A Junkie and His Music

music junkieI wake up in the middle of a pile of jewel cases strewn about the floor like empty vials of crack cocaine and wonder what the hell just happened. I’m sweating like a whore in July, I’m still in my work clothes (minus my shoes) and have 27-hour facial stubble. It’s dark…too dark, so I look at the alarm clock and find it’s 2:30 in the morning.

I remember going to the used record store and purchasing a couple of CD’s, but then things get a little hazy. Ah, short term memory loss, something I’ve encountered many times before, and a condition exacerbated by the purchase of new music. You see, I am the true definition of an addict. I own too much music, 90% of which I rarely listen to anymore. It’s not that the stuff I have isn’t good, quite the contrary. Most of it is excellent, in my humble little opinion, but there’s a drive and a need to seek out new sounds, constantly. The old stuff just ain’t getting’ me off anymore like it used to.

Things are starting to come back to me now. Yes, I remember jonesing for new tuneage and, as usual, was having trouble justifying a new music purchase (which is usually at least 10 CD’s, a box set or some combination thereof, point being it’s never cheap and, like Pringles, I cannot consume just one…); my conscience was weighing pretty heavy with the knowledge that my family has to eat, summer camp ‘tuition’ is right around the corner, my Dad’s 80th Birthday was only a couple of days away, we have a mortgage, car payment(s), two sets of braces needed…you know, little things like that, that push my habit to the bottom of the pile. When you get old, get married and have kids the reality is you just cannot be so selfish anymore. That, and/or become more creative in the acquisition of funds; more on that later.

Yes I am a music junkie, but not so much so that I sacrifice my family’s quality of life for my addiction. But I NEEDS ME SOME NEW MUSIC! As usual my palms began to sweat, my heart rate goes nutzo and my vision blurred to such a degree that I couldn’t see my hand in front of my damn face. I remember rubbing my eyes, quite violently as a matter of fact, and sitting down on the sofa to regain my composure, when it all went blurry.

I do remember the following internal monologue, though: “Focus, E, focus! Just think about it for a minute. Didn’t I see a sign on the window of Dimple Records that proclaimed they are now accepting books for store trade? Yes, YES! I’ve got boxes and boxes of old books in the garage.Yes!”

I run outside, open the garage, get the stepladder and start pulling boxes off the shelves. I pull down boxes indiscriminately. Fragile/shmagile, I say as the sound of shattered stemware fills my ears. I care not, for I am on a mission. I do have a moment of regret where I wished I had marked the boxes but only because it’s so damn hot in there! It takes me about 15 or so boxes before I find the books, but it’s worth it. I have collected a ton of books over the years and I don’t think I’ve re-read one tenth of them, so I decide right then to sacrifice them for the greater cause.

I do some quick calculations in my head: I figure they’ll probably give me $.50-$1.00 for each paperback, and $1.00-$3 for each hard cover. In my head everything totals around $125. There’s no guarantee, of course. They may only give me pennies on the dollar, but it’s worth the drive and worth the risk. If I’m really off I figure I can still get a couple of bargain bin deals, right?

I drive down on my lunch hour, and to tell you the truth even though Dimple is only 15 miles from my house it felt like a 2 hour trek through the Sahara. I get to Dimple and park the car, jump out, get my boxes-‘o’-books and walk through the front door.

I plop the boxes on the counter and the nice bearded gent wearing the Foxygen T-Shirt exclaims “There are a couple people ahead of you, so it’ll take about ½ hour. That ok?” “Sure”, I tell the dapper little hipster. It’ll give me some time to browse the isles, an exercise I never tire of. I go up and down the isles, at least twice, and jump a bit when the clerk calls my name over the intercom and tells me he’s done and ready for me.

“It came to $175 in store credit, or $139.50 cash. Which would you like?” Holy crap! Way better than what I expected. “Trade”, I tell him. Duh. I grab the receipt and my I.D. and start walking the isles again. Need to find more stuff, now that I can afford it. Heh Heh. I’m more than a little giddy now and a couple of indie kids glance at me as drool falls down from my gaping maw. I’m fairly good with numbers, so I do the calculations in my head as I shop. $5.49 here, $11.99 there (a new one), $6.99, $2.99, $9.99., $25.00…and that leaves enough left over for the new issue of MOJO magazine. I am set, man! I go up and settle my account and jump back in my car. It’s just a habit, but I always make a point to open up each case to make sure what I actually bought is in there, the booklet is intact and that they’re undamaged in general. I bought the brand new re-mastered CD of Roxy Music’s Avalon once and there was a Slayer CD in the case, so you’ll understand if I’m a little gun-shy. Everything checks out so I choose one of my new acquisitions and slip it into the player for the ride home.

I succeeded! “Hail the victorious dead!!” I shout out my car window, for no reason in particular. I get home and download the disks into my ITunes and update the ‘Pod. Have to delete some live stuff to make room, but no big deal. I have dinner with the family, watch a little tube, and all the while my brain is yearning to get back to that new music. “Honey, can you please pass the P.I.L.? I mean the green beans?”

Finally, as my wife and kids are busy doing art ,crafts and other such girlie stuff I finally have an opportunity to throw on some headphones and let the new tunes enter my bloodstream. Euphoria. My heart rate slows, my skin flushes, my mouth feels dry, so dry. My arms and legs feel like they’re a thousand pounds apiece as I sink into the armchair. My anxiety is gone, baby gone, replaced by a sense of calmness I haven’t felt in days.  I devour each album as much as I can as fast as I can…first, sample each song, about .30 seconds per. Then figure out which album I like the best and play the whole thing as I’m going to bed. I fall asleep with the headphones on.

The next day is Saturday and I do all the little outdoor Saturday stuff I usually do: raking, weed eating, odd chores here and there, eat something occasionally, drink a beer or five. The girls watch a Barbara Streisand movie, which gives me another opportunity for some prime listening time. In other words I need another fix, but I quickly discover that the new stuff is already starting to bore me. Well, perhaps ‘bore’ is a little strong. Let’s just say that I’m just ‘not in the mood’ for anything I purchased yesterday and crave something different. I open the CD armoire (yes, I understand how weird that sounds) and start rifling through the archives. Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah…nothing is appealing to me and now I feel like I’m going insane! I can’t find anything to listen to! Damn! Shit! I start to panic, I mean really panic, throwing CD’s around like a madman, trying, in vain, to find that one particular album that will make the damn shakes go away, and all of a sudden the world starts to spin…and then I black out.

Right. That’s what happened.

So Now I know.

I need to get some help. Here’s an appropriate video that I think pairs well with my affliction: