Now at The Nervous Breakdown, my essay on preserving the integrity of my Netflix queue:
Mine was the first family on our street to own a VCR. I’d walk the neighborhood kids in and show them the buttons on the player the size of an industrial microwave oven. “We can record stuff on T.V.,” I’d explain, head cocked back with the smugness of a Scorcese gangster, “and play it back.” The irony being we had nothing to record, although we had found an airing of Nighthawks on a Saturday matinee. We were the first with a VCR, but the very last with cable. Dad was holding out on principle. “Pay for television? Only a fool would pay for something that you should get for free,” he’d say before queuing up Nighthawks. Again.
Radio Shack was the only place we could rent movies after an extensive application process that delved back three generations and required your home, wrist watch, and teeth fillings as collateral. It wasn’t long before we’d gone through all ten titles in stock, half of which starred Don Knotts.
“All right,” dad said one afternoon as the near-useless VCR sat, staring back at him, big-buttoned in silent mockery. “We’ll do it.” And he didn’t mean we’d be getting cable.
Back we went to Radio Shack where he planned to shell out the $100 required for buying a movie on VHS. One we could keep forever and shove under the noses of the neighborhood kids! Except mom and dad bought the Jane Fonda Workout. I dragged my hand all the way down the banister to the parking lot in protest and accidentally cut my finger on a rusty nail. I had to get a tetanus shot because of Jane Fonda.
At any given moment in my house for months, you could walk through my living room and find someone doing butt squeezes with Jane in her belted leotard. And I’ll tell you something no one outside of my family has ever known. My dad owned silver tights for the purpose. (I mean really, dad, one-hundred bucks on Jane Fonda when Cannonball Run was sitting right there on the shelf next to it?) read more here