Among other things, it has been on my mind this week that I need to get a haircut. Badly. I hate getting my haircut. It’s worse than going to the dentist for me, so even thinking about it is difficult. Actually I hate it so much that while I know a haircut would improve my appearance, I’m sure it does nothing else for me than raise my anxiety levels, not to mention the trauma of putting myself through the ordeal. I even wonder if Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a possibility.
So I was curious when I saw this story was the ‘most shared‘ on Facebook on Veterans Day this past week. This You Tube clip has been viewed almost 14 million times. A haircut has gone viral on social media.
Here’s a homeless veteran with a history of alcoholism. He was given a makeover back in September, and the results were scheduled to be released on social media on Veterans Day. It was timed to fit with a campaign to raise funds for veterans (by getting a haircut). The social agency (Dégagé Ministries) involved happened to also make a substantial amount from donations from the social media activity.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m really pleased for the man. He got his haircut, some new clothes including a leather jacker apparently, and he finally got listed for some housing And he’s started going to AA meetings. That’s great. Except I’ve got this nagging sense of ‘there’s something not quite right here‘. I’m wondering was it the haircut that meant this man finally got some help?
Why does he have to change his appearance in order to hit the big time on social media? He’s still the same person inside. Why does a trimmed beard and highlighted hair enter him into the great social media hall of fame? I just don’t get it. 14 million people watched this particular clip but there are plenty of other news sites also carrying the story, and particularly the haircut.
In my mind what matters is the person inside. His appearance doesn’t count for anything. Somehow because he put on a tie, he has become acceptable and maybe even ‘one of us’. I wonder though, how he feels. Social media are raving about the haircut (as I am, ironically) but who cares about the obviously broken man inside? That’s what matters, surely.
I could go on about this but really I just wonder, am I the only one who thinks we’ve got something wrong here? What do you think? Is it necessary to get a haircut, in order to access welfare services that should be available regardless of how he looks?
Social media is really good for lots of things, but I really wonder whether we’ve lost sight of what matters. In my mind the haircut means nothing. It’s healing the wounds inside and meeting the basic needs of life that will really make this man’s life live-able for him. If the rest of us want a makeover show then there’s plenty on reality television.
As for me, I guess I’ll eventually get that haircut, but I doubt it will go viral. I won’t be putting it on YouTube. I know you’re disappointed, but I’m relieved.
“Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.”
- Get A Haircut, Help A Vet! (wctv.tv)
- Jim Wolf, Homeless U.S. Army Veteran, Undergoes Incredible Transformation In Time-Lapse Video (VIDEO) huffingtonpost.com