“There are-a no bad haircuts, justa bad heads” was his favorite saying.
Scanio’s dad rose up from his dad’s humble Brooklyn barber shop beginnings to become an officer at the Lincoln Savings bank by day, but still gave haircuts at night to the neighborhood kids and some parents, as much for the love of it as for the extra income.
The Scanio’s lived in one of the rare detached wood houses found in this neighborhood, down by the Staten Island Ferry. Their backyard bordered the alley behind my house on the adjacent dead-end block. Greg was a best buddy for a few years; we played streetball and dished up real Italian ices in the summer to folks on their way to the country, from a tool shed Scanio’s dad converted into an over-the-counter into-the-street shop.
One day, Scanio’s dad offered me a free haircut. At age ten, I didn’t care, though mom was concerned – she had seen the results on her paying brother. No need to worry. After the final little snips, the haircut in the mirror was the finest ever seen on this bad haircut magnet.
Then the shadows of drenched hands loomed above, scarier than any Vincent Price movie. In a splash and a comb it was gone, slicked back into a glossy magazine cover, soon to be hardened into a concrete slab in the summer sun.
Odell Hair Trainer, reserved for the under-nine set: it never met a good haircut it did or didn’t like.