Every six months or so I wind up at a public library. Usually, it's just because from the outside it looked like a bookstore and I like coffee.
Still, with or without a latte, a building full of books can be very cool.
However, the coolest thing in the library on this day was not the books, it was the videocassettes.
Most libraries have a good selection of VHS tapes and DVDs. Not enough to rival a video store, but a whole lot and they rent 'em for free.
After a quick look at the feature films I stumbled into a "do it yourself" section. Dozens and dozens of videos helping people do anything from "birdwatching" to "breastfeeding."
It was truly astounding. If you ever need to master Windows 3.1, they have a tape for you.
The one I decided to borrow was:
How to Repair a Videocassette
The tape starred "singers" Janet and Judy Robinson.
At first I thought it was odd that the tape mentioned that they were singers. Once I put the tape on I found out why:
THEY SING ABOUT VIDEO CASSETTE REPAIR.
Here is the scenario. Janet is smart and knows all about repairing VHS tapes. Her twin sister Judy is a complete moron.
They were my hosts as I watched the tape.
Over the course of 25 minutes we laughed and learned.
Oh, and I cringed at a couple parts.
And I got up to make a snack at one point and decided it wasn't worth pausing.
Janet has a whole bunch of broken tapes and teaches us how to spot the problem with each tape.
Then she says "if it's hard to fix it's not worth fixing."
I was stunned. Not just because those were the exact words I said to 3 of my ex-girlfriends before I changed my number, but because it was the worst advice I have ever heard.
If it wasn't for the fact that she had just sung a song about the differences between VHS and BETA I would have turned the tape off.
Judy shows up in her :work clothes." See, she heard there was work to do so she put on a bandanna and overalls. Perhaps she thought the work was "being Hillbilly Jim."
Smart Janet tells her she doesn't need "those clothes." So Judy starts to get undressed.
Sadly Janet stops her and we move on to splicing.
If a tape breaks, Janet tells us, we should just get some scotch tape and tape it back together.
Stupid Judy then shows up with a pizza slicer.
See, she thought Janet said "slice" not "splice."
I can only imagine the copyright lawsuit Amelia Bedielia had against this tape.
Janet walks us through fixing the door on a tape and how to tell if your VCR is the problem.
Perhaps a clue would be that THIS tape wouldn't play.
However, broken VCRs bring back Janet's number one rule:
"If it's hard to fix it's not worth fixing."
Which also explains how she has not taken Judy to a doctor for her potentially dangerous brain damage.
I hope no one ever asks Judy to make "finger sandwiches." I can see Janet looking at her bloody knuckle stumps and saying "reattaching nerve endings is hard to do, so it's not worth doing."
Judy does seemingly get revenge at the end when she ties Janet up with some un-spooled tape.
It's like "Of Mice and Men," I guess. Lenny just wanted to PLAY with the rabbits.