Shucking CDs

January 28, 2012

I don’t know whether it’s the right verb, but “shucking” seems like the right word. I shucked corn for my mom as a boy, and as an adult, so the notion of taking the good part out of something and throwing away the undesirable part is called “shucking.”

In our new home, I considered having an entire section of the bookshelf to be just for CDs. Daniel, the sensible guy that he is, asked “Why?” His tone conveyed: “why invest valuable space for a dying media?” and I knew he was right. Matias had just showed me how happy he was tossing out all the plastic container in his DVD collection, so my path was clear. I needed to shuck all of my CD and DVDs that I deemed necessary to keep.

I won’t go into the next implied question: “why don’t you just rip [make a copy of the CD on your computer] your CDs and throw the entire thing away, or sell them?” to which I, like most academics, respond: “No! I need the documentation. And I like the feel of the XXX in my hand.” So I invested in five Slappa CD holders and have been very happy with the results. I filled four large black trash bags with plastic CD and DVD cases and put them in the recycling bin. I like having the covers and CDs all nicely stored in a compact container that I can access when I want, or offer to others.

A few months earlier, we had a similar conversation about my large vinyl collection. We brought in a carpenter to consult about building a wrap-around set of shelves for my LP collection. $12,000. There was no conversation, except in my own head. “Why should I invest in this dead media? Surely, the future owners will not have an LP collection, and these shelves are limited in their usefulness. I found eight wonderful black storage cubes at Ikea for $40 and for $320 I have a modern fabulous storage solution for my LPs. When I move out, they will be easy to move and can easily be reassembled in the new house, and the new owners won’t have to deal with them.

A question I will need to ask myself again after next year, is why I need to hold on to all this “documentation” when I am no longer a teacher? [I don’t need to answer this question, just now.]

Carrying all this thinking about dead media one more teeny step, I still have a sizable stamp collection from my childhood, containing stamps I collected for 10 years and ones my father gave me that he had collected. Stamps seem on their way out as well, nonetheless, I like them and have chosen to keep them.

It’s a humbling to see how we/life are/is constantly surrounded by dying things/people and yet that juxtaposition gives us great comfort.

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