An Award-Winning Disclaimer

A charming little Magpie whispered this disclaimer into my ear, and I'm happy to regurgitate it into your sweet little mouth:

"Disclaimer: This blog is not responsible for those of you who start to laugh and piss your pants a little. Although this blogger understands the role he has played (in that, if you had not been laughing you may not have pissed yourself), he assumes no liability for damages caused and will not pay your dry cleaning bill.

These views represent the thoughts and opinions of a blogger clearly superior to yourself in every way. If you're in any way offended by any of the content on this blog, it is clearly not the blog for you. Kindly exit the page by clicking on the small 'x' you see at the top right of the screen, and go fuck yourself."

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cassette Me Free

The damndest thing happened to me this morning.

I got into my car and started it up, and I looked at the dashboard, maybe for the first time ever, really seeing it. And you know what I realized?

My car has a tape-deck.

This is one of the benefits of owning an almost decade-old car. It's weird, but my 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser kind of straddles the great, vast divide that separates old cars from new cars. Sure, it's got a dent that's covered in rust and it creaks and groans like a Craftmatic Adjustable bed in the early morning, but it's also got side-impact airbags, traction control.

And a tape-deck. And I know that, but it's something that I don't often think about, or ever think about, really, because I don't keep tapes in my car because who does that in 2010 besides annoying, retro-chic people desperately hanging onto their Tretorns and their Umbros and their pathetic, unctuous youth.

And their puff-paint.

I can remember a year or so ago, reconnecting with an old, forgotten friend of mine who's now a big deal musician on the West Coast, and, when I say that he's a big shit musician, I mean that he's got a Pandora station, just so we all know I'm not resorting to hyperbole. When I picked him up at his parent's house, he was dressed in torn plaid pants, old VANS, a ratty-ass pea-coat and a hat that looked like it belonged to a Depression-era railroad conductor. He climbed into my car, stinking to hell of cloves, smoke, and generalized unwashedness, and he was immediately impressed by two things he saw.

"Holy fuck! Your car has a tape-deck! That is SO COOL!"

My eyes glazed over the car's dashboard and I realized that he was indeed correct.

"Oh, yeah, I guess it does." And then he saw my small, blue emergency light that I activate whenever I stop to help some poor bastard who's run his car into something.

"Holy shit! Are you a fucking cop?!"

"Um, no," I said, "I'm an emergency medical technician."

"Oh-- thank God-- 'cause I've got mad bud in my jacket."

And you know what? Even though I hadn't seen him since I was fourteen, if I had been a cop, I would have arrested him-- just for saying the phrase "mad bud" because, really, who the fuck talks like that?

Even that day spent with my old friend, to whom I have not spoken to since, I never gave any thought at all to my tape-deck. Back in 2003, when my wife and I were first dating, I made mixes for her, like all young lovers of my tender generation did. They didn't, however, include songs by "The Counting Crows" or "Matchbox 20." They were tender, sensitive ballads by folk singers like Stan Rogers, Richard Shindell, Patty Griffin, John Gorka, Lucy Kaplansky and Sinead Lohan.

Interspersed with the sprightly, joyful tunes of Sir Arthur Sullivan, of course-- because, let's face it-- I had to let her know exactly what she was getting into here.

But as the years rolled along, and as the mixes I made for her turned to the CD realm, I slowly forgot that the tape-deck even existed. When we moved into our house in February, my wife found a shitload of old audio cassettes in the closet, put them all in a canvas old-lady shopping bag, and packed them away. And, this morning, for some strange reason, I re-realized that my car had a tape-deck, and I remembered that the cassettes were in the bag in the basement, and I wanted them.

All of a sudden, I wanted them.

And this morning, as I was driving to work, listening to scratchy, dull and sweet recordings of songs I hadn't heard in yers, I thought to myself that nostalgia's a funny thing. And I'm not even sure if that's what I was experiencing. Memories didn't come flooding back to me, and I didn't get all sensitive and sentimental or welled up with tears, even though that is my M.O. I was just enjoying the music, and the ride, and the content way the songs made me feel, like I was getting reacquainted with old friends who notice strange objects in my car-- like a blue light or a tape-deck.

And I was even singing along to these long forgotten about songs, harmonizing, as if no time at all had passed. And I thought to myself, shit-- if only it could be that way with old friends.


  1. Oh man. I found my original Vanilla Ice tape in a box of junk my mom no longer wants to keep in her hole of a basement. That tape, along with every other mix tape I made was stored in...a VANS shoe box. (Because the lids were AWESOME back in the day..)

  2. That's deep dude...I definitely would have cried about it.

  3. My car has a tape deck...and NO CD PLAYER!!! You want to talk about old-school? They had barely invented the WHEEL when they came out with my car!

  4. Cassettes are hard core. CDs make people lazy, what will all the fancy skipping through songs and stuff.

  5. Who uses cassette tape these days, other than Osama bin Laden?

    But I still have old mix tapes made years ago, maybe I will play them sometime.

  6. Ah! My car has a cassette player also! But it's a '99 so, yeah.

    But I still have some of my old mixed tapes stuffed into my dashboard.

    And I pull 'em out from time to time when I get bored with all the new music on the radio.

  7. My 2002 Honda Accord has a tape deck. good times!

  8. " creaks and groans like a Craftmatic Adjustable bed..."


  9. I love that you harmonize. I don't drive much anymore because I don't have my own car, and my apartment has paper walls…so there aren't many places I can just belt out a song. I know that freedom.


Got something to say? Rock on with your badass apron!