Communication Technologies, Memoir, Uncategorized

That moment when you realize you wasted too many hours of your youth on something that became completely irrelevant as soon as the internet was invented

English: A RadioShack brand cassette recorder,...
I owned a tape recorder just like this when I was a teenager. | English: A RadioShack brand cassette recorder, with built-in microphone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember the days when you thought you needed to buy or record all of your favorite songs because some day you may never be able to hear them again? When I was a teenager, I spent countless hours sitting by my stereo on Sunday mornings waiting for my favorite songs to pop up on the American Top 40 Countdown so I could hit the record button and add another song to my personal music collection. I always hated it when Casey Kasem talked over the intro of a song.

My other way of obtaining music was to borrow cassette tapes from friends so I could set two tape decks next to each other and record from one to the other. Mine and all my friends’ 2 Live Crew tapes had been recorded and re-recorded so many times, by the time they got to us, they were all full of static and background noise.

One time, my cousin had a Beastie Boys tape that I wanted really bad. I brought a blank tape to our grandma’s house and went to make a copy in Grandma’s bedroom. I was told to be quick about it because my parents had things to do and didn’t have time to sit around waiting for me all day.

Unfortunately, my uncle decided that would be a good time to mow the lawn. Every time he passed by the bedroom window, I would grit my teeth and wonder why he couldn’t just do it after we left. Every time I listened to the Beastie Boys after that, I heard the distinctive sound of a lawn mower growing closer and closer, then fading out, only to return a few minutes later. I was dedicated to getting all of my favorite songs on tape because I truly believed that once they’d fallen out of popularity, I might never hear some of them again.

When my mom was a teenager, she had a decent collection of her favorite songs on 45’s (she still has a stack of them in her entertainment center.) At some point, one of her favorite 45’s disappeared. She doesn’t know if one of her sisters did something with it or if a friend borrowed it and never returned it. Whatever happened, the song disappeared from her life, and she hasn’t so much as heard it on the radio since.

All I know is that it bothered her enough for her to complain about it throughout my whole childhood. Every time we would go to a rummage sale or auction with records or old 45’s, she would dig through the stacks looking for that one song that she hadn’t heard since she was a teenager. Because of my mom’s experience, I developed this strange fixation with making sure I had saved each and every song that I liked even a little bit.

Now look at us. If I want to hear a song – any song – all I have to do is Google it. I bet I could even find my mom’s long-lost favorite song if I could remember the name of it. One day, I’m going to have to remember to ask her. I might even be able to find the 45 for her on eBay. Wouldn’t that be a nice Mother’s Day surprise this year? I should look into that.

What weird habits did you have in your youth that have become completely irrelevant because of the internet and other technological advances? Please share in the comments below.

~Amanda L. Webster

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3 thoughts on “That moment when you realize you wasted too many hours of your youth on something that became completely irrelevant as soon as the internet was invented”

  1. Funny! My habit was the same as yours; taping the top 40 every Sunday. I finally bought A dual cassette deck for copying and a mixer to run the line from the radio to the recorder. Before that, tape deck and the radio. I had a real laugh reading this. Thanks!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it. This is a new thing I’ve decided to do on my blog this year… telling stories from the old days without worrying about “showing” them like I have to in my novel writing. =)

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