I’ve packed up Howard Jones, Steve Winwood, Nanci Griffith, and Clint Black in the coffin of a cardboard box. And when the box arrives in Washington state, it will be opened and then their guts will be yanked out.
Their insides will be respectfully and consciously disposed of but their version of external skin will be recycled into new products, which if the owner is fortunate, will symbolize a period of their life like the original packaging of the cassette tapes did for me.
Just so there’s no mistake, I’m not Mother Earth’s best friend. I’m a pretty typical fair weather American friend as far as my lifestyle and consumption use. If you’re an avid recycler and saw what I threw in the trash, you would unfriend me on Facebook.
This cardboard box is filled with cassette tapes of a Beatles anthology, the Best of ZZ Top and a dive into international music represented by Bollywood and Rueben Blades. It is ready to be shipped to GreenDisk, which partners with other companies who hire people with disabilities to transform obsolete technology.
I have moved this box of music personalities for about 20 years. I stopped listening to them about 10 years ago. If I could have economically replaced my music library to the current technical formats, I would have. But as it is, I have different familial interests today and my personal economy is spent more on others than myself. My reluctance to donate them to the landfill or the Salvation Army has to do with my bittersweet attachment to a more youthful period of my life then it does with any guilt associated with packing the local landfill with “unnecessary plastic objects” (Nanci Griffith on her One Fair Summer Evening tape).
If I were crafty, I would transform my symbolic life into ties, purses or lampshades. But if I had attempted the dissection, it would have ended up as a box full of pieces of magnetic tape and plastic cases. So, this is the compromise I can make and an acknowledgement that it is time to give generous room to what is in my life now.
So, with GreenDisk this is the most respectful burial I can find for Patsy Cline, Almighty Bach, and Abba. They will go to Sammamish, Wash., where this company will outsource my symbols of dear friends to other organizations which provides innovative work for people with disabilities. For a day, or two, someone else will benefit from the days of my youth and if all goes well during the autopsy, enough will be salvaged to be transformed into a product that will give carefree enjoyment to another life.