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My haircut and serious matters


The other day I went for a haircut. Early Monday morning – shouldn’t be too many about. Get in first. Not as easy as I thought. The first two shops were closed, even though it was 9:20am. They open at 9 every day the sign indicated. The third shop. No, I won’t go there, 8 euro and he‘s always looking for the extra 2. Why pay ten when I can get it for 5? I keep walking along Dorset St in the direction of the airport. I see a sign on the wall. Barbers down below. Great. I walk down the steps to the below street premises. I look through the window as I descend and am delighted there’s no customers. In and out!  ‘How much for a dry cut’ I ask cheerfully. The response is not what I expect. He turns around aggressively, points outside and asks, ‘What’s on the sign outside? Go and look at the sign outside!’

Dutifully I go outside. No sign of any sign on the walls, windows, anywhere. I walk back. ‘Where?’ I enquire. He’s still aggressive, pointing up above at street level. ‘It’s on the sign up there, I spent all week putting it together.’

Again I walk outside and think, ‘This guy’s not getting my money.’ Not the way to run a business I thought. Incidentally, I didn’t see the sign because I was looking at the sign on the wall.

What kind of society are we living in if this is the kind of aggressive response one receives for a simple service for which one is prepared to pay. It is this lack of humanity and kindness that struck me with great force when I read about the 45year old Belgium twins born deaf, had lived and worked together all their lives; and now were told they were going blind. They couldn’t bear the thought of not seeing each other again so they asked to be euthanased. The first doctor refused but sadly and amazingly they found a doctor who agreed to kill them by lethal injection after they all had a morning coffee, with their parents, waved at each other and then they were killed. ‘It was beautiful’ the doctor was quoted as saying. ‘They gave each other one last little wave and then they were gone.’

It is truly sad that such a doctor would do this. It is truly sad that countries like Belgium have this kind of barbaric law, where a doctor can qualify his Hippocratic oath. What happened to ‘Do no harm?’

Speaking of harm it appears the author Marian Keyes wants a ‘National Stone a Priest Day’. She acknowledges that no matter how nice a priest is, how many raffles he runs, he is still a foot soldier for ‘a f*cked up misogynistic regime’. Now it’s not pleasant the idea of having stones pelted at oneself. How would Ms Keyes feel if this kind of violent language was directed at herself. It reminds me of George Seawright, the DUP Councillor, who called for all Catholic priests to be burned at the stake. These are sad and intolerable statements coming from people whose prejudice and intolerance is more important than courtesy and respect. Ivana Bacik is supposed to be a public representative in Seanad Eireann. Yet she alleges the Catholic Church's position on abortion is because the clergy are misogynistic and see women as innately deceitful. And this is the kind of langauage coming from public representatives who cannot get beyond their own prejudice and intolerance. We have a long way to go.

Let’s appraise every institution and every statement, but let’s also acknowledge those purporting prejudicial and intolerant views should have their views named precisely for what they are.

Ms Keyes & Ms Bacik would do well to take President Obama’s words from his Inauguration speech to heart. ‘Let not name calling be substituted for reasoned debate.’

Stephen Foster (Fr)