“What was the first thing you ever saved up your money to purchase?”
My first real job was at a travel agency. I know what you’re going to say. It was just an internship, but it counted. Besides, it was a paid internship, so it really counted in every way that mattered. For the first time in my life I was getting a steady paycheck, even if it was only for a summer, and I worked hard to make sure that money got spent.
I’m sure you can imagine. I never shoveled driveways for neighbors. I never got an allowance. I never really had a chance to get some solid money for myself until the Rosenbluth Travel Agency, and I had a list of items I wanted. First, there was a CD player that I had my eye on. Before the CD player all I had was a Walkman and the family stereo, which featured dual tape decks (snazzy) so I could tape the radio. But a CD player would put me in a whole new echelon.
I also wanted a VCR, so I could tape my shows (the two principal of which were Days of Our Lives and Beverly Hills 90210). I was addicted to Tori Spelling, but my mom wouldn’t let me stay up late enough to watch the show. And of course I was at work (and later in school) when Days came on, so I needed a way to tape both shows to watch when I had free time on the weekends. I swear I invented binge watching because I would sit there on my bed with popcorn catching up on all the goings on in Salem.
But the first thing I really ended up buying, before even those two fantastic pieces of equipment, was a fancy pair of headphones. No, not Beats by Dre (they weren’t even remotely around in the mid-90’s), but some solid ones that had strong wires, and serious noise cancelling capabilities. While they were cheaper than both the CD player and the VCR, it wasn’t by much. I even bought them from a car stereo store across the street from my job downtown.
Why did I want the headphones first? Because in order to appreciate those two fantastic pieces of equipment I needed some privacy. I didn’t quite want to ruin my rep by blasting the sounds of Donna crying over the latest breakup, or the sounds of Stephano scheming to bring down the Bradys. I wanted to listen to my “secular music” as high as I could without getting in trouble by my mom. In short, I really just wanted to be my own most authentic self, and headphones was the way. They avoided controversy, and let me do what I wanted for really the first time in my life.
The second paycheck was for the VCR.