Friday, March 5, 2010

Books On Tape

My mother has been going through everything, sorting it out, organizing, and - very surprisingly - throwing things out. If you know my mom, you know that she is a notorious packrat, keeping every little scrap that Kevin and I graced with our gibberish, every last document and photocopy for that day that the government man comes with his briefcase full of questions. "See?!" I can picture her saying, "somewhere in this bin is all the proof I need that we bought 250 dollars worth of printer ink in 1996!"

I think she has always intended to throw things out, to sort through, to mix and master our lives. It's just gotten away from her for a long time -- until now. The kids are long gone, a good deal of the paperwork is from jobs she's no longer at, and I think she's ready to keep that promise of catharsis she made herself back in the Reagan administration. So she's been going through everything. And she found what has always been a legendary piece of Dougherty history, the Peter and the Wolf cassette tape.

As the self-aggrandizing legend goes, I had memorized my favorite story - "Peter and the Wolf, for those of you just joining us - at the tender age of 3. I'd read it over and over again, and if someone else was reading it and skipped a part (say, to get it over with so they could go to bed) I would call them out on their obvious mistake and make them do it right.

(Not much has changed, apparently. Love you, Meg! And my band! And everyone who deals with me when I'm working!)

There is a little cassette tape of me reading "Peter and the Wolf" which seems to always float in and out of the family records. It's been awhile since I heard it, but I distinctly remember how taken aback I was to actually hear the sound of my 3 year old voice. So high and small, it was. Getting away from all the jokes I'm cracking about my egomania, it's genuinely a trip to hear your little kid voice. It makes you question how you actually sound versus how you imagine yourself sounding in your head, kind of like hearing your voice on your voicemail message, only the weirdness is amplified considerably. Suddenly, being 3 years old didn't feel so long ago as it normally would.

And so, for all the times that I wished my mom would just light the whole house on fire and start anew, I'm glad she's a packrat.

And on the subject of books on tape, I just finished listening to Nick Cave read his new book "The Death Of Bunny Munro." I'm glad I listened to it, as my efforts to read it were thwarted by everyday life, and I wanted to know how it ended. Now that I know, I am disappointed that Nick couldn't deliver on this as well as he does with his music. Anyone who wants to know more, feel free to ask. Otherwise, I won't drag it out any longer, but I will say it was worth doing once just to see what the old bastard is up to.


  1. You definitely have to play the cassette for your future kid when he/she is 3 for the magic and oddity of you as a child communicating to your own child.

  2. That's quite brilliant. I also wanted to note, blogger made me approve your comment before it would publish it, which is a first. Apparently, blogger has chosen to moderate your genius.