Beware of my angry barber

APRIL 6 UPDATE: The Gazette Coffeetown will be held on Wednesday, April 15, not April 22 as originally posted. It is tentatively set for 9 a.m. Wednseday, April 15, at Java Jones, 200 S. Cedar St., Monticello. See you there!

• • •

Got quite an earful from my barber in Monticello today (March 31) about all the changes at The Gazette. I was more or less prepared for it, though, when he asked me to bring some phone numbers of who to complain to when I set up the appointment.

Specifically, Ray was upset that we didn’t have Ask Amy or Cheryl Lavin in the paper anymore; just Dear Abby. I told him that we do try and run more advice columns when we can, but for now Abby is our priority. And his wife Lu, who is the one who actually cuts my hair because she knows the difference between a short haircut and a military crewcut (sorry Ray), didn’t like the new location of the puzzles section.

He let me know it, and he let the three other guys either waiting for or getting haircuts know it. He also made sure they knew I worked at the paper he’s pissed at.

It was my first time hearing some real opinions about the new, smaller Gazette that launched at the beginning of this month. Most of the other feedback I saw came as comments on our editors’ blogs, specifically Lyle Muller’s and Steve Buttry’s, as well as during a liveblog about the changes.

But that’s what we want to hear, both the positive and the negative. And The Gazette has responded; two comic strips that were taken out, “Pearls before Swine” and “Get Fuzzy,” will be coming back once the paper begins printing under its new dimensions in early May.

I told Ray that if enough people make enough noise, The Gazette will look at trying to bring back some of the elements that people really like.

His response? “The whole thing ought to just shut down.”

My response? “Then I won’t get paid and I can’t get my hair cut here anymore.” (Zing! I usually suck at snappy comebacks but I nailed this one!)

Truth is, Ray has always been an outspoken guy. He made himself known to me early on when I worked at the Monticello Express, and he’s the kind of guy you never forget. And he does talk a lot of smack, so I don’t think he really wants the paper to shut down. But he for sure holds it accountable. 

In the end, though, he’s a really good guy, a Boy Scout leader, and his wife and sons are good people too. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing about their many activities over the handful of years that I’ve gotten my hair cut there. So in that sense, I value what he says, even if I have to filter through all the trash-talking that came with it.

I also made the smart (or dumb) decision of letting him know The Gazette will be having its monthly coffeetown in Monticello on April 15, and invited him and Lu to come by. (A place to host it hasn’t been chosen yet, but once it is, it will be announced in the paper, and I’ll try and remember to post it here too.)

If anything, having Ray and several of the other Monticello locals who are full of passion and a little attitude at the coffeetown meeting will make for a lively gathering. (My apologies in advance to my fellow Gazette crew who will be at the event.)

By the way, if you want to offer your thoughts on the changes at the Gazette, call 1-(800) 397-8222 or send an e-mail to


~ by davidllee on March 31, 2009.

One Response to “Beware of my angry barber”

  1. Well Dave, I see you still have your ears, so they didn’t take their disdain for the Gazette changes out on you too badly. 🙂

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