10/24/2012 10:28 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

52 Reasons to Vote for Obama: #46, My Barber Told Me To

Whether you're PRObama, NObama, or still undecided, 52 Reasons to Vote for Obama gives you all the information you need to share with friends, debate with relatives and decide for yourself as we head toward one of the most important elections of our lifetime. I'll post a new reason in random order every Monday through Friday from now 'til the election.

Women have known this secret for years: Listen to the person who cuts your hair... they know everything. They've seen it all, and more importantly, they've heard it all. I don't know what it is about that chair, but people settle in and the advice just starts flowing. The street smarts and intuition that hairdressers have is uncanny -- and unlike most any other profession in the world.

It's about time men learned this lesson. My barber, Humberto, has been around the block a few times. He's an immigrant from Cuba who came over on a raft during the Mariel boat lift in 1980, a refugee from Castro's oppressive regime. He made his way up from Miami to New York a generation ago and has no desire to return to Little Havana. "It's too hot," he says. And why should he? He's got an enormous following of loyal customers. When his old barbershop closed, and he moved down the street to a new location, they painted "Humberto Is Here!" with an arrow pointing to the new store.

Humberto speaks with the quiet confidence of a man who has struggled, learned much along the way, and wants to impart this knowledge to his clients. He talks in hushed tones, and I sometimes struggle to hear him above the buzzing sound of the clippers. We'll talk about the weather or his cat and occasionally chat about some of the regulars who frequent his shop. But every so often he'll stop cutting, put down his scissors, lower his voice even further, and say, "You know, Bernard..." That's when I know to really pay attention.

2012-10-24-barber.jpgThe other day, while I was sitting in his chair and looking at the many photographs adorning his mirror, suddenly he stops snipping. "Bernard," he says. "Yes," I reply, immediately snapping to attention, not wanting to miss a pearl of wisdom that he might impart to me this day. "You're voting for Obama, right," posed not so much as a question but more like an admonition you might hear coming out of the mouth of Nucky Thompson, Steve Buscemi's character on Boardwalk Empire. "'Cause, I don't know about this other guy."

"Of course I am, Humberto," I replied quickly. "Good," he said, picking up the scissors again. "I'm glad to hear that."

As I left ten minutes later, I checked out my new 'do in the mirror. "Wow, this is the best cut I've had in ages," I thought. "Good thing I'm voting for Obama!"

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