"With the certitude of a true believer, Vellya Paapen had assured the twins that there was no such thing in the world as a black cat. He said that there were only black, cat-shaped holes in the universe."
-- Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

Sunday, April 21, 2013

My Open Letter to 1982

In marriage, there is compromise.  Each partner brings certain qualities to the union, as well as certain beloved possessions—pets, furniture, artwork... electronics—and all of those things must find a way to cohabitate together, for better or for worse.

To our marriage, I brought a very old and much-loved VCR, and thirty-six VHS tapes.

My husband, the computer geek, frowned when I lugged these items into our home.  When he opened his mouth, presumably to make some remark about Goodwill or trash day, I told him in no uncertain terms that this VCR was a member of our family and that it would find a place of honor in our living room.  He closed his mouth and hooked it up, grumbling as he made room for this noisy, archaic stepchild amongst his U-Verse and X-Box and Blu-Ray babies.  And, thus, compromise was achieved.

One night when we were watching my VHS tape of Clue (awesome movie), my hubby decided he needed some popcorn, so I dutifully paused the tape.  However, when the making of the popcorn took more than five minutes (why? I don't know) the tape came un-paused and I had to rewind and pause again.  Annoyed, I complained aloud:

"I have never understood why VHS tapes un-pause themselves after five minutes.  OBVIOUSLY I'm not ready for it to play again, otherwise I would've hit play."  Then the hubby informed me that staying paused for too long is bad for the tape.  "Oh," I said.  "Well, then they should STOP after five minutes then, not PLAY.  It still doesn't make any sense to PLAY if the viewer is not ready yet.  No one wants to be on the way back from the bathroom and hear their movie start up again without them.  It causes unnecessary stress.  They should just STOP.  Why did they make them this way?!”

There was a long silence from the kitchen.  Then the hubby said, "Yeah… you know, you're right…  You should write a letter to 1982."

And so, ignoring the hubby’s sarcasm, I did.

My Open Letter to 1982


(I was pretty darn cute in 1982...)

 Dear 1982,

So, first of all, what is up with the VCR pause button?  Could you not have come up with a better plan than simply making it play again after five minutes?  How about making it stop?  How about making it start beeping at four minutes and forty-five seconds so that at least we have some warning as we are hurrying out of the bathroom or pouring our popcorn into a bowl?  And while we're on the subject of VCRs, why did you make them so damn hard to PROGRAM?  People are STILL talking about that.  In 2013.  Seriously.

But you know, 1982, you weren't ALL bad.  I mean, you did bring us Poltergeist and E.T. and The Dark Crystal and Tron (what a strange year for movies...) and iconic songs like Thriller and Eye of the Tiger.  Plus, I’m pretty sure that was the year my mom first read Bunnicula to me.  It’s still one of my all-time favorite books.

I was only five years old for most of 1982, but it was a big year in my little life.  I started Kindergarten that year, and got my puppy Lassie, and spent a lot of time playing with my Lite Brite and my brother’s Hoth Imperial Attack Base playset and sitting on a stool in the arcade at Richardson Square Mall to play Pac-Man and Galaga.  And I did ALL of those things in my favorite three-quarter sleeve rainbow shirt, which I would have worn every single day if my mom had let me.  Those are good memories.

Then again, I can’t forget that 1982 was the year that took away my Pappy and, on the day of his funeral, gave me my first stitches.  That was a hard day for many reasons.

I can't believe it's been thirty-one years since I've seen you, 1982... Where has the time gone?  I guess I'll forgive you your faults, since I've made my share of mistakes since we saw each other last; no person, no year, can be perfect.  So let's let bygones be bygones.  Let's put the past behind us and look forward, together, into the future.  Thirty-one years from now, in 2044, what will we have to complain about?  My money's on arthritis, too many freaking movies with Suri Cruise in them, and the fact that my VCR still un-pauses after five minutes.  (Sigh.)

Till I finally get my time machine and we meet again,
Your friend,

P.S.  I really wish I still had that cool rainbow shirt.

P.P.S.  AND the Hoth Imperial Attack Base Playset.  That thing was AWESOME.


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