Who needs 75 million songs? Let’s bring back the broken tape deck

Cassettes that happened to be in my mother’s car stereo when the eject button broke – Paul Simon’s concert in the park — trapped forever. It was a two-cassette album, a live recording of his Central Park performance in 1991, so the stuck tape was actually “Tape One,” just the first half of the concert.The play button still works, so you can still play it – but you can only play it. Just a halftime concert, over and over again.

Everywhere we went, I remember mostly going to the orthodontist, even though that wasn’t quite right, and Paul was there too. He would finish half way through the repertoire and then have to start all over again, doomed never to reach the encore.To this day when I hear the opening drum obvious childI feel like my teeth are tight like wearing braces.

Broken Paul Simon tapes or unlimited streaming? Surprisingly, this is a tough choice.

Broken Paul Simon tapes or unlimited streaming? Surprisingly, this is a tough choice.Credit:in stock

It doesn’t sound like much of a nostalgic cause, but I think about it fondly often, usually when my family and I debate which of the 75 million songs on Apple Music should be transferred to the car stereo. Take my pick and bring Paul back! You can’t argue with a broken eject button. It’s a hard limit, and it feels very similar now, like the limited number of songs you can fit on one side of a cassette tape.

It amazes my kids, who only know infinity. Once, while staying in a vacation home, they discovered what Free TV was. “You don’t get to choose what to watch,” I had to explain to them as they tapped the remote helplessly. “It chose you.” They were freaked out because at that particular moment, ABC Kids chose to air a show that, as my kids described it, baby“Growing up, this is our everything!” I told them. It’s just a show for babies or grossly inappropriate for older kids, and we sat there and watched it all (literally, all of it) with no complaints. They went outside to play.

If you can say one thing about kids today, it’s that they’ll never understand the sheer staying power it takes to endure scheduled programming. They’ll also never know the pain of having to keep playing a CD they actually hate because they’ve been saving for weeks to buy a great song they heard on the radio. That’s all we are.


Now, in our age of abundance, when you can simply watch, listen and read whatever you want, who would yearn for such an era of deprivation? Yet, like that neurotic who asks for a menu at an all-you-can-eat buffet, I found this feeling creeping up on me: I craved limits.

Being forced to do something with the only content available to me was purposeful compared to the mindlessness I munched through unlimited streaming, and I missed it.

I miss it like I miss my very oddly curated collection of movies recorded on VHS – police academy, beach, dirty badass, big – I watch it over and over again. These films now exist in me like microplastics, absorbed into my being.not long ago i saw youtube clip Modern Tom Hanks Proves He Still Knows Snippets of ‘Shimmy Shimmy Cocoa Pop’ big This is what Tom and I have in common.

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