Joyanna Adams

Nobody's Opinion

Ghost Pains, and Missing Parts


Nobody Cares

It had been awhile since I got my hair cut. I hack, and trim away, until it’s so beyond messed up, I have to give in and let a pro do it…sometimes I can’t even see.

And Jim, the guy who has been cutting my hair for over 20 years, is a pro. He’s not in one of your fancy salons, nope. He has his own little shop.Land of the Free

I got turned onto Jim by my husband who had gotten haircuts from Jim since he was a teenager. Jim started out as a barber, because his father had been a barber. He’s about six foot, manly yet suave, what you might call in his prime, a real ladies man.

Jim saved up to buy his own shop, not long after barber school and so, he bought lot on the corner of a main street, and converted an old house into his own personal salon. It’s pretty cool, looking from the outside. Big purple strips and lots of tropical plants make the building stick out in the now destitute neighborhood as an oasis of eye candy….it’s so out-of- place you WANT to go inside.

Jim was always a good-looking guy, the kind that you would see in the disco’s in the seventies—always surrounded by women, so he started doing women’s hair too. And the GREAT thing about Jim (not his real name) is that he will do whatever you want. If your hair just got singed in the great Chicago fire and you looked like you had put your finger in a light socket, and you just wanted Jim to trim it up a ‘smidgen” Jim would do whatever you like. It’s your hair he figured. If you want to remain ugly…so be it!

I cannot TELL you how rare that is.

So, I hadn’t seen him in a while. And when I saw Jim, who is by all accounts younger than 50, come into the room with one of those walkers that old people use, I thought..what? He was behind the counter so I didn’t see, that he was missing a leg until I went into the room.

“What happened?” I asked.

“I was down in Ferguson and got hit with a tear gas canister.”

“What! What in the world were you doing there, you ninny!” I screamed, and took off my sock hat and started playfully hitting him on the shoulder.

He was kidding of course, but if you knew Jim, you’d almost believe it.oh no two

The real story is almost sadder. It seems, Jim was having knee problems, and went in for surgery, and got a Strap infection in the hospital. Then he had to go in again…only to be fixed again, and then AGAIN, and four more surgeries and after four other infections–they had to take the leg off.

Now, what are the odds? I had another friend here in St. Louis go into the hospital to have a leg taken off and they took the wrong one off, therefore now he is missing both legs.

The good news, if there is one…is that Jim had Blue Cross/Blue Shield and he only had to pay $25,000 out of $300,000 for all his surgeries. And sooner or later he will get fitted with the latest technology of prosthesis that has come out of all our boys getting maimed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The bad news is…Nobody Wonders just how far our medical system has fallen. And why is this stuff happening so much?

Jim didn’t say one word against his doctor. He has accepted it….but he did lose a lot of business because he was out of work for so long. I would have been furious.

Jim didn’t go on welfare, or disability. He plans to keep on working, even if he has to sit in a chair and cut hair, which is how he cut mine.

After I left him of course, I felt so lucky to be able to walk out on both legs. We all take our health for granted every day don’t we? By the grace of god go any of us.

After that, I went to a grocery store in the same neighborhood, and I was at the fruit counter and one man in a wheelchair was trying to get a woman who worked there and was putting up oranges to help him. He couldn’t open the freezer door.

“Can you help me?” he asked. “Would you get me the $2.99 fruit cup basket in there, I can’t reach it.”

“Sure!” I got it for him, and noticed his black eyes. The way he didn’t look like he had eaten for weeks, and the dirty clothes. He thanked me.

So many people are in such dire straits.

I remember Jim telling me the worst part of it, is that he had an itch on his caf last night, that was driving him crazy….he couldn’t fall asleep.

His┬ácaf is not there. It’s all ghost pains, some of which never go away.

Ghost pains. Let that be a lesson to you America…

In the words of Joni Mitchell (who probably stole it from someone else)

You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

America is suffering ghost pains. Longing for the past that is no longer there. Longing for our American legs that no longer stand.

And some of us, are being kept awake at night because of it.

(And the fact that I turned this into some political thought instead of ending it with Jim is this: I’m not worried about Jim. He’s going to survive.

America? I’m not so sure about that. )




March 6, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


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