To the barbers, and while waiting to have my head sharpened I am aware of my ankle being gently nibbled by what appears to be a small, bald squirrel.
When I point this out to Norbert, my Polish-born hair consultant, he rolls his eyes and informs me in a sorrowful voice that the squirrel is in fact a dog. In fact it is a 15-week-old “Jackahuahua” called Violet, which belongs to Norbert’s business partner Wendy.
I pick up the shivering creature in the palm of my hand. “A Jackahuahua?” I ask. “What the hell is a Jackahuahua?”
Norbert informs me that it is a cross between a Jack Russell and a Chihuahua – at which point I inform him that this will be my last short back and sides because the science of genetic engineering has gone mad and the human race is doomed.
It’s an extreme view, sure – but extinction has to start somewhere, and even the man who invented the Labradoodle admitted last week that it might not have been such a good idea after all.
“I’ve created a lot of problems,” said Wally Conron, who first bred a prize Labrador and poodle in the 1980s. “There are a lot of unhealthy and abandoned dogs out there.
“You can’t walk down the street without seeing a poodle cross of some sort,” he continued. “I just heard about someone who wanted to cross a poodle with a rottweiler. How could anyone do that?”
The same way, presumably, as you’d cross a Jack Russell with a Chihuahua.
Or a man with a fly.
In David Cronenberg’s 1986 movie, The Fly, you will recall Jeff Goldblum’s character starts off with incredible powers only to end up a horribly mutated pile of mush on the laboratory floor. Audiences were horrified, but like Frankenstein and The Incredible Shrinking Man the film was merely a cautionary tale about what happens when you mess with the natural order of things.
It is a lesson we seem determined to ignore in our quest for genetically modified perfection.
Which is why, when I see Violet the Jackahuahua playing in the hair on the barbers’ floor, I also see a dystopic future in which my fellow customers have three heads, or the head of a dog, or no head at all, just a mutated brain that pulses gently as Norbert asks it where it has been on its holidays.
We have all been warned…