Wednesday, November 3, 2010

When I was a child...

In his first letter to the Corinthians (exciting city, Corinth, or so I hear. Vegas of the ancient world), Paul writes "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things".
Try as I might, I have not put away childish things.
More specifically, I am full on engaged in an attempt to relive my younger days, in what must be a 1/3 life crisis (my quarter life crisis involved a studded belt.  Those were good days).
In addition to pretending not to need to sleep (a favorite these days; I nodded off earlier drafting the first part of this post) and downloading 15 year old videogames that I played when I was younger (and playing the again, I might add) I've taken to mixing tapes.
Not that I was a great tape mixer when I was a boy. No. Nor do I currently actually use tapes.  Lucille and iTunes do a more than adequate job.
When I was younger, much younger, in high school (final year, valedictorian, yearbook editor, all around playboy), my friend Jeffrey mixed the ultimate mix tape.  I say with no word of a lie that this mix tape was simply the BEST MIXED TAPE EVER!
Did I need all caps there? Maybe not. Exclamation point? Totally unnecessary (It almost always is, ladies. Remember that next time you txt someone, ok?).  But I do stand behind the awe inspiring (and I mean Rudolf Otto kinda awe here, fear and all) greatness of this mixed tape.
Mix tapes are more that just the music on them, greater than the sum of their parts. The playlists I put together this summer weren't really mix tapes til they were burned unto cd, the music etch for all time into the physical medium of plastic.
So to with Jeff mother of all mixes.  He made me a copy, hoping, I am sure, to save my very soul by exposing it to the divine power of the mix tape.  I don't remember the original, but my copy was on a Lazer audiocassette, 75 mins.  Don't recognize the brand? No one does, except a few chinese kids who work in a tape factory in the '90s.  10 for a dollar at the dollar store (which was new at the time, and cause for very great excitement indeed).  By the time he got it to me, 3 of the 4 corners were already gone, and most of the magnetic strip was unrolled.
Sound quality? On the dollar store cassette? Maybe the hiss and the buzz of cheap tapes made the experience better. Maybe the flatness of it all made it more real, more authentic, more mixed.  I don't know.
We lost those tapes.  Jeff tried again, a year or so later, but he changed the mix. He'd grown, learned new things, wanted different music.  It was good, but it wasn't the same.  I was younger than he, not ready for the change, for the new.
Maybe he and I can remember the playlist. Maybe he and I can reconstruct the order, the songs.  I'll burn it on the cheapest cd I can find, and God willing, I will not put away childish things.  Not yet, anyway.

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