Monday, May 9, 2011

Frat Life 101: Renting The TV/VCR Combo Unit As A Way Of Life

A few days ago I was reminded of an old practice that has all but disappeared in this modern age of instant gratification. In the early to mid 80s everything was much different than it is today. One of the primary activities that we at Sig Tau enjoyed was watching movies (and making fun of them). Strangely enough we did not enjoy the services of a VCR which at that time was state of the art electronics. Remember, this was pre-internet, pre-dvr and so forth. Sure, we had pay movie channels like HBO and the like but back then they didn't really care about their customers satisfaction so much. They knew they had you and that there weren't many other places for you to take your business so you would get a few new movies spread out over the month but by and large they showed the same movies over and over and over nonstop until you got sick from seeing them so many times. Nowadays you can go online and download a movie or find a site like Hulu that lets you watch TV shows but back then our options were limited at best.

Most of the mom and pop convenience stores would have a small video collection for rent and we found one that would also rent TV and VCR combo units. Every few weeks we would gather up a collection and a few of us would make the drive to the store and then we would make our selections. Eventually this led to us selecting some of the more, shall we say adult oriented movies, mainly because we were young, dumb and horny. With the gift of hindsight it makes little to no sense to me now to have a room full of guys watching adult movies, although occasionally it wouldn't be all males in the room. I remember one time.......well that's better left unspoken. Let's just say that there were two girls that wanted to watch the movies but didn't want us to think less of them for wanting this so they had to play a game for their supposed honor. Of course we kept telling them it was okay to watch when it wasn't and of course they continued to listen to us no matter how many times they saw what they said they didn't want to see.

When you're young you seem to be more willing to play games instead of having people know what you are really like. Supposedly with age that changes as you no longer care as much about what others think but it's been my experience that people still want to continue on with their games, pretending to be something they are not and I just don't have the energy or inclination for it.

At any rate, one time in particular we rented a copy of a video tape of adult cartoons which we found hilarious and it led to the founding of a traditional dance performed at all formal events that we called "The Walk of the Dwarves." Now, it's not that I'm ashamed or that it was anything wrong, disgusting or even sexual. It was simply a bunch of young guys being stupid and having fun at their own expense. That's who I was back then and it helped lead me to be who I am today. It's just that it takes too much time and effort to set the mood for how the dance went and I'm at work, so it's not gonna happen today.

Instead I find myself looking back at the old days and their seeming simplicity and sometimes it puts a smile on my face. At other times I have to shake my head and ask what were we thinking about. It's all part of growing as an individual and finding what life has to offer. The more experience you get the (hopefully) wiser you get. At the time we thought we had life figured out and were enjoying it in ways that we thought were fitting and they were, at least back then. Now I'm older and I've been around the block a few times so what was fun and worked back then is no longer necessarily as appealing to me. Suffice to say that I have absolutely zero desire to sit in a room with a bunch of other guys watching those kinds of movies. Some things you hold onto and never stop liking and others you leave behind once you find out what the world has to offer. And sometimes the world changes and leaves the old ways in the dust never to be returned to except for in memory. That's life.

Published by Don Leach

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