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In memory of the Conair
Sudie Crouch

I admit, I am a tad bit sentimental. The oddest things evoke moments of nostalgia and memories for me.

This time, it was my hair dryer.

Not any hair dryer, mind you.

But a hair dryer I had had for years.

I tried to remember when I got this hair dryer and to the best of my memory, it was around 20 years old, maybe older.

So old that I bought it back when Rite-Aid was still Eckerd.

It wasn’t anything fancy, just a basic grey and blue colored barrel Conair hair dryer I paid $9 for so long ago. I don’t play the stock market but evidently had a good return on my investment.

This hair dryer had moved with me several times and been through various hair adventures. Perms, box color, good color, bad cuts, and even worse home shearing, it had dried it all.

It had been dropped on the floor numerous times only to survive.

I had started wondering several years ago if I needed to get a new one but decided it was perfectly fine and I would wait until it officially died. As long as it worked, I would keep it.

Even when I worked in a salon and was impressed by how quickly the professional grade dryers could dry hair, I never was tempted to buy one.

A couple of years ago, I noticed that it was taking longer to dry my hair.

It still worked, so there was no way I was going to get rid of it yet.

Sometimes, it felt like it was scorching my head; others, it was barely putting out any air or heat at all.

Still, I kept it. I only used it a couple of times a week, so it was not that big of a deal.

Then, one morning last week, my child told me he saw blue sparks shooting out of it.

I am not electrically inclined, but I know sparks shooting out of something is never a good sign.

“Did you have it close to your head?” I asked.

He shook his head no.

He handed it to me, and the barrel felt unnaturally hot.

A weird burning smell was detected, something that made me know it was time.

The trusty old Conair was doing its death rattle.

Before we returned home later that day, I made a stop.

I walked down the aisle where the hair dryers, curling irons, and other heated styling tools were. It felt weird to be trying to pick out a new hair dryer.

I found one, another Conair, that was originally $29.99 on sale for $19.99.

I picked it up, thinking it would have some pretty big shoes to fill.

“Mama, I had to replace my hair dryer today,” I told my mother later that evening.

She didn’t realize the weight of that statement.

“It was a good hair dryer, it lasted a long time,” I continued.


“Yeah, I think I had it 20 years or longer.”

“Twenty years? That is incredible. Some people don’t have cars that long,” she commented.

“I can’t believe I had to get another one,” I said.

“Are you mourning this hair dryer?” Mama asked.

Was I? Maybe a little bit. Mama has always said her Kitten was just like a cat and didn’t like change. This was a change.

“I had that hair dryer forever.”

“It was a good one,” Mama agreed. “But some things aren’t made to last that long anymore.”
Heck, I have had probably six, maybe 7 coffee makers over the life of that hair dryer.

Mama was right in saying some people don’t have cars that long; most things are not made to last that long anymore. We have disposable consumables, that are used up and replaced quickly, especially if they are items we feel like we have to have.

And here I was, after two decades of not really giving this trusty appliance much thought, I was remembering all the times it had worked and finding myself feeling a little bit sad that it was time to part ways.

“So, we’re throwing this away, right?” my teenager asked, holding up the hair dryer above the trash can.

I sighed.

I was discarding something that had been pretty dependable, and it felt like a betrayal of sorts, as if I was disposing of it in favor of the new model with the promises of faster drying time and attachments I will never use.

As much as I hated to, it was time.

Maybe, if I am lucky, I will get half as long with the new one.