02 Apr Out with the old
When the last Blockbuster in town closed four or so years ago, I thought what everyone not employed by Blockbuster at the time thought: “Good.”
It always had been an ordeal renting from Blockbuster and, between Netflix and the public library, Blockbuster never had anything I needed. Especially after having taught me the hard way how much cheaper it was to spend $20 on a DVD than to rent one from them for $4 and pay $20 in late fees. Still, as I came across my old Blockbuster card this week, it was the second time I was nostalgic for video rentals. The first time this week I was nostalgic for Blockbuster was as Friday night approached. It has gotten to the point where I fear the decision to watch a movie. Between Netflix and Amazon Prime there are too many choices and I usually spend as long scrolling through titles as I would just choosing the first movie that comes up.
At some point over the last few weeks, my library card cracked. I didn’t notice it, but when I borrowed some books this week, they had to replace my keychain card. This prompted a keychain cleaning. It made me think about how rarely one is required, nowadays, to add things to their key chain.
If you haven’t move to a new region, your grocery card, library card, etc. never is updated. My Food Lion card is attached to a phone number I haven’t had in more than a decade. As I went to remove the damaged library card I came across a Blockbuster Rewards card I’ve used only a few times this century and never in this decade, and the remnants of the last library card I’d had replaced.
The pack-rat in me wanted to keep the Blockbuster Rewards car, still. “You never know…” it chided in the back of my mind. But I do know, I almost responded out loud. I know for a fact I never, ever, ever will be in a position where I say to myself, “I wish I never had thrown out that Blockbuster Rewards card.”
I have a good friend who has collected comic books professionally. He deals in the rare, the odd, and the geek culture items that have become all the craze among the ironically nostalgic. He knows how to store, file, and catalogue things. More important, he knows whether something is likely to increase in value or not. When we were kids, he would caution me occasionally to put aside this or that comic book, because it likely would increase in value. I didn’t. Mostly because I’m lazy, but also because (it seemed at the time and still seems now) the return on my investment wasn’t significant enough.
The 75 cents spent on a comic that could appreciate hundreds of times and eventually be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars certainly would have been worth the investment. But the lifestyle changes required to support that investment would have been more than I could bear. I would have to, for instance, be organized. I would have to find a place in my room to store the valuable comics and store them there. I would have to remember where that place was, and I would have to protect the comics with bags and boards. The cost to my sense of who I was was higher than I was willing to pay. I was sloppy, devil-may-care, and disorganized then s now.
Of course, as a self-aware person I have to consider whether I remain this way because I prefer it or because I’m afraid of attempting to be an organized person and failing. It’s a real possibility, as I’ve failed at organizational attempts several times before. Maybe it’s easier to say I won’t do it rather than admit I can’t do it. After all, the end result remains the same. The middle ground I’ve chosen is almost Buddhist. I just try not to get attached to things.
When and item appears or disappears from my life, I watch the event with amused disinterest. So, although I had seen the Blockbuster Rewards card every time I’ve used my library card during the last two decades, it never registered to me to deal with it one way or another. But, once I had to touch the Blockbuster Rewards card to slide it along my key ring as I replaced the broken library card for the new one, it occurred to me there really was no reason to keep it.
So in the extreme unlikelihood of seeing a $50 price tag on a Blockbuster Rewards $50 novelty in some future junk store. I can remark in the same way I remark on valuable Spiderman comic books and Star Wars merchandise still in the package, with the detached interest of someone whose memory has been jarred but without regret or rancor. “Humph,” I’ll say, “I used to have one of those.”