Again this year, I am faced with the dilemma of what to get my husband for Christmas. I am so easy – give me anything dog-related or diamond-related, and I’m a happy elf. But he is another story. I do not like to go the shirt-sweater-socks route, but finding something he’ll really like is akin to discovering Atlantis, or the fountain of youth (now wouldn’t that be an awesome gift!).
I got a glimmer of hope when Richard described an NPR interview with William Shatner about his newest release, Seeking Major Tom. On Donner! On Blitzen! To Amazon I flew, and found that the boxed set was vinyl, at around $53. Vinyl? Who wants records anymore?
Richard does! I recalled the many times over the years that he lamented the destruction of his deluxe turntable during our move here from Maryland. Many of his albums were also ruined. I also caught a thought that danced fleetingly through my head: he once remarked, “Vinyl is making a comeback.”
Okay then – a turntable, and the Shatner surprise! But which brand? The only one I recognized from the old days was Pioneer, so I started there. The customer reviews for this $78 number were not promising. Several people who obviously knew what they were talking about (though I could not understand what they were talking about) recommended the audio technica at $218 instead. SOLD! Then I kept reading: . . . if you wanted something at the lower end of the price scale. This, of course, did not include amplifier or speakers. Wait a minute! Was I buying a cheapie? Richard’s discerning ear might not be satisfied with the sound it produced.
Then, the shocker: the really good ones were in the $700 range. Now I was perplexed. Would that be overkill? I decided to go with the recommendation of those who knew, and put the high-end-of-low specimen into my shopping cart. Now to the music department, and this part of my shopping would be complete.
I went back to the Shatner selection, and on a different screen found that I had options, one of them being a CD for around $14. What? I though it was only available in vinyl! That got me thinking: why would I spend four times as much for a format that could only be played in one location, as opposed to the more portable and versatile version?
I progressed logically to ditto for the turntable – about as stationary an audio object as they come. He would be stuck in whatever room we placed it! I’m a step ahead of you – yes, our home is wired throughout for sound, so the speakers could be elsewhere. But I would have to be elsewhere also, as I could not suffer Shatner for longer than it took for the stylus to sit in the first groove of the record.
Things were getting complicated. Then I thought – of course! A headset. That way Richard could keep his Shatner to himself. It still left me out in the cold, is a sense; because he’d be there, and I’d be . . . well, lost in space. So I figured, twin turntables and matching headsets? I envisioned us, side-by-side, lost in our own parallel universes. For all the interaction we’d have, we might as well be divorced.
I dumped the turntable from my cart, plopped a whopping $14 dollars down for the CD, and saved my marriage. Now – what else to get Richard for Christmas? Maybe a nice shirt and sweater, with matching socks.