Take the time to take it all in

By Gus Bode

It’s easy to miss something if you’re not looking for it.

A social experiment conducted by the Washington Post placed a violinist in a busy metro station in Washington and for 45 minutes the violinist played six intricate Bach pieces. In that 45-minute period, only six people stopped and listened. The man was Joshua Bell, a world famous violinist. He was playing some of the most intricate music ever written on his $3.5 million violin. Two days beforehand, Bell performed before a sold-out theater in Boston.

The point of the experiment was to see if it was possible to recognize and appreciate beauty in an unexpected location. It would seem that of the thousands of people who walked through the metro station, only a handful took the time to appreciate the beauty.


What does this have to do with a photo of two men in a barbershop? The barber is Dave Irby and the customer is Jim Durbin, my father. Irby’s barbershop is located in my hometown, a suburb of St. Louis. In fact, the barber shop is one block away from the high school I graduated from, less two miles from my house and less than one mile from my parents’ business. My father and I had wanted to get haircuts for at least a month but had never found time. The last day of winter break, we received two regular men’s haircuts from Irby at his barbershop.

It was the first time we had stepped inside and it was the first time I had ever noticed the small business.

Irby’s barbershop is a hidden gem in today’s era of corporately-owned America. Employing his brother and brother-in-law, Irby keeps the business a family affair. He provides his customers with more than 30 years of hair cutting experience and 67 years of lifetime experience. It was his 67th birthday the night we stopped in.

‘It’s easy to miss something if you’re not looking for it,’ Irby said to my father and I that night.

How many other things do we miss during our busy day?