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Vinyl

    Vinyl records. A memento of a bygone era. You put those babies on a turntable and I swear, they sound leagues better than anything those MP3 players can output nowadays. The year was 1979. Long flowing hair, bell bottom pants, Huk a Poo shirts, and rock ‘n roll were all the rage. And to our ears, no rock ‘n roll sounded better than ‘The Who’.

We were obsessed. Between the two of us, we had a collection of Who albums that would rival that of a museum’s. Everywhere we went we would scour record stores buying up all ‘The Who’ Albums we could get our hands on. I will never forget one record store in particular we came across in the Arcadia, Eureka area.

It seemed like all they had were special collector albums. Of course, we immediately started sifting through the rubble looking for ‘The Who’ and boy, did we strike gold. Underneath the garbage that was ‘The Who’ albums we already owned, we found a ‘Live at Leeds’ album. Not just any ‘Live at Leeds’ album. A ‘Live at Leeds’ album that inside the sleeve contained the receipts to the guitars Pete Townshed had bought for the concert. I say “receipts” plural because the guy was known for smashing his guitars on stage, and he had to purchase about four of the things for just one concert. Truly, a one of a kind record.

When we arrived at college we immediately became known as ‘The Guys that had The Who’. Combining our collection, we had a record on every hour of every day. We’d crank our speakers, open our windows, and leave our dorm room door open for all to hear. Being at the end of the hall, our music would rock through the entire floor, reverberating off the walls like some kind of amphitheater.

One day I came walking back to our room, expecting to sit down, relax, maybe power through a little homework, and listen to some music. As I reached the threshold of our floor, I noticed it was a little quiet. Weird. ‘The Who’ was always blasting through our floor. I warily approached our room, the hallway seemed to never end with the silence. Opening our door I cautiously scanned the room. The albums were gone. Where there should have been stacks upon stacks of vinyl records, there was nothing but empty space. The sun beamed through the windows, highlighting the dust that floated carelessly through the air. The only thing I noticed was DK sitting amicably in a corner reading a textbook.

“What the hell, DK. Where are our albums, man?” I asked incredulously.

Without looking up, as if he couldn’t be bothered, he told me, “You know BD, I had decided we had become way too reliant on ‘The Who’. So, I took it upon myself to take all of the albums down to the quad and leave them on a bench with a note ‘WHOever finds these, I hope you enjoy them as much as we have.”

My jaw dropped. “OK, seriously. Where are they, DK?” I asked facetiously. I had known DK long enough that part of me knew he was serious.

He looked up, “It was becoming unhealthy, BD. I was worried about it. I had to get rid of them, man.”

I stared at him in stunned silence for a moment. My body paralyzed in disbelief. Next thing I knew I was sprinting down the hallway, jumping down the stairs, off to the quad. I frantically searched every bench before my fear became reality. They were gone. Forever.

For months I would be walking along the dorms, on my way home, when I would hear the echo of a Who song, like the unforgotten ghost of a loved one. Without thinking, I would run, following my ears until I reached the source. I interrogated the self proclaimed ‘The Who’ fans, “Where did you get that? What record store did you buy that vinyl from?” I never did find the person that was gifted those albums from DK all those years ago. I was upset. No denying that. But DK, being the amazing human being that he is, I couldn’t help but forgive him before I even had time to think about the heinous nature of the crime.

2010. 30 years later. A weekend no different than the rest. We were all having drinks when we started reminiscing about times of old. Out of nowhere, Lease looked lovingly into DK’s eyes, “DK, remember that time you gave away all of your ‘The Who’ albums to show that you loved me more than your valued collection.”

I smiled at the generosity of DK for a split second before my brain had time to process this shocking revelation, “You mean to tell me,” I looked directly at DK, a fire burning in my eyes, “you were willing to commit to such a dramatic action, as to sell OUR entire ‘The Who’ album collection, just to impress some girl you had known for less than four months…” I had never seen DK sink lower. Shame and guilt riddled his face, though, there was not a single ounce of regret. I sat back and lost it. I had almost given myself a hernia from laughing so hard, “You are so lucky,” I forced out between the fits of laughter,“that you are still with this amazing, beautiful woman some 30 years later, in the happiest, most loving marriage I have ever seen.”

I let DK off the hook that day, just as I had let him off for all of his other goofy shenanigans. He gave away a one of a kind collection out of an act of love. A best friend can’t help but respect that. Even if it was OUR collection.

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