Old sad electronics

When my cousin Margaret was a little girl, her mom (my Aunt Nancy) came across a whole collection of empty popcorn boxes stuffed into the back of her sock drawer. How come? As it happened, a few weeks earlier the family had been to the circus, and when the show was over, Margaret felt so sad for all the empty popcorn boxes being left behind that she gathered as many of them as she could carry and took them with her to give them a good home.

Do you ever feel sorry for inanimate objects? Things left behind and unloved, like old shoes dangling from a phone line? Here’s a site (courtesy of my friend St. Frank) that specializes in taking care of Old Sad Things. As BeeJay, the owner and chief gamekeeper of the site says: “I like old sad things.”

Do you? What’s the oldest, saddest technical thing you can recall being used as directed (i.e. not by a collector, not with irony)? I remember lots of Polaroid pictures from my childhood, and not from the fancy shmancy SX-70, but the old Model 360 with its goopy, smearing film and the pop and crinkle of its disposable flash bulbs. I still remember the shredding sound our family’s Bell & Howell projector made when our family movies slipped the sprockets. And every film ended with the rhythmic whap-whap-whap sound as the loose end of the film reel flapped freely. And the slide carousels for the slide projector… click… clickety-click click. The pictures came out upside down as often as rightside up.

It’s funny that as I sit and try to recall these old sad machines, what I call back most easily are the sounds.

2 thoughts on “Old sad electronics”

  1. You know this can explain a lot, like why I can’t throw anything way..it all needs a good home…(I will tell David and the kids)and going even deeper –perhaps why I am a social worker in Applachia.. a friend of mine here that is ‘from the mountain”(and there is a difference)said I moved here so I could be poor.
    Your Cousin Margaret(as in favorite)–and happy to know there are keepers of old things -seeing as I have become one myself(but not ready for the sock drawer)

  2. I can still hear the rip of shiny black film as it was removed from a polaroid snap shot; cousins gathered round to watch the photo “appear”, and yes, the whap whap whap of the home movies is unforgettable.
    Another sound i will always remember is the crunching sound under my grandmothers well worn white ked sneakers as we walked down the dirt road by her house. I loved that sound, it stays with me. Guess that is not an object as much as a person, but memories evoked by sound are, thankfully deeply embedded.
    Wierd as it may sound, sometimes I do feel “sad” for objects, such as a well loved, yet forgotten Tigger or Pooh, or maybe a tiny pair of shoes, worn only once by a baby who could not stand up yet. Or the now one-armed aquaman action figure, bid for on ebay by a trusted uncle, now living in a dusty box, underneath a bed.
    In my basement is a baby crib, scarred by tiny teeth and drool. Used by the children; purchased by an excited great-grandpa called “Big Papa” who only got to know the oldest two.
    Even after being chastised by your brother-in-law Billy, the crib stays, and always will. It has heard too many cries and coos. Are these just mommy emotions or do I really have sympathy for the toy/object that was cast aside. Okay, now I see the truth, for me it is sentimental stuff, but…
    Son Drew practically turned my classroom upside down this morning because a magnetic fish (from a set of 4) was missing from my whiteboard. The fish, named Azul, was not to be found. He felt so sorry for it, because at first he did not like the looks of Azul, had in fact wanted me to do the equivalent of flushing the little guy. I guess he was overcome with guilt, worried he had hurt the little fishy feelings lurking deep within Azul. First thing he asked me today when he came to my classroom after school was, did you find Azul? Where could he be? Go figure! I mean it is just a cartoon fish printed on card stock with a little magnet on the back that helps kids in my art class keep track of their “good behavior”. Surely it has no real feelings. It couldn’t be a real fish!! (and speaking of fish and feelings, let’s not go there–let’s just say when fishing with Grandpa, be sure to not hurt the fishy!)
    Tonya in WS!!

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