Posted in Freedom Friday

The Eighties

I grew up in the Eighties when the kids wore bright pastel colors, listened to music that had a happy vibe, and the girls wore outfits with shoulder pads as the de facto fashion statement. Our hair was tall and our walk was light. We didn’t have to worry about texting, messaging, blogging, skyping, tweeting, facebooking or pinning. We led simple lives and had simple dreams. I didn’t have Freedom Friday to write about this.

The Police
The Police

If we wanted to talk with anyone, we’d call them on the phone, land lines no less. If we wanted to have a more substantial conversation, we’d meet for coffee, sometimes until two or three in the morning. Our yes was yes and our no was no. Our principles meant something.

There was also an unwritten rule: take a penny, leave a penny. If you worked in a gas station in Canada, you already know what I mean. A little tray sat on the counter next to the register, sometimes empty, sometimes filled. If you needed a penny, you simply take one from the tray. If you had one or two to dump, place them in the tray. Some gas stations still have them to this day.

Our Christmases were easy to digest. There were no iPods, iPads, tablets, Kindles or Kobos. We’d received books, cassettes, CDs for gifts. The most we’d splurge on was the Sony Walkman. Tops.

Buying books cost a small fortune at the time. Luckily, I worked in a library giving me the ability to read newly released books for free.

We purchased our music on cassette tapes. If we really liked the album, we’d purchase it as a special edition chrome or metal tape. Many of my friends made a fuss over the quality of normal and chrome bias tapes. I could never hear the difference. Besides, LPs sounded better.

Culture Club's Boy George
Culture Club’s Boy George

Some of the bands that were hot were The Police (the hardest working band of the early Eighties and my favorite), Utravox, J. Geils Band, Culture ClubDuran Duran (incredibly hot), and Bobby McFerrin. Our anthem in our neighborhood was Sunshine Raggae by Laid Back. The radio was what brought us together and the concerts were what made our summers.

We wore baggy pants at the thighs with belt buckles that nearly covered our belly buttons. Our shoes were practical, designed to slip off easily.

Everything was expensive. For a student, it took so much to save for anything, but when we finally purchased it, we appreciated it more. At least the movies were cheap. Four people could go to a matinee for under twenty dollars. Unbelievable, isn’t it?

I suppose the best part about the Eighties was knowing we had our whole life ahead of us. Not much different from what it is today for those growing up.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.

If you lived through the Eighties, what is your favorite part?

Posted in Freedom Friday

My Dark Secret

I have a secret. A very deep and dark secret. It’s the kind of secret that would make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Yet throughout the past year, holding my tongue, I never thought it possible I could ever admit to having this secret. This is my Freedom Friday series, and this is my secret.

Thunder and Lightning Storm
Thunder and Lightning Storm

What is it? Well, I could tell you it’s something simple. It’s not. It’s something life altering. Something that goes against nature. Something really, really bad. How else can I describe that which can cause grief and frustration to everyone around? There’s no other way to say it than to say it openly without reservation.

I cut my own hair.

There, I said it. I know. It is bad. Last summer I decided to put away childish things so as I may concentrate on the things grown-ups do. It took some convincing but I did it. I took the plunge and cut my own hair for the very first time.

Cutting hair is up there with food preparation and construction. If you know how to cut hair, you’re good for life. That’s exactly what I was thinking too. I’ve wanted to learn how to cut my hair for a long, long time. I don’t know what held me back. How can I describe the feeling?

It’s awesome! Yeah, that’s how I can describe it.

How did I finally learn to do the deed? I’ll tell ya. One of my good friends told me one day he cut his own hair. It came as no surprise because whenever I saw him, he stood before me an immaculate individual, well groomed and clean cut. It wasn’t until I delved further into his hair wizardry that he confessed his evil, little secret to me. He said it didn’t take that much time to do and it saves him money.

I thought, here’s a guy who learned on his own how to cut his own hair. It fascinated me. I’ve always wanted to do that. He went on to explain how he accomplished the whole process. I listened intently and took notes. This is what I learned.

WAHL Clippers
WAHL Clippers

I don’t know how it is in the rest of the world but in Canada, we have this retail outlet called Canadian Tire. I purchased a set of hair clippers (WAHL 23-piece haircut kit) there for $30. It comes with clippers, guide combs, scissors and a styling guide.

The first time I used it, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I had to go to YouTube for a few instructional videos just to remove the initial fear of putting blade to hair. They were helpful and made life easier for a novice in disarray. I learned how to clip in levels, blend, trim, and spruce up the sideburns. I also learned how to cut my hair without getting any of the hair on my body—to cut my hair naked. Yup, buck naked. It’s the only way to have a clean familiarity with clippers.

Since cutting my hair, here are a few things I’ve gained.

  • I’ve made mistakes—bad ones. But I read somewhere the difference between a good haircut and bad haircut is three days. No matter how bad I goofed, it’ll take three days to fix itself up.
  • I’ve saved oodles of time by doing my own hair. My first haircut took me an hour-and-half. Crazy, huh? Nowadays, it takes me twenty minutes, tops. I don’t have to wait in line for a free barber. I don’t have to rely on anyone. I can do it whenever I want. Even midnight on a Sunday night…if I want.
  • I figured I’ve saved $160 so far on myself only. When I subtract the cost of the clippers, I’m $130 richer. That’s enough money to go out to eat at one of these fancy schmancy restaurants. Oh, and that doesn’t include the cost of cutting the kids’ hair. If I added them, we’re talking about big, big bucks.
  • My confidence level has skyrocketed. Hey, no telling what I’m capable of now that I know how to cut my own hair.

Do you cut your own hair? What do you use? Is it something you’ve wanted to do your whole life? If you don’t cut your own hair, have you ever wanted to?