When I was a kid, and there was nothing I wanted to watch on television, the VHS tape was my hero. This wondrous and modern technology came out in the late 70’s, just in time for me to enjoy my favorite cartoons, and then throughout high school to enjoy movies and well, my favorite cartoons. The fact that you could record television shows on a VHS tape made it seem almost too good to be true. We had stacks and stacks of these oversized cassette tapes, which were later transferred to boxes. There were also a handful of VHS tapes that had some of my theatre performances on them, but I’m no longer sure where those are today. They may surface one day in a box in the garage, but with no VHS player to view them on anymore, they’ll simply be physical artifacts rather than a relivable memory. Though, if ever do find them, I might consider tracking down a player just out of curiosity. I remember carefully marking recorded VHS tapes so nobody else in the family would record over them and destroy what I’d recorded. This, of course, still happened occasionally creating a bizarre show that starts with football game and this abruptly switches to a scene with Elmer Fudd taunting Bugs Bunny. But, I have found memories of them still.
Of course, by the turn of the most recent century, DVDs came to replace these bulky tapes and today, BluRay has replaced DVDs, and streaming media removes the need for anything physical at all. While certainly more convenient than having boxes of tapes to dig through, I rather enjoyed digging through those boxes of VHS tapes. It was like a treasure chest of stories. I have to admit that I love having digital movies and even books, so I can take my stories with me wherever I go, but I do sometimes miss having a physical object as well. I’m not sure why, but it made each book and movie feel more important somehow. A trophy of sorts and each one was unique. Today, as everything turns to bits of data, it all sort of becomes an endless stream of sameness. I loved going to the rental store to rent a VHS tape and later DVD. It was shopping for a specific thing to do that evening and became an event in itself. Since it took a bit of extra effort, the chosen movie was a bigger deal. Now, entertainment has become like using a dating app, where you can endlessly swipe right or left as you go with no real thought in the moment of actually committing to anything.
Though, yes, we can now binge watch just about any show imaginable now, which is definitely fun sometimes. But, Philippe and I still choose to only watch one little thing each day on television. Reliving those old times a bit, I guess. Though rather than a television, we watch it on an iPad now instead. Having run out of shows that were holding our interest, we recently opted to watch old episodes of the original Twilight Zone. This was mostly due to the fact that most of them are less than 30 minutes in length. A terribly short attention span is something we both share in common. I remembered some of the episodes we watched from when I saw them as a kid. And I was amazed it how they are all still relevant today. No matter how bizarre the story, they were all really timeless stories about the human condition. As much as things change when it comes to technology, we humans have remained rather consistent. And even if I no longer have those tapes from so many years ago, the experience is still locked in my mind and all of the wonderful stories embedded in my heart. Though life continues to lurch forward with change, I still have the fondest VHS memories.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Benzimida Orange, Vermilion, Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, Cobalt Blue, and Indigo. Sharpie Pen in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!