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VIDEO: How a Brooklyn Barber Overcomes His Tourette Syndrome

By Anton K. Nilsson | November 24, 2015 1:45pm
 David Acre, 27, is comfortable shaving necks using straight razors despite his tics.
David Acre, 27, is comfortable shaving necks using straight razors despite his tics.
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YouTube/The Daily Share

Cutting hair is precision work that demands calm and steady hands.

So what do you do if your dream is to become a barber, but you're diagnosed with Tourette syndrome?

David Arce, 27, has the answer:

"You just go out there and follow your dreams. If I can do it, anybody can."

By the time Arce was diagnosed with Tourette's syndrome at the age of 23, he already had nine years of experience as a barber, handling straight blades and scissors with elegance despite his condition which on occasion causes him to twitch uncontrollably.

"I dropped out of school in the ninth grade, after repeating it four times and realizing I'd hit a wall. I was already cutting hair at that time, so I said, why not, this is what I want to do in life," Arce told DNAinfo New York when reached by phone at the Greenpoint barbershop Tomcats, where he has worked for three years.

Arce still remembers his first professional cut, which he performed at a neighborhood barbershop in Bensonhurst, where he grew up.

"He had spiky hair and wanted a number four fade on the sides, that was my first cut," he said.

In a mini-documentary made by the Daily Share which is available below, David explained how he handles an oncoming tic.

"When I feel something coming on, I know when to back off. It's like the tension's building up from your toes," Acre said.

"We've had accidents in here before, but not with David," said the owner of Tomcats, Renee McCarty.