When I was younger…much younger…and I would go into a drug store or dollar store, I would see stands of cassette tapes marked down pretty cheap to try and get them out of inventory. All the tapes in the stand, or later thrown into a bin, were from artists from my parents’ younger years. Fats Domino, CCR, Johnny Horton, Patsy Cline, Englebert Humperdink….you know, those guys and gals. My parents own many of them and they could sometimes be heard playing in our home on lazy Sundays. That’s how I gained my appreciation for music from the 50s and 60s.
I started shuffling through the display when the feeling hit me. OMG, I have become my parents! How could this have happened? It wasn’t because I was standing there, stacking CDs that I had looked at and didn’t want. It was because I found at least three CDs I already had. That I bought new! Keith Sweat (Twisted) was one of the first I saw. That was the last CD I bought before I left for college. That was my jam! Now, it is some kid’s jam that needed a CD to try out his new CD player and needed something for cheap. (My very first CD I bought was Foreigner for maybe $5.00.)
I see this as a sign. I was alive to see the end of 8-tracks, cassette tapes, laser disks, and even HD disks. People don’t buy CDs much anymore. With iTunes, who needs to? I have a collection of well over a hundred CDs in my carry case and I love them. Not some of the most popular, but they are the story of my life through music. I inherited the other half’s collection as he truly doesn’t care about them. I guess it is our story.
Getting back to the topic, when I turned 30, I realized a number of things about myself and enjoyed learning things I might never have noticed. Now, at 35, I realize something else. Those who are much older than I will say, “Oh, you’re still a youngun! You’ve got lots ahead of you.” Well, that may be true. Each person, however, reaches points in their life when they see evidence that times have changed. I’ve had many of those in the past five years and I’m sure I’ll have many more in the future. The past is past, but without the past, there can be no future. Everything in that bin was a part of someone’s past and I was shuffling through them, exactly the way Wal-Mart wants you to….like they are another piece of inventory. They were simply pieces of plastic in plastic cases with someone’s picture on it.
In a way, it scares me to know what those in their teens will realize when they get my age. What technology will change and disappear from existence by then? What changes in society will they face? Will the changes I see be a drop in the bucket compared to what they will witness? No one knows as is the way of life. No matter what gets old and falls from popularity, I hope we can see how it affected each of us and have a story or two to share with generations to come.
And Twisted is still a damn good song!