The language, every language I think (though only know the one…this one,…the one I’m speaking) is a living thing. It gains things that will ultimately be lost, replaced by easier takes on the same subject (thus ‘conversate’). It loses words that The Future has no need for any longer (like ‘blind date’ which due to the access we all have into each other, would require real blind people). We gain weight and shed hair. We get more informed and less involved. We come across words in books we need to define online.
‘Cassettes’ is one of those lost words, and in 15 years won’t even show up on Spell check. The unforgettable plastic on plastic sound that came from shuffling through tape suitcases, the lost art of magnetic tape repair (glue or tape or tape then glue) and mix tapes made from vinyl records, all gone.
Cassettes will never have the cache of the Vinyl LP, nor ease of the CD or MP3. And fact is cassettes sound thin, replaceable. Not permanent. The reason the Bass Boost has become one of those lost words too. It is not a loss to the ages.
But you learn the form from the function, and when I consider The Spin Doctors ‘Two Princes’, this is how I hear it, in tape cassette fidelity. Not that it wasn’t played a lot that year. It was. A lot. Video too. A lot. But when I think on it, I hear it playing a bit warble-y (another lost word, though maybe not a word) out of a ‘boom box’ (look it up, kids) in the empty corridors of a post workday corporate building, bouncing off the brown glass lobby doors and polished brass accents. Dodging the cleaning crew.
I was in love with a girl (I’m always in love with something or someone, usually me) and we we’re both married and she was a genuine beauty and I was her weird friend. When I say genuine beauty, I don’t mean that in any deep sense, I mean the girl looked like the girls painted on the sides of B52 bombers, dressed in flags and implied nipples. Blond hair and perfect make up. She drove me crazy every day for years in the same Corporate office. I didn’t have a chance. Ever.
But she needed help. She wanted to do some video (video cassette) for an upcoming Valentine Day Gift for her perfect man awaiting her at home. And this video would require an elevator (dancing to ‘Love In An Elevator’) and pool (with authentic Mermaid costume that we ultimately found out shouldn’t be submerged in pool), boom box and slight nudity. She had me at nudity.
And among the songs this perfect pin up o’ mine danced to (and she could dance), ‘Two Princes’ was there, the imploring, demanding ‘Well, Go Ahead Now!’ in the closed elevator built for two. It played as we drove from one location to the next. ‘Go Ahead Now!’. It played, it compelled, it repeated like only a pop songs will “Go Ahead Now! Go Ahead Now'”. All with her moving to it, the upbeat beat bouncing and causing her to bounce along.
And I considered. Was there a message here? Was this an invitation? Was this the moment I awaited years for?
It started as a notion and grew into a flurry of pride versus sense, lust versus the visible wedding ring. I did as she asked (and would have done anything that night for her) and videotaped and ran from security and hid from cleaning crews and snorted lines in her Hyundai. And my considering got faster.
‘Go Ahead Now!!! GO AHEAD NOW!!!’
Which I didn’t. The night ended with a hug and her appreciation. And mention I may see the video some day. Which left open I also may not. She left our job soon after.
And when I hear this…or when I think of her…I always wind my way around to the simplicity of it. The song was ‘Two Princes’ and I wasn’t the one she chose.