In a desperate attempt to become even more of a caricature of yourself, you decide to buy a record player. With this record player you will officially become defined by your owning said record player. You talk only of your recent record acquisitions and how great it feels to buy music again after stealing it for so many years. You pretend to like Jazz because it sounds like something that should be played on a record player and because Ryan Gosling tried to save it. You hide your speaker from plain sight — if you don’t own the record, it doesn’t deserve to be heard. You acquire a vast collection of comedy records to show people you have interesting interests. You listen to Joan Rivers before she got old and mean, just mean. You drink wine. You do this a lot. 

You post carefully curated Instagram stories of your ever-expanding record collection, posing them next to your candles and fairy lights to create the perfect #ambience. You dedicate a corner of your room for your record player. This corner is very cozy. You name your record player. The name of your record player is Madam Spinster. You and Madam Spinster spend many evenings cuddled together alongside Ella Fitzgerald and Julian Casablancas. 

One day, Netflix reminds you that the new Ted Bundy documentary series is out. You watch all of season one in one day. You have trouble falling asleep because you are equal parts terrified of and attracted to the notorious serial killer. You eventually fall asleep to Madame Spinster playing “The Graduate” soundtrack.

You go home for the weekend and stumble across your father’s old record collection. You see a lot of Tom Petty, then some Rolling Stones, then some more Tom Petty. You grab the good ones, some David Bowie, a Bob Dylan, leave the Tom Petty — your dad has a thing for him, you guess. You grab a Beatles “White Album”, feeling like you scored the damn lottery. When you get home you place the record leaning against your dear Madam Spinster in eager hesitation. You go to class. You think of “Hey Jude.” You buy an expensive coffee. You play “Blackbird” on Spotify. When you get home you make a steaming mug of tea, kick off your snow-covered boots and slip into your fuzzy-ass slippers that make your feet feel equally sweaty and cozy. You take the “White Album” and ease the record out of its case only to discover it is not The Beatles’s “White Album” but Tom Petty’s Damn the Torpedoes.

You pass up plans to go to Rick’s in order to hang out with Madame Spinster and Tom Petty. You are starting to like him. You tell your friends you are — cough, cough — sick. You miss Sunday brunch even though you woke up at seven, went to the gym and then sent 28 emails. It’s Monday and you figure there is no point leaving the house in this weather, this climate, this economy. So, you stay in, contemplating Nabokov’s essays on “Don Quixote” and listening to Chopin records. You spend 100 dollars on a rare Tom Petty album from eBay.  

You discover your hair is turning a sophisticated grey. You find that your wardrobe is made up solely of black button downs and Ferragamo loafers. Your socks are all mismatched because you can no longer tell what is navy and what is black, they just look too damn similar. You need bifocals. You read James Joyce for fun. You complain about your back pain and blame it on all those years of tennis from way back when. You make a photo montage of your family vacation to Aruba set to Tom Petty’s “American Girl”. You send links to articles to your family group chat with comments like “Interesting read!” or “Thought you’d appreciate!” You start smoking, not cigarettes or weed, but cigars – expensive ones, Cuban ones. The Wall Street Journal starts coming to your door every day and you don’t know why, but you read it, cover to cover. You spend 400 dollars on U2 tickets in Chicago. You don’t live in Chicago. 

And then it hits you, like the golf clubs you got for early retirement. You have become your father. 

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