evolution of skipping

As I and my laptop attempt to recover from the unspeakable horror of the last several minutes, I’m inspired to take a brief nostalgic trip down memory lane to review the evolution of skipping in recorded musical media.

vinyl – A barely visible scratch, or a speck of dust, could cause a vinyl record to start skipping. But a Fonzi-like bang on the wall or stomp on the floor was often enough to bump it out of its rut and continue the aural pleasure with a minimum of disruption. Worst case scenario, you’d have to get up out of your chair and go jiggle the needle.

cassette tapes – These didn’t skip. They did, however, routinely get mangled in the cassette player, so that, while bellowing along cheerily to your favorite song of the moment, you would abruptly find yourself bellowing a capella.  Then you’d need to locate a pencil and attempt to delicately extract streams of tape from the player without tearing it, and then stick the pencil in one of the holes in the tape and gently spin the plastic thingamabob in hopes of getting all the tape back onto the cassette without any twists and facing the right way out. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes disappointment and frustration ensued.

CD’s – similar to vinyl. Sometimes giving them a cleaning could resolve the problem fully.

Digital streaming media – blessing from the FSM? Or a previously undiscovered ring of Hell?  It’s truly a marvelous thing to be able to listen to just about any song that comes to mind instantaneously via Spotify, Pandora, etc.  But then there are those moments, such as just occurred here moments ago, where, while merrily listening to a cheery song, the song gets stuck, and repeatedly, methodically, mercilessly plays the same riff overandoverandoverandover, locking up your entire computer, making it impossible to shut off, until your internal organs start hemorrhaging, your eyeballs bleed, and you start experiencing flashbacks from the war/your worst nightmare/the worst nightmare you had during the war.  And finally, screaming in anguish, you’re forced to hold down the power key on your computer to make it STOP.  And in the thundering silence that follows, as you wipe off the blood that was pouring from your eyes, you wonder which files you’d been working on hadn’t been saved yet… and whether you will ever be able to listen to that merry song again without weeping.

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