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The CD I most vividly remember from my childhood was Jimmy Buffett’s Songs You Know By Heart. The cover, put simply, was iconic. The red script “Jimmy Buffett” on the electric yellow background created a stand alone piece of art worthy of framing and hanging in the main cabin of your Four Winns.
The album became a staple in my household along with our Springer Spaniel, Paget, and the canes next to our front door that I’d use as swords when my parents weren’t home. Between the Sister Act 2 soundtrack and Kenny G’s greatest hits, I’d dream of the day when I got the keys to the castle – and that castle was the boombox.
Kids these days, they just don’t get it. They’ve got their “bluetooth this” and “wifi thats.” They don’t know the pain and the anguish of a scratched compact disk or the patience it took to rewind a cassette tape to completion. They’re all sitting on their iDevices “streaming” things while we had to endure the pain of riding in the backseat of our parents’ station wagons five miles to and from the local video store.
As the times began to change, so did I.
My tape player turned into a CD player; my VHS player turned into a portable DVD player; my brain turned into mush. Somewhere along the way there was a Talkboy FX Plus mixed in there, but I’m pretty sure my brain got wiped away once I threw out all of that entertainment and got my first Playstation 2.
Simpler times, they were.
Spotify and Apple Music? They overwhelm. Hell, even my Napster and iTunes libraries spoiled me with too much of a variety of music. When everything was at my fingertips, I got away from going to the store, buying one singular CD, and beating the hell out of it until I convinced my parents to bring me to the store again.
Those simpler times? I crave them. I yearn for them. I need them in my life. I want to show up to the beach wearing a pair of fluorescent Patagonia Baggies with Oakley Blades sitting perfectly underneath my Home Improvement Brad haircut. I want people to see me moto-surf in with my buddies while Tone Loc’s “Hit The Coast” blasts from our boombox like we’re the goddamn Surf Ninjas. “Damn, those dudes look so tight with their hair in the wind and that tanning oil all over their chest,” they’d say. “I wonder where they got that boombox.”
I’m talking your Sonys, your Sylvanias, and your Magnavoxes. The type of stereos that had both plugs and slots for batteries, but you never actually had batteries for because you couldn’t afford Duracell Coppertop D Batteries with your $5 per week allowance. You were lucky enough to get that boombox for Christmas as it was.
The functionality of these things? Unprecedented. Sure, a Bluetooth speaker can go anywhere. But do they make the same statement as a boombox does when you slam it down next to the street hockey net and start firing knuckle pucks? Does anyone actually look cool tossing a Bluetooth speaker over their shoulder like they’re a character on Nickelodeon’s Roundhouse? Would Casey Jones from the Ninja Turtles movies be caught dead asking for help linking up his iPhone to his Bluetooth speaker? No, he’d be queuing up “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” by The Spin Doctors on his NAXA NPB-426 Portable CD Player with detachable speakers.
As for me? I’m going to see if I can locate my parents’ Jimmy Buffett Songs You Know By Heart CD next time I go to their house. The mondo boombox I just ordered needs it. .
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