Post 265: The Wayback Machine Broke

Classic and vintage items show up on Craigslist way more than you would think they should. Because, really, if you have a classic item for sale, wouldn’t you take it somewhere to get the best price, like an auction house or a pawn shop?

Unless, of course, your collection is actually worthless junk that no one wants.

FLASHBULB COLLECTION – $40

FLASHBULB COLLECTION

55 number #5 bulbs. 15 number #5B bulbs. 24 number #6
35 number #25B. Also #M25B- M2B- M3- & M3B
One flashbar and 3 magic cubes for 110 camera
$40 for the whole collection. E-mail for my phone number. Bob V.

Could that be Bob Vila selling the bulbs? I didn’t ever hear he was in to flashing. Oh well, just put that mental image aside and find something better to buy. This is from my local Craigslist.

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5 thoughts on “Post 265: The Wayback Machine Broke

  1. Thanks for the nostalgia Sparky, reminding me of the days of taking a roll of 24 pictures with flashes that worked sometimes, running the film in for developing, paying and getting nothing but blurry blobs. I so miss those days, digital cameras/smartphones take all the fun out of things.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Flash of Hope”

    As he sat forlorn and depressed in the uncomfortable vinyl chair, waiting to be called in, he couldn’t help but think yet again about the way things used to be. The way things were before, back in the day, when everybody needed him. His halcyon years. His salad days. Everybody knew him, then, and everybody loved him. I didn’t matter where he went, he was always greeted with a warm smile, a handshake, sometimes even a bit of adulation because he saved them one day when they needed him the most. He was good-looking then. Well-toned, muscled, had a handsome, chiseled face, and a shock of blonde hair coiffed just so. But he knew people didn’t love him for his dashing good looks. Well, not just for that.

    He saved people’s memories. Stopped time, after a fashion — or at least, played a crucial role in making it happen in less-than-optimal lighting conditions. He supplied flash bulbs. All kinds of flash bulbs. Singles, cubes, bars, stacks, from GE to Westinghouse, Sylvania to Kodak, number 5s to 25Bs to the entire M-series. All shapes, sizes, and brands. Whenever, wherever a precious moment was in danger of being overshadowed by — well, shadow, due to low light conditions, he was there, ready to save those all-too-brief and ephemeral moments from being just another fleeting memory lost to the mists of time.

    It was his calling. His birthright. And he was very, very good at it. Photo albums were rich with more memories of life’s best moments because of him. Well, and the camera, of course, but without a flash bulb, they would have just been dark, muddy messes they would have been thrown out if not for him. But he didn’t do it for the fame, the adulation, the $2.99 per 4-use pack. He did it because he cared about preserving people’s memories. It was important work. The mind goes, eventually, and so does person it lives in, but photographs can last forever and pass on the story of a lifetime to future generations.

    “You,” said a wiry wisp of a young man who had just poked his head out of an office, a finger pointed directly at him. “Come in, you’re next.”

    He got up and headed to the indicated door, trying not to let his low spirits show on his face. He felt old, now; his beautiful blonde bonce now gray and thinning, his chiseled face now loose and droopy and furrowed with lines and creases. His muscles, what remained, were buried under the cellulite of age. Even his firm, dimpled buttocks, the source of many a second look from the ladies once upon a time, now slumped over the backs of his legs like a pair of lumpy bindles. He was old-fashioned, now, and his services hadn’t been required for a long time, now. Everything was digital, and flashes were reusable almost infinitely, now. The march of progress left its boot prints all over him.

    This was what time and age had done for him. He allowed himself to be led into a room to be interviewed for a job. So lost in his melancholy reverie was he that he momentarily forgot what it was for — oh, yes. Now he remembered. Junior maintenance engineer for his local Burger Harlot. A fancy name for a janitor. But it wasn’t like he had any skills. His life had been flash bulbs. It’s all he knew. He simply never saw the end coming. He always fancied retraining for some other line of work, much as it hurt his pride to do so, but bills had to be paid, and he had to work odd jobs to pay them, which left no time for training that wasn’t on the job.

    He stood before a wide oak desk, behind which was who he presumed was the store manager. The room was oddly dim, owing largely to the dying, flickery fluorescent tubes overhead. The wispy fellow that led him in left the office to tend to other duties, there being no other interviewees after him that required his direction.

    “Okay,” said the manager. “Before we get down to it, let me take your picture. I’m bad with faces, so I take every prospective employee’s picture so I can put faces to names when I review the applications.

    He nodded and stood there more or less as he had, though he was unable to muster much of a smile. The manager pulled out a camera and prepared to — wait. Wait just a minute. Was that a Kodak Instamatic? It couldn’t be! But it was! That was definitely a classic Instamatic! There was even a socket for a flash cube on top, the good kind that automatically rotated the cube when a picture was taken! In an age where everything and everyone was digital, here was this vintage old camera right there, looking just as it did back in the day. And … what was this? There was no flash cube in the socket. No. Flash. Cube.

    This was it. This was his moment! Poor lighting, a classic flash cube-needing camera. This was what he was born for! Just one time, just this one last time, he could be great again, he could save this literal Kodak moment from crappy lighting. So grateful might the manager even be that he might even give him the job right there on the spot! His face lit up like a Christmas tree, and the smile that had long been foreign to his face slammed the corners of his mouth into the apples of his cheeks so hard he felt his eyeballs recoil.

    “Say!” he opened cheerily. “That’s a wonderful, classic old camera you have there! I couldn’t help but notice, however, that you’re short a flash cube. Fortunately, I just happen to have one right here!” He reached into his pocket and proffered the talismanic cube like it was the Shroud of Turin, even using both hands in a gesture of humble supplication.

    The manager looked at the cube with a quizzical look, appearing not to even recognize it. That wasn’t really surprising, it wasn’t like flash cubes were easy to come by these days, and the man was young enough that he probably didn’t even realize what that socket was for. But that was just fine, he would be happy — gleeful, even, to provide instruction. The manager looked back at him, then at the cube, then back at him once more before realization dawned on him. Oh, what a wonderful look it was! He felt needed again. Important again. Dare he say, a hero again?

    “Oh!” the manager said. “Ha ha! No, no, thanks, really — I can’t even believe you have one of those old things on you! I mean, who does that? But seriously, no, this isn’t real, it’s just a case for my phone that makes it look like one of those old cameras. Cool, huh? Five bucks on eBay! Took, like, six weeks to get here from China, though, but for five bucks and free shipping, who can complain?”

    His face, frozen in its look of unbridled joy, had a Wile E. Coyote moment, only just coming to the realization that it had run straight off the cliff but hadn’t yet reached the point in its epiphany where gravity kicked in. His smile held up a metaphorical sign reading “Yikes!” and promptly plummeted to the bottom of his chin with an imaginary poof of dust.

    “Oh.” was about all he could manage. “I see.”
    The manager held the accursedly fake camera up and took his picture with a maddenly simulated shutter sound. And no flash. Not a real one, anyway. Not a flash he was responsible for. “There,” the manager said. “Now, what did you say your name was?”
    He sighed dejectedly. “Call me Gordon.”
    The manager offered his hand. “Great, and you can call me Ming.”

    Liked by 1 person

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