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Commentary: My government is so good for me

I’m so glad that I have such a wonderful, beneficent, and paternalistic state government to protect me.

Why, just less than two weeks ago, our thoughtful masters at the Department of Regulation & Licensing ordered continuing education classes for hair stylists, barbers, manicurists, aestheticians and electrologists.

For some reason, my spellchecker doesn’t even recognize “electrologist” as a word, but I’m sure glad that my kind protectors have decided that, whatever it is they do, they need annual retraining.

As far as “aestheticians” are concerned, I’m sure the only reason the spellchecker recognizes that word is that, back when I was young, an aesthetician was somebody who occupied a chair in a university philosophy department.

But whatever it is they do these days, they now have to go to continuing education classes, the same as lawyers, for my protection.

Our overlord, Department of Regulation & Licensing Secretary Celia M. Jackson, declared, “This doesn’t mean the barber, stylist or manicurist that you see is doing a bad job. There just needs to be more consistency in knowing and following the rules, such as making sure that disinfectant used to clean hair cutting implements is changed daily.”

Thank you so much, Secretary Jackson. I’m such a silly goose that I imagined any idiot could cut my hair.

My hairline recedes more every day, what hair is left is straight and flat, and all I need to do is rub extra-hold gel through it and comb it straight backwards every morning.

I’m sure I could go to any $6 haircut place and it would look fine.

But, instead, I go to this fancy place in Mequon called “Park Avenue,” because that’s where my friend Kristine works. Kris and I have been friends since we were about 5 years old, and we’ve shared a lot together over the years.

So, I pay far more to have my dwindling hair cut than I really need to. But it’s worth it to me, because I enjoy Kris’ company so much. In fact, I always book the last available time slot of the day, so that we can go to the Speakeasy tavern in Bayside afterwards for a couple of cocktails (we used to go to the Centennial tavern, but they don’t allow smoking anymore, so I had to find a different place).

However, while I do not mind overpaying for a haircut in exchange for delightful company, I very much resent that now the price will go up because Kris needs to pay for continuing education classes.

The only way I could possibly support this new regulation is if the hair stylists’ continuing education classes were held in the same venue and at the same time as our continuing legal education classes. Then, Kris and I could go out for a couple of cocktails afterwards.

Oops! I almost forgot. My guardian angels in state government think alcohol is dangerous for me. My bad.


  1. R. E. Schallert

    There was a Barber & Beauticians Training School attached to the large Community College in Illinois where I taught for almost 25 years. Being partially bald, I always had my hair cut or trimmed there.
    The school’s director was the wife of the college’s security director. So we had a number of social occasions and conversations. Her greatest complaint about her students was that they very soon forgot many of the basic sanitary and safety lessons she and her staff provided them. She was also active in a statewide organization of such schools and constantly promoted continuing education.
    Such continuing education “courses” are usually just half-day or one-day workshops, with plenty of conversations and “shop talk” included. As I recall, Denise found that most of the beauticians usually enjoyed these opportunities to get together and “brush up” on some of their lessons about skin care, detection of possible skin cancer, etc.
    By the way, almost every professional group I know of (accountants, attorneys, engineers, doctors, lawyers, dental assistants, paralegals, etc.) are also required to take continuing education courses. Even in the military, field grade officers (majors and above) were expected to take refresher courses on basic weaponry and qualify with at least two weapons. Those kinds of courses also included gas mask useage, basic first aid, etc.
    Renewing basic knowledge (and new advances) is a part of almost every body’s education.

  2. Overregulation of trivial matters is a hallmark of government. Regulation of important matters such as off-shore drilling or of banks and insurance companies is left to the free market. You might think the free market would correct any problems associated with poor customer service. But then the government would not be able to stick its nose into private business so bureaucrats with no real life job experiences are free to harass those who have them.

    The idea “the government knows what is best for you” is a 21st Century take on “live free or die.” We can clearly see the consequences of this in a nation that has become brain dead thanks to a controlled media and state bureaucracies run amok. Sheep to the slaughter, something to think about this Fourth of July. You are free to do what the government tells you to do. Is that freedom? Not any kind I am interested in.

  3. If Mr. Ziemer doesn’t bother to learn what the regulated profession actually does, he should refrain from his reflexive negative opinions about the value of the regulation itself. His unthinking criticism is reminiscent of the mindless tea party mantra of get government off my back, that is until my family or I am hurt or until my neighbor exercises his rights to my detriment, or until my Medicare is cut, and on and on. Let’s start thinking and researching the facts people before we spout off.

  4. I know very well what electrologists and aestheticians do. The square old man is a persona I occasionally adopt for this column.

  5. License suspension, and the resulting loss of income for a person and their family, is a blunt and often inadequate tool to bring about compliance with laws. If CLEs will get the forgetful to pay attention to the law, it may be the better avenue than strict enforcement of the law via license suspension or revocation.

  6. I happen to be the Kristine of whom David speaks. I take absolutely no issue with the enacting of continuing education requirements. We at Park Avenue already take part in educational classes several times a year. The thing that I find appalling is the lack of organization involved in this decision and how badly this smacks of yet another way for the state to wring money out of some of the people who are least able to afford it.

    Every barber, cosmetologist, manicurist, aesthetician, and electrologist in the state was sent “Save the Date” postcards this past spring informing us of two (and only two) dates on which we would attend the required safety and sanitation classes. The Milwaukee venue is the Downtown MATC campus where they have room for 1800 people. The other class will take place in Madison, and while I am not sure where that one is being held, I doubt it can accommodate the remainder of licensees in Wisconsin. I quickly signed up for the Milwaukee class so that I would have a seat. Very shortly thereafter we were informed that we could take these classes online at our leisure, and take and retake the test at no extra cost (also at our leisure as there is no time limit) until we pass. I am able to give up my seat at MATC but in so doing, I will be refunded only half of my money. Oh, and I will miss out on what I am sure will prove to be a delicious lunch that is to be provided.

    Perhaps it would have been a good idea if the people running this show would have sat down and thought about how to logically execute this before actually setting the ball in motion. But what do I know. I only went to trade school.

  7. Mary Anita M Kelly

    I am a hairdresser and have been for 23 years. I am also a licensed middle and high school teacher who has to have continuing education credits to renew my license every five years. FIVE years seems far more reasonable than yearly or every other year. I have to agree with what Kristine said… the way it was presented to us was NOT done well. Mandatory training without the forethought of how to handle the large number of licensed professionals is absurd. I enjoyed reading Mr. Ziemer’s initial point of view and found his “square old man persona” PERFECT for the commentary written.

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