I love visiting my family back in the Midwest, but secretly, I think I love getting to visit the house I grew up in. For the most part, my room has not changed since I left for college in 1990, with the exception of a fresh coat of paint and new carpeting.
All the pop culture artifacts are there somewhere for me to rediscover like an episode of American Pickers.
One of these days, I’m going to U-Haul every little book, VHS, hardcover first edition, action figure, vinyl record, newspaper clipping and souvenir cups back to New York City, inventory it in a storage room and open a booth at the New York Comic Con.
That is, of course, unless my arch nemesis (aka “Mom”) doesn’t first succeed in selling each item on eBay.
Despite the fact that I’ve reassured her that Neil Diamond Jazz Singer soundtrack is more likely to be worth 25¢ to a record dealer, she thinks my room houses an ephemeral gold-mine.
Yet, there’s something comforting about that dusty old paperback copy of To Kill a Mockingbird still on the bedside table. Or the stack of VHS essentials like Gremlins and Back to the Future, rotting away in all their Pan-and-Scan glory. These are the placeholders in time worth more emotionally than monetary. There may be photo albums and class yearbooks on the shelves, but I have a photographic memory of the where/when of each item that defined my geek that can’t be documented.
The hardcover Stephen King books may not be opened again by me now that they’re easier to carry on an iPad or Nook, but I love that these are the original copies that engaged my taste for his storytelling. My paperback copies of Dance Macabre and Night Shift (creepy eyes on the hand edition) are golden brown and flaking apart, but there’s no way in hell I’m parting with them.
On my trip home this past weekend, I did end up throwing away a handful of newspapers and magazines collecting dust for no apparent reason, but not before flipping through them for some I Love the 80s action. I love this ad for the “quality” difference of Scotch VHS tapes. Did anyone ever believe that Brand A was better than Brand B for taping your favorite shows on VHS (not to mention EP mode)?
This ad even displays the at-the-time “Big Three” network logos for added authority. The truth comes out.
Speaking of the ghosts of VHS past, does anyone remember those awful VCR board games? I still have these for Clue and something called Doorways to Horror, which I probably played three times at the most. I have no emotional feelings for them.
You rolled the dice and tried to figure out when to stop the Fast Forwarding to get to some pretty bad central casting actors telling you what to do next.
I hate interactive theatre as a result of this. I’m calling my mother right now to sell these on eBay.
One day, perhaps, but I’m a little bit on Tron overload this past weekend, having watched the sequel in mind-numbing 3D Imax with my father and nephew. Three generations of geek, soaking up the nonsensical exploits of the grid was a blast, don’t get me wrong, but paying visit to my original movie poster was even more thrilling.
Hands off, no touch!