I can only imagine that some of you out there reading this are one of many that frequent Radio Shack. Hell, I still go there when I need batteries, or ummm…whatever else they sell. As far as I can tell, Radio Shack is really nothing more than a placeholder in every stripmall that does little more than sell cell phone minutes to poor people and bottom rung consumer electronics to those who don’t know any better.
But I’m not here to talk trash about Radio Shack. I’m here to get nostalgic. I’m here to lament over what my favorite store has become. When I was young, my dad was an electrical engineer for Hughes aircraft. We moved around a lot, but he worked on everything from guidance systems for torpedos in Puget Sound, to flight simulators in Virginia, Oklahoma, and Southern California. He always had several electronic hobby projects going on at once. He taught me how to solder, and I knew how to read an oscilloscope by the time I was 12. Funny how I became an English major in college.
Regardless, wherever we moved to, we could always reliably go to a Radio Shack and buy whatever we needed; resistors, capacitors, breadboards, you name it. It was a chain store for electronics geeks to go to and not be judged or chastised. But then somewhere along the way, Howie Long started doing commercials for them, and then Terri Hatcher jumped on board, and then, and then, and then….it just all changed. Oh God, I can’t go on with this. I’m just too upset. My store is gone and my childhood has been made a mockery of. Oh, sure, my dad never played catch with me, or taught me to ride a bike, or instead of telling me about the birds and the bees he just quoted some scripture and told me about how our pastor told him how ineffective condoms are. Instead he taught me how to read ohm measurements on resistors. Really?!?! Wow, pops, thanks for teaching me the skills that attract the ladies, for Pete’s sake! God, I’m just, I’m sorry. Radio Shack is an open sore for me. I’m gonna borrow one from Coffee Talk. Discuss amongst yourselves; I’ll even give you a topic: Radio Shack, it neither sells radios, nor is it a shack. Discuss, dammit! Stop looking at me!
Ok, just called dad, everything’s cool. He didn’t apologize for imbuing me with hobbies that would send any female running. I am married after all. Anyway, Radio Shack has a special place in my heart. It’s where I learned how electronics work, and it’s the basis of all sorts of resentment. And when I look at what they have become, a hollowed-out corpse of the thing which they used to be, I am as equally sad I as am happy. I am sad that hobbyists in the electronics field are even more in the margin than they ever were, and I am happy because whenever I visit my parents, my dad has nowhere to take me shopping.
So unless you’re a homeless person that needs a prepaid cell phone with no questions asked, you don’t really need to shop there. Or if you have unresolved daddy issues, then you should definitely stay away from a Radio Shack. Then again, if you’re homeless individual with daddy issues but you need cell phone minutes for your tracfone, I guess you’re in quite the predicament.