We went to zayre

July 19, 2005


When I was growing up, money was tight. Going to the barber was something we really couldn't afford. We got our haircuts in the kitchen at home, just like the pic above. My mom would don her smock - get out the "good scissors" - wrap me in a giant bib and hack away at my head. Mom had two basic styles which she had mastered. The Bowl and The Tard . I didn't name them. These were names the kids at school had for the different haircuts. You'd show up at school and the first kid who saw you would smirk and say "Nice bowl" or "Hey, look at the tard". (You usually had to insult him back in some way or another just to keep things even or risk further abuse.)

After a few years of practice, mom started adding creative touches to her stylings. Instead of a straight bowl cut, she'd add the Spock vulcan curve to your bowl cut. This haircut would inspire some truly creative insults from your classmates. I actually got suspended from school for fighting when my friend Mike wouldn't let up about my Spock haircut.

As humiliating as the Spock was, it was nothing compared to the Zayre haircut.

Zayre was an ultra discount 1970s department store. It was like a dollar store on steroids. These were the pre-Walmart days. Zayre was king. There were tons of odd, wholesale products dumped at Zayre. As a kid, going to there was a blast. There was always some cheap crappy thing you could con your parents into buying for you. You'd come back to the neighborhood with your load of strange off-brand toys and explain to the other kids " We went to Zayre ! ".

One day, mom dragged my sister and I to Zayre so we could buy new pair of scissors. We had to buy new ones beacuse I ruined the old scissors trying to perform an amputation on my sisters Barbie doll. (boy, did I catch hell for that one) On the drive there, she was telling us about a new haircut she read about in a magazine. She seemed excited about getting to "try to out" on me. Up until then, I was fine with getting a haircut. That was, until I heard the words "try it out". That was a major red flag when dealing with my mom. "Try it out" usually meant you about to be the guinea pig in some horrible experiment. God only knew what would happen to you but it was never good. As I thought about it more, I started to get a bad feeling about the haircut. What the hell kind of haircut was I in for and how could I get out of it?

We walked in under the giant orange Zayre sign and mom headed straight for the hair care section. My sister ran ahead of us. She always wanted to be first everywhere we went. As mom and I walked up, my sister was standing in front of a big orange sign that said "Space Age Hair Cutting System". My sister was holding a round plastic disc in her hands. She looked up and said "What's this mom?". Mom picked one up and looked closer. It looked like a small flying saucer with a tiny razor blade inside. The box said "Cuts Hair In Half the Time". A light bulb went off in my head. I saw this as my way out of the "try it out" haircut my mom had planned for me. I said the magic words that my mother couldn't resist.

"Look mom, they're on sale"

She didn't resist. Mom bought two of the Space Age Hair Cutting Discs. The scissors were long forgotten. Mom was so happy she'd saved some money, my sis and I each got to ride the 25 cent mechanical horse in front of Zayre.

Later that night, mom sat me down in the kitchen for my Space Age Zayre haircut. She read the instructions on the box while I fidgeted in the chair. That damned bib was itching my neck and I wanted her to hurry up so I could go play. Finally it was time to start. She held out the first length of my hair and pressed the disc onto it. I saw a clump of hair fall past my eyes. A big clump. A really really big clump. I heard mom say "boy, these are sharp". I knew I was in trouble.

I got hacked. Worse than hacked. My hair was sticking out all over the place. I looked like I just escaped from the looney bin. It was the worst haircut I ever received in my life. I know mom tried her best, but those discs were designed by the devil himself. They were pure evil.

I showed up at school the next day expecting the worst from my friends. The first one I saw was Mike. He just looked at me with his mouth open. No wise ass comment, just a shocked stare. I wanted him to say something, anything just to get it over with. He finally said slowly

"What the hell happened to you?"

I just shook my head and said "We went to Zayre."

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