Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Scrambled, Over Easy, Shagged?

1971 was one of my favorite years. Lots of things were packed into those 365 days, and it seemed like summer lasted a long time - which was a good thing.

The album at the top of the charts for part of that summer was Rod Stewart's Every Picture Tells a Story - one of my favorite albums of all time. It took me a while to get used to his uniquely gravelly voice but once I did, I was hooked. Another unique feature about him was his "shag" hairstyle that resembled a mane as he pranced about on stage.

I thought that haircut was cool but I had enough trouble with my own uncontrollable hair without worrying about some exotic looking hairdo like the kind worn by Rod the Mod. That sort of cut looked best on a person with a long, thin face (and body to match), which didn't match my Asian round face or relatively short body.

Then one day Rob announced to us that one of our buddies had gone out and gotten himself a Rod the Mod shag haircut. I won't name names, although if you know all of us you can probably figure out who it is.

"So how does it look?" I asked, a bit envious that one of my friends had actually gotten a stylish 'do like that.

"I don't know. I talked to him on the phone and he told me about it, but I haven't seen him since then."

We soon found out that David was a witness and he gave us a first hand account.
"He looks like an egg," he told Rob and me, trying to stifle his laughter. "An egg with a shag haircut!"

We all burst out laughing at the image from David. And of course that meant we had to go see our shag friend as soon as possible. Which we did. Now personally, I didn't think he looked like an egg but it wasn't the best haircut in the world. It wasn't the worst, either, but it was closer to the worst side than the best side. Back then I don't think too many people had expertise in that style, especially on Asians. It looked pretty, uh, rough. Rod the Mod #2 looked nothing at all like the original.

Several days later Rob and David dropped by. "I've got something to show you," I told them. I went over to a table in my room and pulled a small, clear plastic box out from a shelf underneath. They looked at it and started laughing hysterically.

"When did you do that?" David asked inbetween laughs. "Oh man, you're crazy!"

Inside the box was an egg, with shaggy felt glued to the top and a face drawn on the front.

"Be careful, it's a raw egg!" I cautioned him as he picked it up to examine the contents.

"Raw? You can't keep a raw egg in a box like that!"

"You can't? It's been in there since yesterday." We both looked at Rob for his opinion. He just shrugged.

"It's going to smell awful!" said David. "It's raw! Didn't you know that? You should have boiled it first!"

"How should I know? I don't even know how to cook an egg. I just took one out the refrigerator and gave it a shag cut." Now I was afraid to open the box. "Is it going stink if I open the box?"

"I wouldn't do it."

"But the egg isn't broken. How can it smell if it's not cracked?" That seemed to me a logical conclusion but nevertheless I didn't want to test the waters. Or the yolks.

We sat there and looked at the pathetic little Rod the Mod #2 - or rather #3 inside the box.

Over the course of the next few months, us non-shaggers would find excuses to make strange references to eggs whenever we were around our shag buddy. Once after David had given me a setup line, I matter-of- factly announced, "of course I keep eggs in my room. Doesn't everyone?" A statement that made no sense but everyone laughed, shag and non-shag alike.

I know that all sounds rather mean, which it was, but what can I say? We were high schoolers doing dopey things. I actually kept that egg for over a year inside the box, never losing the fear of opening it for fear of being overwhelmed by that horrible smell David warned about.

One day I took out the box and decided to be bold and open it. There was no smell. I picked up the egg and it was light as a feather. It was hollow. Where the insides went is still a mystery to me but I'm glad it didn't smell. I unceremoniously dumped it in the trash and that was the end of it. Rod the Mod was still immensely popular, Rod the Mod #2 had long since abandoned the imposter hairdo, and we had moved on to other things of no greater maturity.

Wow, that song brings back memories. It contains one of my all-time favorite lines: "The morning sun, well it's in your face, really shows your age.."

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