This evening’s event: the reckoning of a tackle box full of electronics-ish components that I’ve been amassing since I was, I don’t know, 13. For those of you doing the math, that was a certain number of years ago. Possibly twenty.
Let me give you an idea of what I’m talking about.
Those bags on the floor were stuffed into the bottom. I haven’t been able to properly close this box for awhile. My friend Chris bought it for me for my 13th birthday, at my request. From me, he requested a telephone. And thus the seeds for the different paths of our social lives were sown. How anyone saw fit to tie me down in marriage is still a bit perplexing.
I have never cleaned out this tackle box. I have only ever added to it. Look closely! I have a telephone keypad that I wouldn’t even know how to connect to anything. I have film cannisters full of screws smaller than peppercorns. I have the working carcasses of two (two!) walkmans. The kind that play tapes. Tapes. We used to record music on them? You know… mix tapes? You’d have to flip them over to hear the other half of the that got cut off when you…. whatever. Just forget it.
In my own defense, I used to use this stuff. I used to make things. I had ideas that were orders of magnitude larger than my working knowledge of electronics science. You’d be surprised how far you can get though, with nothing more than a firm grasp of the concept of an electrical circuit. I sure was. My magnum opus was an old tape recorder that I wired into the phone line. I could just flip a switch and listen to whomever was on the phone, or record it. I never did manage to catch evidence of a crime being planned or any plots being hatched, but I did manage to thoroughly piss off both of my brothers. So, there’s that.
Last week, when I thought about doing a culling of my precious box of crap, I envisioned it as a major cathartic event. I saw myself agonizing over the decision to trash every wire I’d ever clipped and saved. The reality was far more mundane. As it happened, I worried more about what to keep than what to toss. Bag of switches – gone. Bag of a dozen electric motors – gone. Mini speakers, headphones, microphones, plugs, capacitors (why do I have capacitors?), transformers (not the kind that turn into robots…) and all manner of spring, screw and nut. All gone without a second look. But I kept the motion detector that I *cough* stole from the construction site at the Berkshire Mall when they gutted the old Steigers, cuz I’m totally gonna do something awesome with it someday.
Now my tackle box is full of the things that I actually use, or will likely use, now that I, you know, own a freakin’ house. Less of the salvaged components of old stereo equipment and more of the telephone, television, computer and electrical cables, connectors and adapters. All that stuff is also now living in one box, instead of being haphazardly divided into every conceivable corner of my garage.
But I’m not done yet.