Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The One Where I Couldn't Let Go of My VHS Tapes

I looked over at my movie collection today and realized I still have a hefty collection of VHS tapes.  I'll probably never watch them again.  It'd make sense to trash them or try to sell them to some poor eBayer.  The mission of posting, selling, and shipping the items mixed with a dash of nostalgia won't let me do it.  I mean, one of the box sets makes a pretty picture when you stack the tapes next to each other.  It may be the world's poorest excuse for a  puzzle, but who would want to let that go?

This got me thinking about how easy it is nowadays. With DVDs, BluRays, and digital copies, why would anyone choose to watch anything on VHS?  My son will never know a VCR. I'm not completely trashing them.  We enjoyed them for years and at one point they were the coolest accessory our TVs could hope for.  The two devices were like Forrest and Jenny.  We liked them together so much, we decided to join them in holy matrimony with the help of Reverend Sony.  "I now pronounce you TV/VCR Combo.  You may now play the movie."  (You'll have to excuse my Ally McBeal moments.  I warn you; they happen a lot.) 

The TV/VCR Combo.  Voted most popular and most likely to succeed by the class of 1992.

So anyway, yes, VCRs were great in their time.  How else would my stepmom have recorded the featured Disney flick for us every Sunday?  One day, I'll tell the munchkin all about how I had to record my shows on a book-sized tape while climbing uphill in the snow and how his grandparents had a hissy if my darling siblings or I dared to use the rewind function.  I mean, seriously children, you wouldn't want to wear out the $800 RCA by submitting to Blockbuster's plea for kindness.  The rewind button was there for aesthetic purposes.  The sweet ying to the fast forward button's yang.  If you wanted to travel back in time to 10 minutes ago, the highly recommended gadget of choice was the red convertible that made the annoying eh-eh-eeh-eeh-eeh sound.  

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the car shaped tape rewinder.   
I brought this up in conversation the other day.  The  parental units maintain that not allowing the VCR to live to its full potential by using all of its talents was not a decision they made lightly and they did so hoping that the spoiled, lazy little toaster could have a better, longer life.  You know how they say pick your battles?  Well, I dropped it.  Ten minutes later the maternal unit calls out to me frantically.  In her hands, she holds the old tape rewinder.  My reaction?   I'm so glad you ask.  "But mom, we don't own a VCR anymore."   And then it hit me. (*Cue light bulb over head*)  We DON'T own a VCR; there's no purpose in keeping my movies. 

The story has a happy ending.  As it turns out, my stepsister collects AND watches VHS tapes.  She is now the proud owner of many classics, including the two tape Titanic box set; because sometimes one tape just isn't enough.  And by sometimes, I can pretty much narrow it down to Steven Spielberg and James Cameron flicks.  It's like I always say, "Decluterring, like cleanliness, will help you stay off Hoarders."  <--That's actually the first time I say that.