Day 239-- the memories pressed into plastic

I stretch, the muscles tightening in my arm as I reach for the box. I tip the lid off--still on my tip-toes--and fish my hand inside, fingertips brushing against plastic. Surprised I'd found it on the first try, I pull the small box out and brush dust from the lid.

It's the size of a child's small lunch pail; the black and white pattern swirls like water rushing down an unstopped bathtub drain, the little metal clasp smiling unlatched. I blow on the lid and clear away the rest of the dust.

The first time I had touched the box was in early 1997. I was participating in the annual Boy Scout event at the Beaver Valley Mall--I was eager to save face in front of the shoppers around me, I had clumped by uniform up into a ball next to me on a bench. I had had my first Auntie Anne's pretzel and eyed Sam Goody's Record Store from fifteen paces. Tell my friends to guard my uniform, I marched into the CD store and wound through the aisles until I was near the 'S' section in Pop/Rock music. Smashing Pumpkins--my favorite band, as my much-cooler-than-Scout-uniform t-shirt elaborated--had their own tab. The Aeroplane Flies High sat on the top display. The box.

I spent all of my cash on it. Close to $40, I think. For five CD singles (with bonus tracks!) and a special booklet. It seemed like a good purchase at the time.

I'm getting rid of most of my CDs. By most, I mean I'm keeping 50 (at most) and selling around 500. It's something I have to do; not necessarily for financial reasons or ethical ones, either. It's just something I have to do, something that needed to be fixed a long time ago.

No CD is escaping scrutiny. I've always been a completest with my collection, owning a band's entire discography. Some bands are escaping intact: Wilco, for instance, or Marshall Crenshaw. Others aren't: Afghan Whigs, Built to Spill, the Flaming Lips, Radiohead. All bands I've said "I love" about at one point in time or another. It needs to be done.

The CD may scratch, the case may splinter, the music may be forgotten. Every CD and every song has a story attached to it, though; the stories small segments of a bigger story. I want to think fondly of the memories--the stories, the heartbreaks, the laughter and joy--and not get hung up on the circular plastic that brought them here.

posted, with grace and poise, by Jason @ 5/03/2007 12:35:00 AM,


At 3:04 PM, Blogger Big Al said...

so your getting rid of them huh. Not sure if I fully understand your reasoning...maybe you could enlighten me a bit more so that I may find the reasoning and umph to look at my curricular plastic disks differently as well...

At 10:35 PM, Blogger Jason said...

I was being intentionally vague; I'm getting rid of them because I've been clinging on to most of my CDs for some pretty prideful reasons. I wanted to have the biggest, coolest, most eclectic music collection on the block. The music itself was almost secondary. Pretty silly of me.

That and lugging 600-some CDs and their cases around is getting tiresome. (What can I say--I like album art!)


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