My Saturday was reserved for errands, including a trip to the barber shop.  I’m not that picky about haircuts, but I am choosy about barbers with social skills.

I frequent the Advance shop.  There’s not much in the thriving metropolis of Advance, Indiana, but this is an old-fashioned barbershop.  It has a fifties feel.

My Barber’s good at making small talk; he’d say that’s part of the job.

As he was trimmin’ away on what little I have, I struck up conversation by saying I write a column.  Ron’s a good listener, or he’ll contribute to the mix with a sheepish grin or laugh, at times, but instead he asked if I ever got “Writer’s Block.”  “I’m never at a loss for words!”  I bragged.

He went on to ask where I get my stuff from.

Thought provoking ideas are a dance across the globe – they’re all around us.  Life’s a wonder to explore.  (Curiosity is something one must dive into, but many wanna wade)

I gotta give Ron thanks for this piece.

When he’s not fashioning a customer’s preference he has a taste for classic cars, as I do and he went on to talk of that.

Other customers that morning began to say things like, “Remember the Sky View drive-in?”  “Dog & Suds, and the frosted mug Root Beers?”  Remembering this and that was a soak for us all.  (There is nothing wrong with remembering old times ~ you might say it conjures up a sense of gratitude for that which fades)

I left there to get a paper at the grocery store.  The teenage cashier was wearing a Batman T-shirt.  When I said, “Golly, Gee, Batman,” she looked at me like I’d lost my mind!  I said, “Don’t you remember Robin from the Batman series?”


“Robin, Batman’s companion from the 1960’s television series.”

“Never seen it.”  She replied.  Then she added, “Weren’t you in here, earlier?”

I said, “Yeah.  Just got back from the Barber Shop.”

She countered that by making a snide comment about my balding.  It was a bold faced, blatant slam the teen relished in.  But instead of putting her in her place I just hung my head and said, “OK … you got me” and left.

When I got home, I began to sort through the mail.  On top of the stack was a catalog we sometimes use.  On the cover was a young boy, about eight or nine I’d say, sitting on a beach ball with one elbow draped across a knee and the other propped up on his leg with his face in hand and knuckles draped across his cheek.  His countenance was one of utter boredom.  And only minutes earlier Ron had made the comment, “Kids don’t know how to play anymore.”

After that I took a sandwich to my wife at work.  She likes Subway, and that was my destination.  The lady waiting on me, I’d say she was in her late 20s or early 30s, kept calling me “Hon.” I asked if she called everybody that.  Her reply was, “Pretty much.”  I went on to add, “And you used to make fun of your grandma for callin’ you that.”   She smiled and said, “Yeah.”

My wife and I were born to a different generation, one far different from today.  I often jokingly say, “I remember when you had to get off the couch to change the channels.”  In the 50’s I was Dad’s remote.  We had a small black-and-white TV that got four channels.

Mom could stay home and raise the kids back then, but inflation pretty much killed that notion.  They had prayer in school in those days.  And if you were a brat the principal could give you a whack or two.  (I got my share of those, and probably deserved ‘em.)

But today things are far different.  School-sanctioned prayer is no more, and teachers can’t discipline children any longer.  A lady told me the other day her five-year-old said after the first day of kindergarten “School’s way too long” and refused to go.  One day that week the little girl was being so unruly the teacher had to sit on her.  A 10-year-old boy just the other day became so violent at school the police had to be called.  When he became a danger to himself and everyone else the officers used a taser on him.  (They got reprimanded for it)

There seems to be a lack of respect, a rabid persona, for just about everything now days.  Taking pride in a job well done and working hard is viewed as an idiot’s folly by most people.  The sanctity of marriage is dim anymore.  Some of the elite in Washington think the Constitution is outdated and should be abolished all together.  Others think the honor of military service is a joke.

It ain’t hard being disrespectful.  It’s deplorable, but it’s the norm for many.  Those wearing that mold weren’t created that way ~ they’re taught.  On the other hand, standing for what’s right, and being respectful of that deserving such respect, are admirable traits ~ but ones that are learned.

If you’re a parent, teach respect and diligence.  If you’re in the prime of life show the younger crowd what’s important; take the time.  If you’re a fledgling in the venture of life, think past self.

We’re created in God’s image, with the choices being ours.

Greg Allen’s column, Thinkin’ Out Loud, was published bi-monthly from 2009 to 2017. He’s an author, a former nationally syndicated columnist and the founder of Builder of the Spirit Ministries in Jamestown, Indiana. He can be reached at

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