BASF Mini Cassette – Dated ‘Summer 1999’
— Transcription begins below —
(00:00:07) Begin Tape:
“….A man can only search in vain for his stuff for so long before something has to give.
I just had an epiphany that I must become a great detective on a hapless, eternal Treasure Hunt, after years of knowing where my stuff was nearly all the time, even when drunk. But life progresses, and now I am blessed with a large staff of ‘assistants’, who help me stay tidy & organized in their own unique way.
I must adore Treasure Hunting because I am constantly running grid patterns for my wallet or pants or keys or my red-handled Robertson screwdriver, using the process of elimination, and a brand of simulated patience that never fools the natives, like raw meat served at a Gwyneth Paltrow Spandy Clean Uterus Celebrity Luncheon. I hypnotize myself to enjoy this process. I will grit my teeth and stick to this story like an electrocuted inmate.
Upon the aforementioned missing red-handled Robertson screwdriver hangs a tale. It’s heartwarming to be reminded, because sometimes I forget that, “it is so easy to find, if you just look around a bit…” This glib riposte has been delivered to me in countless situations over many years; I wait for it with happy anticipation and warm-hearted mirth. Why go straight to the boring old location you always leave a particular thing, when you can instead participate in super-fun DETECTIVE WORK, and be gratified by the discovery of all the places it definitely isn’t? It’s like a stay-cay-tion. Rediscover your own home! That’s the spoonful of sugar that makes this medicine go down…”
(00:05:34): Voices in background.
(00:05:49) Tape shuts off
“….Testing, testing….Did they steal the goddamn batteries?….Shit….”
(00:05:59): Tape shuts off
“…I hope this is running now…Because I am getting dressed up in a nice suit & tie I know it will be the time for me to be expected to ‘quickly fix something’. I also know where this will all end up but I will try anyway, just to keep recriminations to a minimum. Yes, yes, of course….the quick fix involves powerful industrial adhesive, perhaps a leaking bucket of tar or prussic acid, and probably microscopic hexagonal nuts in Ziploc bags so tiny that they were props on ‘Land of the Giants’…And, of course, a red-handled Robertson screwdriver, whereabouts currently unknown…”
(00:07:12) Sound of door slamming
“…My capability to blindly thrust hand towards the galactic coordinates where any desired object normally lives and grasp it confidently appears no longer to bear fruit. Hilariously, when my blind grab came up dry just now, I tried a couple more times, just in case. This normally reliable technique having failed, I have become ‘agitated’.
To my alarm I am very suddenly bellowing non-sequiturs. Odd things like, ‘by-the-Jesus’ or ‘they’re trying to kill me’ & and that classic diabetic coma exclamation, ‘Fredo!!!!’ I sound chillingly like my own Dad, three rye & waters into Saturday afternoon and dead-set on soldering something, come hell or high water; I think I’m having a cardiac event.
I love ponies, I love ponies, I love ponies. I am repeating this over and over. I know I ought to ‘dum-dee-dum’ my way outdoors like a Brit PM fleeing office for his very life, yet managing to Keep Calm and Carry On. I need to paint delight on my twitching rictus, whistle a happy tune, and optimistically check to see if that screwdriver isn’t outside on the LAWN, rusting away, laying where people unknown discarded it the instant dog poop was successfully scraped off their sandals.
Violent tics and explosive expletives are seeping out, dear lord. They feel so natural but they are taboo. I soothe myself with the thought that Ol’ Red-Handled Robertson will be easy to find when I run over him with the lawn mower, next spring, accidentally firing the poor fella towards my neighbour’s eye at the speed of an SR-71 over Kapustin Yar. It will only be Negligent Homicide…”
(00:09:45) Unidentified voices & noise (sobbing?)
“…I have just been helpfully advised that I am ‘doing it all wrong’. “Oh bother”, I mutter, or words to that effect. But at least I have received constructive critical commentary, verbal pictures, and vague, wishful descriptors on how differently I’d do the job if I were not just taking up space and consuming resources.
In fairness, I stupidly find the worst way to solve a problem every time. It’s one of those inexplicable character flaws I carry around my neck, like an Albatross or a magenta man-purse. Marriage was only entered into as a mercy upon me. I know I couldn’t possibly puzzle out my task without the vision and chivvying of an intuitive, self-trained authority on the matter, who miraculously achieved home repair mastery while still calling the electric drill ‘that spinny-aroundy-thing’. I am always grateful for the advice of such experts….”
(00:11:26): Unidentified plopping sound. Toilet flushes.
“…Yet I stay with the task, for whatever self-flagellating reason. My tie is askew, the knot too shabby for even a Red Deer junior hockey banquet. I am sweating and my face is flushing. At any rate my left arm is getting numb — but still no red-handled Robertson in the red-handled Robertson quadrant of the Neutral Zone. I shall neither live long, nor prosper…”
(00:13:51) Unidentified sound. (Howl of despair?)
“…Pointing out the obvious is a real help in these scenarios; it reminds me I am well on track (ie: sharply barked reproofs such as ‘don’t drop it’ as I am taking great pains to not-drop-it are gratifyingly reassuring.) I am now at the juncture where I need to stop for a second and re-organize my thinking, take a breath – maybe even peel these inadvertently cemented microscopic hex nuts from my fingers with solvent. As it turns out this is the perfect moment to mention how much more gifted my friends are at home repair, and how they never grumble. Reminds me to stay humble and remain focused on the job at hand.
It is also the perfect moment to wave hands in front of noses. “Ewwww…It SMELLS in here!” I agree. It smells like burning toast because I’m having a fucking stroke. Then, open the door and helpfully allow the wind to blow the minuscule hex nuts onto the rug. Now it’s our cue for the children to be introduced into the Home Repair Adventure. Oh Frabjous Day, Callooh, Callay, they’re right beside Dad singing, dancing, and assisting with the smallest parts. Look, someone gave them some glue, too!
This is the precise instant where one of the children has let loose something of the most dire heinousness in his pants, requiring both parents to scramble, STAT; I fetch the garden hose and a type of face shield only found in movies about plagues. Now it smells like somebody shat burning toast in here.
Industrial adhesive has tipped over amidst the chaos, preserving the rug for future generations within bullet proof epoxy. Hex nuts vanish like Fred Noonan in Amelia Earhart’s shadow.
But while rooting around for a fresh diaper in the change table my hand comes up with, yes, you guessed it, a red-handled Robertson screwdriver….”
(00:16:42): Unidentified Sound. (Bear attack? Yeti? Other?)
(00:16:59): Cassette recorder dropped