I hate haircuts – I have for a long time. It started before I was even a teenager. My mother would order me to stop by Deke’s Barbershop before my bangs covered both eyes and I might bump into a wall or a train or, God forbid, a girl.

Deke was a friend of my father. Deke complained to my dad that I always came into his shop sweating and smelling a bit “ripe.” Vern was quick to point out that I was always clean and dry when I left for school in the morning. It seemed both men had forgotten the standard fare for boys that age after school: it was called “play.”

Years later, I still wait until my hair is too long before entering a barbershop, although I no longer sport bangs, or much hair anywhere on my head for that matter. Deke has been replaced by a stylist named Julie, and I no longer show up sweaty or ripe. I like Julie a heap more than I did Deke.

Julie and I made a deal years ago: the quicker the haircut, the bigger the tip. She generally has me out of the chair in less than five minutes. Deke still would have been selecting his comb from the green, smelly glass where he kept all his barber’s paraphernalia.

Here’s the deal: things change in my life. However, I still get stuck in thinking patterns based on very old perceptions. By my own established rules, I’m out of Julie’s shop before I learn useful tips for being part of today’s “selfie” generation. And I’m so quick to jump up that I don’t give Julie a chance to clip that dang curly hair sticking out of my earlobe. Why?

Because I’m still thinking about Deke, and the way he made me sit perfectly still while beads of sweat tickled down my neck and I inhaled wafts of stale bourbon floating off his words about the Chicago White Sox.

What other opportunities am I missing out on because of old beliefs and perceptions that cloud the choices I make today?

I may renegotiate my tipping agreement with Julie.