You’ll notice none of America’s problems have been solved. Well, you can only blame yourself for not doing a good enough job of demanding the government act on the brilliant ideas I’ve been dispensing every week in Metro, the world’s greatest newspaper. Don’t bother groveling for forgiveness; it demeans us both.

Instead, clamor for immediate implementation of my solution to America’s most divisive issue, health care. Rising prices, doctor shortages and unequal access have forced everyone onto two opposing sides — sick people demanding free medicine, and medical people who want lots of money for doing nothing. Stir in some irresponsible political demagoguery and you’ve got the dumbest possible reason for America’s second civil war.

Luckily, we can avoid needless bloodshed and PBS documentaries by looking to what historians call “the past.” In the old days, “licensed” doctors weren’t the only ones keeping people healthy. Most medical operations were performed by barbers who pulled teeth and amputated limbs while talking pleasantly about current events, sports and weather (actually, at the time plague, jousting and plague). It wasn’t perfect, but if you died your funeral haircut was free, a great deal back when grooming was a luxury available only to kings, popes and poodles.


Let’s bring back that halcyon era. We’ve got the barbers! We should put them to the work of binding this nation’s wounds — literally.

Barbers allay both sides’ complaints: availability and cost. Every town has one — except for a few restricted, “bald only” communities like Smooth Top, N.D., — and the waiting time for an appointment can be measured in magazine articles. I know they can keep costs low because, as someone who spent many years getting $4 hair cuts from student barbers, I’m confident they can deliver at least passable medical treatment. Besides, if they make a mistake you can just grow it out and get the surgery redone later!

Why mess with tyrannical public options when we can let the free market establish how great an idea this is? America’s barbers are ready, willing and able — to not only lift the nation’s health care burden, but also to sweep up whatever’s left on the floor when they’re done.

– Elliott Kalan is an Emmy-winning writer for “The Daily Show.”

Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages. Opposing viewpoints are welcome. Please send 400-word submissions to

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