Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Broken shadows of the past

As I mentioned, we've been acquiring Atari 2600 games on Ebay over the last couple weeks, and most of those shipments have come in now. Yesterday there were two, one in great condition... and one that caused me to write this blog entry.

The second shipment was like happening upon an illegal dog-fighting ring. The condition of the labels ranged from beat to "I survived a fire...if you can call this surviving."

There was a smell of cigarette smoke, too, hanging over everything in the box (whose contents had been carelessly thrown in with no regard). I tried to imagine the individual who would have taken care of stuff in this manner, and thrown them into the box like that. The perfect villain for a dark Toy Story 4.

It was a stark contrast to all the other well packaged, well cared-for shipments we'd seen, labels kept shiny through 20-odd years, often individually wrapped and packed with obvious care. But with this batch, I felt like I was looking at a lawless and neglected bunch of children who'd grown on the mean streets of somewhere. I know we're talking about objects here, not abused animals, but in a way they are all companions from childhood, and I feel a sense of compassion and pity for this pile of plastic I was loath to even touch as I unpacked it.

For some of them, I think a LOT of care and cleaning might save them (and they'll get it), but for others there's NO such chance, and that's sad. There are a finite number of these things left in the world, and while the supply is just fine at the moment, it won't always be, and that number just went down by about 30.

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