PATRICK MCVAY

WRITER

Regarding My Distorted Records

If you were to take a look at my records and the way they've been treated -- by all parties -- over the years, you'd see how badly they have been distorted.  Going all the way back to the 1990s, the housecat I lived with, Surely, thought the collection of LPs that my roommate Chowder and I owned made an excellent scratching pad. Cats are known to think outside the box when it comes to things like toys, places to deposit their hair balls, ways to maintain the claws, and so forth, and Surely was no different. If she were alive today and could voice her thoughts, here’s what she’d say: ______.

So I will speak for Surely. Why did I use the record collection to sharpen up my claws? Because the sheer breadth of records those two owned meant there were many years of scratching life in them. What do you mean ‘double entendre’? I’m sorry, when you make reference to ‘the scope of musical genres that collection of music spanned,’ you’re going way over my head. I'm just a cat, see.  Pet me.  Oooh, love me.  Hiss!  (Scratch) I hate you!"

Anyway, this was the start of a pattern in which my records would get regularly distorted over the years. I eventually moved away from Surely, which helped, but, nevertheless, the decline continued: even when my records weren't being played, they were collecting dust, and when they were allowed out of their sleeves for a bit, they ended up doing time on a poorly-maintained turntable in a dusty room.

Most recently, our washing machine’s penchant for flooding the basement (the float system is temperamental and doesn't always shut off the water once the tub has filled, and we have been known to throw clothes into the machine and then leave for several hours) caused the most serious trouble. The records had been stacked in an adjacent basement room on the carpeted floor, and the cardboard covers drank the water up lustily.

My vinyl discs themselves might be salvageable – it’s hard to say because I haven’t had the heart to inspect carefully – but the album covers, which I think of as being part of "my records," are in bad shape, despite my frantic days of drying out what I could.

It's probably time for me to return to the basement to inspect my records carefully and see which, if any, have survived. My guess is that my records have been distorted so often that, at this point, I might as well just throw them out.

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