Monday, May 8, 2017

Generation CD

As my move date approaches, I'm steadily working my way through all of the things I don't want to waste gas money on by letting it drag down my gas mileage crossing the country.  The current stop on this disposal voyage is one that most people my age will eventually slam their memory cruise liner into, my CD collection.  Music CDs, computer CDs, burned CDs, you name it CDs that've been accrued since the mid 90's.  We're talking a milk crate, multiple binders, and a couple spindles, some of which have been moving with me, others have been stored in my mom's basement along with boxes of books that are next on the list.  And if I weren't moving at the end of the month, you'd better believe none of them would've ever been tossed.

Aside from the move in general, the main impetus for this mass CD disposal, really, was the desire to not be hypocritical.  I'm currently in the process of helping my mother shed a large quantity of what I would consider garbage from her house.  My childhood home has an unnatural density which has resulted in old clothing, unsorted boxes, and other unwanted odds and ends being unable to escape it's overwhelming gravity.  Once I'm out of Philly, anything I've left at that house will more or less join the abandoned ranks of my childhood tighty whities and broken tennis racquets.  If I were to depart without getting rid of those CDs, I would only be helping to increase the total mass of that black hole, which would make me a total poser jerk.

It took a little over a week to sort and rip/toss the CDs.  It was a simple, mindless task, and I should have done it years ago, rather than drag that crate and those books of CDs from apartment to apartment for the past decade and a half.  So why hadn't I?  Prior to starting, I couldn't tell you, but after getting only a few dusty CDs in, I can without a doubt say it was for the exact same reason there were unmarked cardboard boxes lining the wall of my mom's garage.

As a child, I first listened to cassettes.  Those cassettes still live under a bed.  As an adult, I listen to digital music.  Those files litter my phone.  But in my formative years spanning those years between, the ones where music leaves indelible marks of meaning throughout ones memory, compact discs were king.  The reign of the CD as the dominant form of media distribution overlaps perfectly with the years in which I was a pop culture vacuum, so it seems reasonable to assume that the medium became just as important as the message in my brain's heart.  Really, why else would I have a pristine copy of Spacehog's Resident Alien?  Spacehog just happened to come along at a time when personal meaning was being assigned indiscriminately at an overwhelming rate in an attempt to form some sort of personal identity and sense of self.  Related, I just found out that Spacehog's lead singer/bass player (Royston Langdon) was formerly married to Liv Tyler, and I cared far more about that fact than I imagined possible, which is to say, at all.

This was a thing (Photo Taken from Zimbio)

Years later, I now have these boxes and books full of CDs, but they're not CDs, they're little scratched up memories that mean more symbolically than physically.  They're my damn boxes, and they need to go.  Regardless of the space they take in the basement, they take up way too much emotional memory if I'm not able to just throw them out without thinking about it.  I am not the physical manifestations of memories!  Better than Ezra should have been gone out with the Buzz Bin, not somehow taken up permanent residence.  Ugh, I can't imagine the amount of weight these CDs would have carried by the time I reached my 50's.  We have the tendency to polish memory turds, and I never want to be a septuagenarian that looks backed embarrassedly on the years when I went through that late-1990's in the early-2030's phase.  I do not need fuel for the midlife crisis that will later fuel my late-life crisis.

Ok, I can't let go of this Spacehog thing.  I just found a superb video of their performance on Letterman in 2006, so click on that link, watch it, then come back to this paragraph.  Let's walk through this for a moment.  First off, Letterman's staff must throw out more CDs in a week than I could throw out in a lifetime, 2) that look on the guitarist's face during the intro, 3) those pants, 4) still those pants, 5) those smug face ooooohs, 6) vocal vibrato, so much vocal vibrato, 7) work must have gone into the studio version because his voice is sounding strained (still infinitely better than Dexter Holland live), 8) just realized the other guitarist is wearing a sheer, collared shirt, 9) that drummer is going ape shit, good for him.  Who'd have thought they'd be one hit wonders?  Here, cleanse your Network TV-based aural palette with Sabotage on Letterman in 1994.  Or Rage on SNL.

Anyway, this purge already has me feeling lighter as the possessions that once weighed me down are now weighing down future generations while they resist biodegradation at the bottom of a Philadelphia landfill.  In the meantime, there's going to be a bunch of free CDs on my porch for the next few weeks, so feel free to stop by and grab a couple discs.

No comments:

Post a Comment