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Digital bliss at the barbershop: It's OK!
Magic fingers

Date published: 8/26/2012

THE CASE that would go down in the annals of detection as The Mystery of the Vanishing Fingers began six weeks ago when Ben Bursae of Spotsylvania County complained in a letter to the editor that the ladies at his favorite barbershop--Village Square Barber & Hair on Bragg Road--had been told by "the Spotsylvania County health inspector" to stop giving relaxing after-cut neck and shoulder massages.

"Apparently," he wrote, "such a service requires a license, which the barbershop did not have." Mr. Bursae's report bothered us the more we thought about it, like the short hairs that get under the barber paper and prickle your neck.

No more shoulder rubs. No more tension-melting thumb circles down the spine. No more clip-clapping mini-karate chops tenderizing bunched muscles. What was the meaning of such meddling in Village Square's perfectly symbiotic barber-customer relationship? Who exactly was behind it?

We called up our usual team of investigators but they were tied up. Nancy Drew was looking into something having to do with an old clock. The Hardy Boys were in a tower snooping for treasure. No matter. The League of Substitute Super Sleuths--a county official and two lawyers, one local and one out-of-town--jumped on the case.

Like any good peeper trying to crack a whodunit, Kathy Smith, Spotsylvania's public information officer, began systematically eliminating suspects. Ms. Smith reported: " the Sheriff's Office did not take the enforcement action cited in the letter the Rappahannock Area Health District and the Spotsylvania Health Department [both actually state-run agencies] offices indicate that they do not inspect barber shops the Spotsylvania Zoning Office does not have a case related to this matterthe state-level Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, which licenses barbers and barbershops, indicates that their staff did not perform any recent inspection at this shop."

OK, all you bureaucracies, we guess that clears you guys, but don't leave town without telling us. And great work, Ms. Smith--we're adding a bonus to your usual fee and ex'es.

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