Since high school, there was a shrine in my parents’ basement. Okay, maybe shrine is a bit of a hyperbolic overstatement, but I can accept that. When I was in high school my dad introduced me to vinyl records. And his turntable in the basement.
I do believe in material love, but not in the flowers and candy sense. In the sense that this turntable and my father’s records have never, in my entire history with them, ever let me down. Lying on the floor in the basement in high school between his speakers, listening to the Doors on vinyl, was the most therapeutic survival skill I’ve learned to date.
Then I went away to college, moved back home, went away to college, then moved out again. I had my iPod, of course, effectively referred to as the outward extension of my soul, but there was something missing. Sure I love everything about my iPod, right down to the tie-dye skin. But there was a warmth lacking. The lying on the floor with my eyes closed, feeling every aspect of the music, that certain sound that you can only get from vinyl.
And now I have it. My dad passed on all his vinyl to me when I moved out, but mostly they just stood on shelves as a collection instead of having any use. (I was able to use them on my radio show, but not in the privacy of my own home.)
Yesterday night, my father, reading glasses on, flashlight in hand, plugs galore, installed his 1976 turntable in my apartment. (Special appearance by his 1968 amplifier that he bought with his newspaper route money. Seriously.) To be a little personal here, recently I’ve been really close to rock bottom. Don’t feel like getting out of bed, mopey, cranky, and grumpy. And then we spun the first vinyl. Simon & Garfunkel Live in Central Park 1981. And everything just felt right again. A completely harmonic aligning of all the points in my life. Not a heavenly chorus, just Art Garfunkel.
And I thanked my father with the biggest hug I could muster and a – “Well it’s not like you could use the turntable anyway, you already gave me all your records.”