The "Daily Doodle" concept is intended to warm up my creative engines, and is essentially free writing, poetry or prose, usually accomplished in under an hour with a minimum of corrections. From time to time, I will post the results here.
In some cases, the piece will also be a special commission, prompted by a particular buyer. Readers can still custom order their own quick short-short stories: details here.
Today's piece was based off of two suggestions offered on Twitter: the word "parody" and the photo below.
When he was 15, this would have been considered "the dream." Back then, he could maybe afford to buy an album a week, and maybe some blank cassettes so he could trade with his friends and get more music. It was always a difficult selection process. What tape would he shell out his cash for? He was still on allowance, so he had to make that money stretch. He had to pay for movies and food if he wanted to go out with anyone but his dad. Back then, he knew each record he owned backwards and forwards. You listened to them a lot when they were all you had. He imagined a day where he could make enough money to buy whatever music he wanted.
Now he was past 40 and it was time to move house, and the dream had become a nightmare. There he sat amongst piles of CDs, taken from his shelving and stacked on the floor, on their way to boxes. He had a couple of thousand now. If he did the math, averaging each disc as an hour, it would take him 5,000 days to play them all back to back. That was no joke. The next thirteen years of his life.
And this move would probably take at least as many off of his actual lifespan. What a load of junk he had. Even in the last few years when his friends were all going digital and making fun of him for still buying CDs, he didn't listen. He knew at least one guy who had a hard drive crash and lost all his tunes, and he didn't feel so smart now. For the sake of argument, had he wanted to rip all of these discs to a hard drive, forgetting the sheer memory it might require, if he averaged 10 minutes per disc ripping them to mp3, he was looking at 833 days of sitting at the computer, taking one disc out, putting the next one in.
The sheer amount of memory that would require. He'd always believed that cliché that the music he owned provided the soundtrack of his life. Oh, how he'd marveled at the scene in High Fidelity when John Cusack reorganized his vinyl by chronological order of when he had acquired it! Beyond drooling over what looked like a mint copy of Before and After Science that lingered in every shot, he had imagined doing that himself one day. Looking at the stack now, he didn't remember getting the first Velvet Underground on compact disc, but he did remember finding the cassette of it on the ground in high school. It still played, and he thought the music sounded really weird at first, but he recognized "Heroin" from being in The Doors. He bought The Queen is Dead around the same time, it was actually the last Smiths album he'd gotten, and he lay in his room and listened to "I Know It's Over" in the dark, pining for a girl who never gave him the time of day. "It never really began, but it my heart it was so real..."
Top of the next stack was that first Raconteurs album, which he really liked, but he couldn't come up with any remote recollection of when he'd bought it. The purchase had been meaningless. He probably bought it online. And that Yo La Tengo, it was a gift. He didn't even like Yo La Tengo, but that's how bad his habit was. He wasn't going to sell it, a friend gave it to him. (Plus, he could always change his mind, you never know.) How many records in this stack were equally as uneventful? How deep would he have to dig to find one that he had forgotten he owned?
And what about this Ian McCulloch record? He had gotten it in the mail just this morning. Would he listen to it years from now and remember sitting here realizing that he'd become a joke? For decades now, no one had bothered to tell him that Rob Gordon was not the kind of guy you wanted to identify with or emulate. He had become the kind of sad obsessive they made fun of in alternative weeklies and on snooty music websites. Hell, he had become the sort of geezer he made fun of at concerts when he was fifteen years younger. "If I ever get that old, I hope I have the good graces to die. Or at least stay at home," he had sneered.
Dutifully, he lifted the stacks of discs, bit by bit, and put them in the cardboard boxes, careful to maintain the order--alphabetical by band, each band's discography chronological by release--not wanting to have to put them back together later. Stack by stack, disc by disc, his face reflected in the plastic jewel case of each and every one, a frowning facsimile of the 15 year old boy who scrimped and saved and who, if he could walk through the door now, would think he had found the coolest place on earth.
Current Soundtrack: Ian McCulloch, Pro Patria Mori <--- that part, at least, was true :)
All text (c) 2012 Jamie S. Rich