

“Put them on.”

“That’s OK. I feel that I’m in the hands of a professional – go ahead.”

Buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz.

The sheet comes off, my glasses go on. She gave me the “Uday.” Frankly, I was hoping for someone a bit more popular, maybe the “Matt Lauer.” But what I got was the “Uday.” I guess it was on special. That’s OK, it’ll turn into the “Matt Lauer” in a couple of weeks. I just have to stay away from Tom Ridge until then.

In my dotage, I’m making a conscious effort to be a “glass half full” kind of guy. With this in mind, I’m trying to think of ways to take advantage of my new haircut.

Groomingwise, I guess I’ll never be in better shape to have my interview with those nice Aryan nations folks. Problem here is I don’t want to join up, we’re on opposite ends of the spectrum. The only thing we could possible agree on would be a common willingness to iron out our differences with gunfire. Seems a little risky to justify a bad haircut.

Then there’s Gaylord. His daily rants regarding our president are becoming increasingly obstreperous. I’m concerned that he won’t survive the Bush administration. He’s concerned that none of us will survive the Bush administration. With my new, shorter than, therefore politically to the right of H.R. Haldeman haircut, I could easily play devil’s advocate to Gaylord’s Woody Creek Tavern tirades.

An ancillary benefit, probably the only benefit, to Gaylord’s ravings is the fact that they tend to frighten off a lot of the tourists in the immediate vicinity. I figure that if he can do this all on his own without a single soul arguing back, imagine how we could clear the place if I were to put up some nice Republican argument wearing my new Republican haircut. The lingering, horrific vibe could give us peace and quiet into ski season.

All this conjecture is, I’m afraid, distracting me from what should be my main focus, that is avoiding Tom Ridge and his Homeland Security people. I guess that I really shouldn’t be too worried about this as we don’t actually get many celebrities down in Woody Creek this time of year.

You can imagine my surprise when, a couple of weeks ago, I’m rolling into the Tav for a late afternoon pop and find myself nose to nose with Kenneth Lay and the Mrs. I was dumbstruck, literally. I silently mouthed in large, exaggerated syllables, “Ken-neth-Lay,” in case any of the local watchdogs of contemporary culture had missed this fact. No one knew what I was mouthing about. At this point my rapierlike wit should have kicked in and come up with something really scathing. Nothing came out. Hell, I had a rare home-field advantage and the total number of snotty comments I could come up with was zero. At this time my shame was suffocating.

In retrospect, I’m actually glad I froze. I don’t remember anyone telling me that it’s my job to punish these people. I suspect they wake up each morning with the distant hope that a voice will come out of the sky and say, “OK, your 15 minutes is up. Time to move on.” Besides, they don’t need me. Mrs. Lay walks up to a couple of Tavern regulars and says, “See, we’re normal people just like you.” I don’t think anyone ever attached the word “normal” to any of the regulars before. I believe this speaks to how far from reality folks can get.

The next time I glimpsed the Lays at the Tavern, they were joined by Shep, one of the owners. Shep was presenting them with a gallon jar with “Kenneth Lay Relief Fund” taped to its side. I must confess that this was my brainchild long ago when the Enron story first broke. Since then it has made sporadic appearances at the end of the bar, slowly filling with oddiments, some mentionable, some not. Bullets are a favorite. The Lays were graciously accepting this gesture of neighborly affection and pictures were being taken. I don’t remember being asked to pose. That’s OK – this Tom Ridge thing has me thinking a low profile is always the best policy.

So now the Lays can be said to be semi-regulars, which means, I guess, that they’re also semi-normal. I’m hunkering down, hoping to avoid the Homeland Security people till my haircut grows out and Gaylord’s the one standing at the bar shouting.

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