The Trickster Visits The Little Shack of Insight”

“Many native traditions held clowns and tricksters as essential to any contact with the sacred. People could not pray until they had laughed, because laughter opens and frees from rigid preconception. Humans had to have tricksters within the most sacred ceremonies for fear that they forget the sacred comes through upset, reversal, surprise. The trickster in most native traditions is essential to creation, to birth.”

             —epigraph in "Napalm and Silly Putty" by George Carlin, 2001 


Everyone has heard the statement "You Can't Make This Up!"

My wife has a small business and after a successful service call, her client, who runs a hair salon, generously told her, “Ask your husband to come by and get a free haircut!” Since I am always ready to fill my "beggar’s bowl,” I took her up on it. Now, my hair is not long, maybe a bit over the collar, but not over my ears. In fact, I have a very pronounced receding hairline. I entered her salon and gave her my name, not wanting to greet her with the words "I am here for my free haircut!" (Especially not in front of clients that are paying!)

I sat down on the barber chair and the circus began, or maybe a Saturday Night Live skit at the Trickster Salon!  As she coughed all over me,  she asked me what I would like, and I replied "Just short." Taking her scissors out and snipping away, she began to clear her throat, then coughed again, explaining that she had a bad cold! I was thinking, "Now I am a goner—a free cold included in this deal!” Remember, I am almost deaf, and I explained this to her at the beginning. She kept asking me questions that I could not hear clearly, but I would guess and say, “Yes… haha… no… of course…” She could have been asking me if I lived on the Moon, or maybe even speaking to the lady sweeping the floor. I could not be sure.

A few minutes later, I felt a blowing on my ears and neck. Instead of a barber hose, she was blowing all the cut hair off of me and my shoulders! At the same time, she kept coughing! I was thinking: ”This is not happening." I grew very nervous as she pulled out her buzz blade and started to shave my hair at about an inch. I knew that one day this ordeal would be done, but my mind was as confused as a Zen Master’s Koan.

When I was shown a mirror to check my “do,”  my happy response was not really about the “perfect haircut,” but the relief that I was getting out of there!!! There I was at the counter, thinking she knew who I was, because of my name on the card I had given her, when she said, "That will be $35.” I have never had a $35 haircut and told her so, pointing to the pricing of “Men $12.” She explained that my hair was longer than most men that came in! 

I paid her the $35, because she was a good client for my wife, and I did not want to make a scene that would offend her. As I was leaving, she held out her hand and asked me, “Don’t you want to tip me?” With all the patience I could muster, I turned the other cheek, giving her a $3 tip. (I hope it was enough—she could have pulled out her scissors!!) I finally got out of the salon and was shell-shocked! I was either experiencing Don Juan’s non-ordinary reality, or I had met the Archetype Trickster.

I now think it was the best $35 haircut I ever received, and I have a good story to tell my wife and friends that laugh until tears pour out! To give the lady credit, after she later found out who I was, she asked my wife to tell me to come back and give her another chance. But I told my wife, “Just let her know it was the best $35 haircut I ever had!”


“We need the impish reflection of the Trickster, turning all our experiences and perceptions into their opposite, playfully inverting and reversing life's energies and directions, to free us from the tyranny of bias and dogma. For one-sidedness is the bringer of stagnancy and rigidity, the enemy of the free flow of life toward its goal of fullness.”                   

—Maureen B. Roberts Ph.D.

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Native American Trickster Kokopelli by S.Correu