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The Great VHS Haul: How My Son Found £450 of Disappointment

A pile of VHS cassettes

Ah, the joys of fatherhood. It's not all fixing bikes, dishing out impromptu advice, and wondering how an entire loaf of bread disappeared in the blink of an eye. Sometimes, it's dealing with the whims of a 15-year-old who believes he's struck gold on the way home from school. Let's dive into the latest episode of "Dad's Adventures in Teenager Land."

Yesterday afternoon, Lyall burst through the door with the excitement of a pirate discovering a chest full of gold coins. Except, in his case, it wasn't a chest of gold but a hefty pile of VHS cassettes. Yes, VHS, those rectangular relics from the ancient times before the Internet. The look on his face was pure, unadulterated triumph.

"Dad, you won't believe what I found!" he exclaimed, waving a dust-covered cassette like a victory banner.

I glanced up from my laptop, where I was pretending to work. "Is it a time machine? Because that's the only excuse for bringing VHS tapes into this house."

"No, even better," he said, not picking up on my sarcasm at all. "These are vintage movies. I googled one of them, and on eBay, it's worth £25. So that’s, like £450 in total!”

Now, as a seasoned veteran of internet promises, I knew better than to get excited. But there was something contagious about his enthusiasm. For a moment, I allowed myself to dream of being able to afford the luxury of a single round of non-all-inclusive drinks on holiday this year.

However, dreams were swiftly shattered. He dumped an entire school rucksack full of tapes onto my desk and offloaded more from a carrier bag. He handed me one of the tapes, and I noticed the unmistakable handwriting of someone who thought they were recording for posterity. "Lost In Space 8" stared back at me.

I sighed. "Son, I hate to break it to you, but these aren't vintage movies. They're recordings off the TV.” Totally bemused, I could hear the cogs grinding as he tried to process this. I tried my best to explain, but the concept of recording TV was so far-fetched he didn’t believe me.

“Let me put it like this; you know 4k video, right? Well, half the quality, then half it again and keep going until it's like 28 times worse - you’ve got yourself home-recorded VHS”

"But eBay has loads of old video tapes, and this one is rare!" he protested, his dreams of untold wealth crumbling before my very eyes.

"Rare? Yes. Desirable? No. Worth anything? Definitely not."

And so, instead of basking in newfound wealth, we now had a stack of grubby VHS cassettes taking up precious space in the hallway. Worse still, I was beginning to wonder exactly where they’d been dumped and what might ACTUALLY be on those tapes, despite the innocently worded handwritten labels. The horror of someone's ‘home movies’ was beginning to set in. Thank goodness my all-in-one Bush TV/VHS combo from my student days had packed up over 25 years ago, so I’d be spared the true contents of the tapes.

Ultimately, the tapes will probably end up in the wheelie bin, along with the other ‘treasures’ my son has brought home over the years. I won't lie, though; there was something heart-warming about his optimism. In a world where everything is instant and digital, there's a certain charm in a teenager believing that a pile of old videotapes could be worth a small fortune.

So here I am, lumbered with a heap of VHS tapes, reminiscing about the days when my biggest problem was worrying that my big sister was going to stick Sellotape over the holes on my He-Man VHS and overwrite it with the TV premier of “Hairspray”. Horror.

If anyone out there has a VCR and a penchant for TV recordings from the 80s and 90s, you know where to find me. “The Witches of Eastwick” anyone? Maybe the last 45 minutes of “A Fish Called Wanda”? Meanwhile, I’ll be here, plotting my revenge for when he’s old enough to have a house of his own. Maybe I'll save these tapes for a special housewarming gift.

Fatherhood: It's not the treasure you find but the memories you make along the way. And the junk you get stuck with. Always the junk.

A pile of old VHS cassette tapes

1 Comment

hey, nice. I have no vhs at home anymore.

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