A man's hair had grown so long that the town barber knocked on his door.
“You’re making me look bad!” the barber complained. “Please, let me give you a trim -- I'll just take a little off the sides and the top.” But the man sent him away.
Eventually, he got so thin that the town baker knocked on his door.
“You’re making me look bad!” the baker complained. “Can I give you something to eat? Maybe a nice loaf of bread?” But the man sent him away.
After more time had passed, the man appeared so haggard that the town innkeeper knocked on his door.
“You’re making me look bad!” the innkeeper complained. “I’ll give you my finest room for free -- just, please, rest for a bit.” But the man sent him away.
It was later that same evening that Death let himself inside (Death doesn’t knock). He found the man in the kitchen, seated at the table. PEOPLE WILL SAY I’VE BEEN REMISS, Death observed. ARE YOU HUNGRY? YES, LOOK AT YOU, YOU MUST BE FAMISHED. LET’S SEE WHAT THERE IS.
Death rummaged through the ingredients in the man’s pantry and threw together a simple meal, which the man promptly ate. When he was finished, Death tied a bedsheet around the man's neck and gave him a trim, gently turning his head from side to side. Then Death encouraged the man to get into bed, clucking as he covered him with a quilt.
REALLY, BERNARD, he said. MUST YOU BE SO STUBBORN?
But the man didn’t reply. He’d already drifted off to sleep.