288: Records
   

When I got back home yesterday with this big box of records, the very first thing I did was take them all out and go through them each one by one.  I was like a kid on Christmas morning, spending the next four and a half hours sitting on my floor, inspecting every single record like it was the greatest thing I had ever seen.  Checking out the album artwork, reading the liner notes, and getting more and more ecstatic with each new band or album that I recognized.  By the end of the whole thing I was coming down from such a high that I needed to take a nap afterwards.  It was seriously the best day ever.

Like it says in the comic above, this experience has actually had an immense amount of meaning to me.  The only other moment that's had this much sympolic importance was when I got my tattoo, and like that moment, this one has changed my life.  No seriously, stop rolling your eyes, I'm not kidding.  Let me tell you how.  When I got my tattoo, I did it for a lot of different reasons, all of them very good and meaningful, like how it is for most people who get them.  It wasn't just to have a pretty picture on my body that I would get to see every day, it was about what the tattoo represents.  It represents a complete devotion of my life to this kind of music.  It represents that I am SO SURE about loving this music forever that I have permanently marked my skin with it.  It represents that, even with all the ever-changing aspects of one's life and one's self, the one PERMANENCE that will persist through them all is the enjoyment of this music.  It's like saying, "I have no idea what my life will be like years down the road, or what I'll be like then, but there is one thing that I know in my heart will never change."  And the simple fact that I bled while getting it done just tops off the whole concept, like saying music is in my blood.  So already there was a lot  of meaning behind THE ACT of getting a tattoo, but then I went even further and applied even more meaning to it on a personal level.  As someone who has felt disconnected from his peers his entire life, this became a small way of taking back my self-image.  My whole life I felt like I needed to be someone other than myself in order to make a good first impression to people my own age, and now I'm not only saying that I WON'T do that, I'm saying I CAN'T do that anymore.  I'm making sure that people's first impression of me is EXACTLY how I want it to be, that they can tell what I'm really like from the very beginning, because it's now visible on my skin.  It's finally being in control of how others see me, even if it's still one-dimensional, because at least now it's the dimension that I want.  And the fact that I got the tattoo to celebrate the start of the webcomic is like the final nail in the coffin.  On top of everything else, now it's also commemorative, and when I see the tattoo I also think about the comic, and about all of you guys.  Everything about my tattoo's meaning has been stuff that I've ATTACHED to it, but it's been one of the biggest single life-changing events I've ever gone though.

Getting my first record player and this huge collection of vinyls is the only other thing that's ever come close to that.  The simple act of getting all this stuff is hugely sympolic, but this time it's way more fun.  It's a status symbol, an upgrade, like I've gone from  being a "hobbyist" to a "connaisseur-collector."  It's as if I've made myself more knowledgable, and therefore more legitimate.  And that part about knowledge is true, because with owning this comes all of the experiences of using it.  When I would read about the crackling sounds on analog recordings, or the differences between a 33 RPM and 45 RPM disc, I would always comprehend everything, but now I actually understand what it's like.  That's basically what this is:  understanding.  It's retrospective experience.  Speaking to people who used these or reading about a classic band's certain release is now something I can relate to and appreciate, where I couldn't fully before.  It's also opened up the opportunity for a brand new hobby: collecting.  I have NEVER been a collector, I was never the type of person who needed to catch 'em all to be the very best, I just needed my six and I was happy.  But now the very idea of finding new records to complete my set excites me.  I wanna go into a record store and look for the two Zeppelin albums I'm missing.  I want to track down rare albums and unique covers and original artwork, partly just to say that I have it, but also because I want to get to play all of it.  I want my kids to think I'm from the fucking stone age, because that's just what old people do - they listen to records.  And the fact that this hasn't been a gradual transition, that I just went from not having any of this stuff one day to having a shit ton of it the next day, means I get all of that impact at once.  It's been really fucking fun.

And that's all I'll make you guys listen to for today.  Still a lot, considering you never asked to hear any of it in the first place.  But, hopefully you enjoyed, and I'll see you guys tomorrow with another comic!  Woohoo!

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