SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 183: The Barber of Men

7:00pm Friday night, the streets are full of people enjoying an endless choice of catering trucks, a typical end of week in Granada Hills, with the gathering of the best of the best mobile eateries. I’ve been here several times and every time I attend, enjoy the great food and company in meeting a stranger turned friend.

I arrive with expectations of again meeting a friend on the street, but as I walk, a dry feeling engulfs me, swaying me away from wanting to approach anyone on the sidewalk. What does keep nagging at me is this, “Go to the Barber shop you passed on that side street where you parked your car.”

I ignore the prompting for some time, reasoning with myself, “You have committed to meeting someone on the boulevard,” and the more I walk the louder the voice gets, “Go to the barber shop!”

It’s close to 8:00pm now, I’ve aimlessly wandered for close to an hour, when I walk through the doors and enter the pool-tabled shop of Barber/Entrepreneur Jalon.

I am a little apprehensive to interrupt he and his last two clients of the day, but with welcoming attitudes they allow me into their circle, a circle of more than client/barber relationship, but a circle of true friendship.

Both have been coming to Jalon (Twitter) for years, “He is the best in The San Fernando Valley,” one says. “No,” the other exclaims, “He is the best barber in California.”

What makes Jarom so good at what his craft, again in the voice of his clients, “Precision, like Kobe!”

Yet there is more to Jalon than precision, his shop is a sanctuary the friendship and I have found myself amidst friends in what feels like a living room conversation.

Jalon sets the tone, and upon his suggestion for us, I realize why.

“This may sound cliché, but we should all follow the golden rule.” He begins as he works on an intricate cut on one of his clients… I mean friends.

Sure we have heard many talk of the Golden Rule, yet this is the first time I have been in an environment that radiates its values.

It is a universal rule that has been expressed to me by just about every kind of person you can think of. And this has driven me to do a little research:

From the scriptures of the Bahá’í Faith:
“Blessed is he who preferreth his brother before himself. —Bahá’u’lláh

Beware lest ye harm any soul, or make any heart to sorrow; lest ye wound any man with your words, be he known to you or a stranger, be he friend or foe.” —`Abdu’l-Bahá

Buddha advises:
“Comparing oneself to others in such terms as “Just as I am so are they, just as they are so am I,” he should neither kill nor cause others to kill. —Sutta Nipata 705

One who, while himself seeking happiness, oppresses with violence other beings who also desire happiness, will not attain happiness hereafter. Dhammapada 10. Violence”

Christian ethics:
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them”
Matthew [7:12]

 “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself” Leviticus [19:18]

 “But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God”.  Leviticus [19:34]

“You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your kinsfolk. Love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.” —Leviticus [19:18]

“The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I the LORD am your God.” —Leviticus [19:34]

“’That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn. —Talmud, Shabbat 31a, the ‘Great Principle’”

“…and you should forgive And overlook: Do you not like God to forgive you? And Allah is The Merciful Forgiving.” —Qur’an (Surah 24, “The Light,” v. 22)”

“The most righteous person is the one who consents for other people what he consents for himself, and who dislikes for them what he dislikes for himself.”

Here is a link to a much fuller set of interpretations of the rule. A rather enlightening read.

Jalon is a man of compassion, who evidently holds strong to The Golden Rule in the way he treats his clients… oh again… I mean friends… or per The Golden Rule… “Neighbors.”

Neighbors that through my unannounced visit this evening, I am comfortable to call friends.

Jalon finishes the last haircut and even though quitting time from a long day has arrived, he graciously allows me some photo time.

I ask him of his advice for us, challenging him to think of both the present and of the world to come.

For the present, “Try to find some kind of a spiritual crutch, so when people are not around you can rely on, you have somewhere to turn.”

For what’s ahead, “I don’t think we are heading to too much good. There is too much inflation, and the way things are going, it looks like the government will be running things. I’m not sure if I want to be there.”

Two very sobering outlooks, both of which we can choose either to ignore or to do what we can in contributing to a better future.

Let us all be that crutch Jalon speaks of; that in our own way, we magnify what has been brought to us by so many of our 365 friends, that same Golden Rule.

It close to 8:30pm, we are all feeling a little spent and with a teamsmanship like hug, Jalon and I part our ways.

Talk tomorrow, my friends.