html 4.0 transitional//en"> The man who got his hair cut in the wrong barbershop


The man who got his hair cut in the wrong barbershop

Almost halfway between Brownwood and Zephyr I stopped at a fruit and vegetable stand. After buying a few items, Felix Cochran, who watches the place several days a week, showed me a sign seldom seen these days. Felix, retired now like most of us 1940s Brownwood High Schoolers, pointed out a well-lettered sign that said: "If no one is here, get what you need and put the money in the slot."

That is living proof that there are still some trusting folks in the world. At least there are such creatures on highway 84 between Brownwood and Zephyr. I'd like to believe there are lots of others around too. It is good to be trusting of people, but also can be dangerous if you trust too much in yourself and are too trusting of the wrong people.

Trusting the wrong folks reminded me of one of Jack Shuler's sermons back in the 1940s. Jack was visiting Brownwood for the Methodists and was preaching to huge crowds. I only remember his fancy sports coats and one of his sermon titles. The jacket was not flashy, just different from what men of the cloth wore in those days.

His sermon titles were meant to entice the unsuspecting sinners into attending his services. The sermon title that most intrigued me was the one on Samson. He called it: "The man who got his hair cut in the wrong barbershop."

Though tempted many times to use that catchy title, I never did. It is from the Old Testament story of Samson, the Arnold Schwarzenegger of his day, and Delilah, the Joan Collins or some such tempting beauty of those times. For those who want to read the unabridged story it begins in Chapter 16 of the Book of Judges.

Delilah, in cahoots with Samson's sworn enemies, the Philistines, tried time after time to get Samson to reveal the secret of his unusual physical strength. Samson made the mistake many make today. He enjoyed Delilah's attention and he enjoyed leading her astray about where his strength lay. Three times he faked her out with false "secrets" of his strength.

Each time he would tell her some tall tale and she would try it. (Such as binding him "with seven fresh bowstrings" and he would be weak and like other men. Or "bind me with new ropes, never before used" and he would be helpless, and so on.) Each time Delilah would signal the Philistines to take Samson and each time Samson would laugh as he threw them out.

After each ordeal, Delilah would pout and try to get the truth from him again. After all, she was promised eleven hundred pieces of silver to deliver Samson to the Philistines.

Samson was a jokester, a kidder, always throwing out riddles for folks to ponder. Life was just a lark to the strongest guy on the block. Possibly that is why he does not understand the seriousness of his situation. He had no business messing around with her kind. He was physically strong but seemed to lack something from the neck up. The elevator didn't go all the way to the top in his case. Samson's physical strength lay in his never having his hair cut. He finally revealed this to Delilah, who promptly gave him his first haircut, while he slept on her lap. This time the Philistines took him, gouged out his eyes and put him in chains.

There are many lessons here. I would say to the strong: don't trust everything folks say about you and definitely don't underestimate your enemy. Baylor University's baseball Bears did that a few weeks ago. They had a great season by winning the Big XII conference race. They beat the dreaded Texas A&M Aggies four times and beat the University of Texas Longhorns three out of four games. They even won three of four from Nebraska. But in the NCAA regionals, on their home field, with all the advantages, they were slapped around like puny kittens, not hungry bears.

The Baylor Bears underestimated the Bobcats from Southwest Texas State University. The Bears had whipped them three times this season, but when it really counted the Bobcats shut them out 6-0. They abruptly ended their season with a 10-1 loss to Florida. The overconfident Bears got their hair cut in the wrong barbershop. ---- June 30, 2000

Previous  Menu  Next

Home Page | Tao Books | Lao She Collection | Mission Forum | Columns | Borboa's Mosaics

Copyright © 2003 The Tao Foundation.
All Rights, Photos & Illustrations Reserved.

Home Page
Tao Books
Lao She Collection
Mission Forum
Borboa's Mosaics