We all reach a point in our lives when we wish we can go back. The decisions we’ve made become too complicated. Nothing turns out the way we planned. How did things get so off track? Why can’t I go back and do it again?
Well, I can’t answer either of those questions.What I can do is filter all of my own personal fears and concerns into an avatar named Reggie James Retro.
Here goes. Please welcome Reggie!
Let me tell you a little about myself.
Yes, my real name is Reggie James Retro. The first name comes from my grandfather, a dude I never met. My middle name came from my parents who dig classic metal. The rumor is that I was conceived while the two of them were listening to the Black Sabbath album Mob Rules. As Ronnie James Dio (may he Rock In Peace) belted out the lyrics to The Sign of the Southern Cross, my Dad unbelted his trousers.
I grew up in a small town in upstate New York called Clamton. Don’t bother trying to find it. You’d need a Civil War era map. You know that phrase “blink and you’ll miss it?” Well, you’ll miss this town before you’ve even had a chance to finish blinking. The only “fun” thing to do was see who could run from one end of town to the other the fastest. There’s even an official sporting event surrounding it – the “Town Dash”. It’s a race that lasts 3 1/2 minutes. They used to have it every July. But things here are so boring that they decided to do it once a month.
My life was a dash-less one. The world has yet to invent a sport which can hold my interest – even for 3 1/2 minutes. The only thing I cared about were TV and movies.
Our local video store is owned by my Uncle Jiff. For some reason he hated the idea of traveling fifteen minutes to the Video King in Binghamton to rent movies. Originally he called it Clamton Movies. That sign cost too much so he changed it to Clam Movies. That sent the wrong message. He didn’t want people thinking it was a movie theater or something. Now it’s called Clam Videos. Problem solved.
Big hit movies like were expensive too. So Uncle Jiff bought flops and strait to video stuff instead. All my favorite movies were the ones I rented from Clam Videos. Movies like Star Wars or Back to the Future, or The Goonies were all things I could watch on TV. Everyone could watch those almost any time. Flicks like Solarbabies and The Peanut Butter Solution I could only find at Uncle Jiff’s video store. That made them incredibly special to me.
Life in Marlowe was miserable. It sucked. For a while, I told myself that my tiny disgusting apartment and the Godless commute, to a job so terrible that I’d rather cut off my scrotum with a rusty can opener than ever go back to, for almost no money, and no social life, was just a starting point. I knew I was going somewhere. I was going to be someone. I just didn’t know where. I didn’t know who.
Then the fall happened.
I’m not being poetic. I literally fell and it changed everything. That fall brought me back to Clamton. It’s what put me on this journey through my past, sifting through the treasure chest of nostalgia knocked out from the edges of my neurotic mind.
I’ll tell you more about that later.
These days I’m back living in Clamton with my sister Rita and working at Uncle Jiff’s Video store. It does better business than you might think. Residents of a town this small hate wasting time. When everything is within skipping distance you get used to getting things done quickly. That means they haven’t got time to wait for Netflix to come in the mail. I spend most of my time watching the old videos I’d abandoned years ago, reconnecting with the past.
Again, not being poetic. More on that later also.