Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Blockbuster is Over, but I Have My Memories

Blockbuster is done. There are about 350 stores left in the US, 300 of which are owned by Dish Network. Those 300 are closing down, with the other 50 franchise-owned stores staying open. I don't expect them to last long.

As I watch the slow death of the movie rental business, I remember back to the days when I was a young 19-year-old, having freshly "escaped" from the abusive home of Mama. You can read a bit about my childhood here (keep in mind, I am no longer a Christian, so that bit doesn't apply). 

Anyway, I went to live with my dad. While there, I quickly realized that I had no clue about any cultural references in movie or television. People would say something and then stare at me blankly as I blinked back at them, having nary a clue that the weird thing they had just uttered was brilliantly pulled from the recesses of their uncreative mind, unable to spout original material.

So I decided to go to Blockbuster and rent a video. That turned into seven, which I watched all until five in the morning. Then, I caught a few hours of sleep and repeated the process. Day after day, I did this.

I watched movies like Julian Po, Scarface, Hot Shots, The Scent of a Woman, School Ties, The Dead Poet's Society, every season of Friends, the worthless season of Roswell, Princess Bride, Princess Bride again, and again, and again, and then twenty more times. The movies kept coming. I memorized them right down to the last syllable.

The smell of the moldy carpet of the video store is still in my head. The feel of the smooth plastic cases of the VHS flicks. The swipe of my debit card and the raising of the eyebrow of the attendant when he saw my rental history.

But I got my water cooler cred. I figured out the references. I began using them. I mushed my brain into the same lack of creativity as my peers.

And now the stores are dead.

But no matter. There are alternatives and we have moved on.

1 comment:

  1. My year in a Southern Baptist college helped some with understanding cultural references, many people liked to watch DVD's of different movies in the lounges in the dorm buildings, and I started picking up references from different shows that many people loved around there (the biggest was The Office).

    In the years since, it's been a lot of YouTube, and watching TV in my own house. I've been watching a lot of Family Guy, the Simpsons and Revolution.

    People who have never had the experience that we have don't even realize how much of everyday conversation and daily life you can't even begin to understand if you aren't caught up on the pop culture around you.