Monday, January 9, 2012

Things I Found in the Back Bedroom

I recently moved back into the family home, where I plan to remain for the foreseeable. As a card-carrying member of the Boomerang Generation, I couldn't not move back into the family home. Right?

I'm in the Back Bedroom, which gets capital letters because it's the place where all the junk goes, including excess relatives. I'm pretty sure half the family has done a stint in this room, and you can tell, because they each abandoned some of their crap here when they left.

Exhibit A.

I'm now afraid that my family will appear on Hoarders someday. Here are some of the things I found in the room:

My Dad's Jump Rope

This is cool, because my Dad passed away about 25 years ago, and I don't have many of his possessions to remember him by. I think I have one of his drumsticks somewhere, but a solitary drumstick is a very sad thing.

I was going to use the jump rope, but then I realized it was like, three feet long. In case you didn't know, that's like, one-third the length of an ordinary jump rope. I tried an experimental jump and nearly killed the dog.

This dog needs to stay the f*ck out of my way, for its own good.

An Old Pair of Glasses, Which My Aunt Inexplicably Kept

I say “inexplicably” because, the whole time we were clearing out other people's junk to make room for my junk, she was going on about how no one ever wants to throw anything away and how ridiculous it all is. Then she found this old pair of glasses and was like, “Hey, these are my old glasses.” And she kept them. More accurately, she tried to leave them in the room, but I was too quick for her.

“Don't forget your glasses,” I said as she left.

“The Lions Club will take these,” she said, even though we both know she's probably going to keep them forever now.

Owner's Manual for a 1988 Vendex

You don't even know what that is, do you? It's a computer.

This is a Commodore, but close enough. ~ Rama

I remember learning to use this thing as a kid. The Vendex came into our home because a) computers are the future; b) children are the future; c) Marjorie is a it therefore follows that d) Marjorie should learn the computer.

We're all lucky it wasn't the accordion. ~ Arent, Infrogmation

The Vendex ran on DOS, a handy-dandy, user-friendly operating system that gave you a prompt:


The prompt sat there, bright green against a field of black, patiently waiting for a command that would tell it which program to run. If you didn't know the command word, you didn't run the program. The Vendex had about 500 kilobytes of RAM, and you had to save your data to a floppy disk before you turned it off, cause there wasn't any “saving to the hard drive” on this beast, as far as I can recall. Other computers of the time offered a whopping 20 megabytes of hard disk storage space, but I'm pretty sure you had to buy an upgrade to get that luxury on this one, so we probably didn't. Whoever bought the thing would have paid about a grand for it as it was.

For that price today, you could take over the world. ~ Kristoferb

Three Boxes of Floppy Disks for Said Vendex

Some of you will remember floppy disks as these little, three and a half inch square disks that we used to store data on.

Exhibit B. ~ Victor Korniyenko

I used these things all the way through university, having finally ditched the Vendex the summer I graduated high school (no kidding). These little buggers held 1.44 MB of data. Early in my senior year of university, I filled one up with most of the first draft of a novel. I was excited. “I filled up my floppy disk!” I announced to my classmates. It was a lot of novel, after all.

One of my classmates sneered and said, “That's impossible, you can't fill up a floppy disk.”

Those of you who are old enough to drink in a bar may remember the older, bigger, decidedly floppier floppy disks that went in the Vendex and other computers of the 1980s. These were five and a quarter inches square, and they held 720 KB of data. That's, like, half as much as the other ones, for those of you who aren't following along with the computer speak. Back in the day, you booted up your programs from the disks whence they were stored. If you were me, you stored your data on a second disk.

If you're not old enough to drink in a bar, they looked like this. ~ Alex Lozupone

The Vendex itself has made its way to the basement. There, it's been raped, beaten and left for dead by the soot of the coal furnace my grandad installed because he thought it was a good idea, I guess. No one will throw it away, either because they can't be bothered to carry it to the curb or because they're going to sell it to the antique shop from Back to the Future II.

Several Handfuls of Mismatched Earrings, and One Pair of Matched Earrings

I kept them, to wear to the next Eighties-themed party I attend, assuming I am not, in fact, already too old for parties. Here they are:

That's as 80s as Hammer pants and hoverboards, by God.

Some Elderly Candy

I don't know how old it was, or even what kind of candy it was. I only assume it was candy; what it looked like was a few wrappers stuck in a colorful puddle in the bottom of a shoe box.

Hair Combs

As in, the type you're supposed to stick in your hair and walk around with all day long.

I ought to put these with the earrings.

Assorted Sea Shells

This is a really big deal, I guess, because West Virginia is landlocked.

Pictured: A big deal.