Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • I’m drawn to quirky old signs that point the way to a not so distant past. One we’re reaching to in the face of data that threatens to homogenize and buff the personality out of our lives. You can’t see 1’s and 0’s. It’s hard to feel nostalgic for them. But the tangible artifacts of our past tell stories and offer character.

    The big, clunky light bulbs on the left arrow beckoned. “Turn here and take note,” it said.

    And so I did as I walked up West Burnside at lunch.

    The arrow belongs to a record store: Jackpot Records. Vinyl. Hanging on in the face of change; attracting those passionate about the feel and sound of 33rpms. I used to like perusing record stores looking at new albums and the cool artwork that adorned them. Records soon transformed into stacks of CDs that I liked even more. And now they look dated and clunky. And records are cool again. They take up so much space. But when you went into someone’s home, you could get a sense of who they were by their record collection. What types of music they liked and how they organized them. Lovingly or randomly strewn on a shelf?

    ‘Told you a lot about who they were.

    Now you can’t do that by looking at their iPod sitting on a table. Only by getting a chance to peruse their playlists might you get a glimpse. However you can’t see into them like you could before. And that’s what digital is taking from us: the ability to see into people’s souls by what they’re listening to and how. By seeing what they’re reading on their bookshelf. There again it’s tougher to get a sense of a person when their books are locked away on a kindle. Less opportunity for spontaneous conversation.

    Maybe that’s why we’re reaching back into the past. Sometimes it feels pretty good to turn left instead of right.
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.