February 1999
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Courtney Knopf- Will Work for CDs

By Courtney Knopf

As it is February, weíve somewhat dedicated this issue of The Shrub to L-O-V-E.

But alas, as Valentineís Day rolls around, I am pathetically single for the 20th year in a row, and therefore have little to share with you in relation to romance. But there is something I can talk about that has to do with amore. Most women have problems with owning too many pairs of shoes, or even too many tubes of lipstick. I have those problems, but to a lesser extent than would warrant an entire column. My vice is music Ė more specifically, my CD collection.

Perhaps I am in need of great psychological evaluation, but I love my CDs. Ask anyone; they are my sanctuary. I have some good ones and I have some not-so-good ones, but I love them all equally and for different reasons.

I suppose my obsession started early, when the format of the masses was still the cassette tape. One year I bought myself a copy of Madonnaís True Blue instead of getting my mom the new Bruce Springsteen album for her birthday. I ended up buying mom a potted plant that died a short while later. From that point on, I accumulated quite a few tapes. In December of 1992 though, I moved up in the world and got my first CD Ė R.E.M.ís Automatic For the People.

It was all downhill from there.

Letís just say I never met a used CD store I didnít like. On my better (worse?) days Iíll walk out with a grip of 4 or 5 discs for my listening pleasure.

In a little over 6 years, Iíve accumulated just over 400 CDs and thatís not even counting the crappy ones I sold back Ė ahh, youth and the trappings of uninformed tastes. Thankfully I get a lot of them for free through the radio station here at school, so that takes a bit of the strain off of my pocketbook, but regardless, I have a real bad habit. Itís out of control and I like it that way (ooh, doesnít that just sound like a tagline from one of those B-Movies from the 50ís?). Iíd rather live on Top Ramen (Cajun chicken flavor, of course) for a month than go without buying a copy of the new Belle & Sebastian import EP. And the new Built To Spill. And the new Beth Orton. And the new -- well, you see my point.

And to further illustrate this point, let me say that I am not a neat person. I donít make my bed in the morning, I have piles of clothes stacked in my closet, please donít look under my bed, and letís not even talk about how many pairs of shoes are sitting under my desk right now. But I do have a calm in the storm. Seeing 400+ jewel cases from The Afghan Whigs to Zumpano all lined up in perfect alphabetical and chronological (by release date) order gives me an incredible sense of inner peace. You know how in the movie Clueless, Cher feels rejuvenated after giving a makeover? Well, thatís how I feel after reorganizing my CDs to put in the new additions for the week. I see the perfection and I get giddy. What can I say? Theyíre as close to a Zen garden as Iíll ever get.

But now I have a bigger problem Ė Iím running out of space! See, I bought this shelf at Ikea named Fred (donít ask me why itís named Fred. Asking why a product from Ikea wound up with such a name is like pondering why J. Crew calls it "Pool" instead of just going with the universally accepted "blue"). I bought Fred a year and a half ago and all my CDs fit on him, and my old stereo (which has since gone to stereo heaven) sat neatly on top next to my Ikea lamp (the lamp is named Seranad if you must know). But then I started accumulating a lot of CDs at a very rapid pace.

Did I also mention that I never met a CD club I didnít like? And remember my gameshow column from last month? Well my parting gifts of Rhino Records CDs pushed me over. First there were just 5 or 10 that were wouldnít fit. And then 20. And then it was more like 40. And then I got a new stereo that wouldnít fit neatly on top of Fred. So I had to do some rearranging. I took out one of Fredís shelves and put my stereo on the bottom, and all the CDs that are in the changer (50 + 1 Ė what the +1 is for, Iíll never know) on the middle shelf and one of the speakers on the top shelf. Of course this still leaves me with 350 CDs that I have to put somewhere. So right now there are four very neat rows of CDs stacked on my desk next to my computer monitor. But oh is it precarious. I was practicing my Shag today (itís a DANCE, you gutter minds!) and one misplaced hop caused them to fall over. It was sad.

"So quit your damn whinging and buy a new shelf already!" I can hear you shout. Oh if only it were that simple. SeeÖ I hate hate hate the CD racks that have slots in them because it disrupts the placement of the Double CD. As you can probably tell, Iím insanely anal about the organization of my CDs. This being the case, I just canít seem to find a shelving unit that satisfies my needs and will grow with me. So next time you happen to be at an Ikea and think youíve found what Iím looking for, please let me know. Because itís growing. And thereís nothing I can do to stop it.

Editor's note: If you have a creative solution for Courtney, email her via The Shrubbery and we will help her to help herself.

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