Dear Oxford,

I found out recently that “cassette tapes” will be removed from the Oxford English Dictionary.  This comes as quite a shock as the Oxford crowd is usually on the cutting edge of culture – I heard that along with removing “cassette tapes” you are now adding “fax machine” and “digital camera.”  You are so with it.

Obviously you are missing the fact that cassette tapes are making a comeback to those who love all things nostalgic.  In fact, my husband and I may not even be together if it weren’t for cassette tapes.  In 2004, for my 18th birthday, my future husband made me a purple mix tape of Guided by Voices (and other Robert Pollard side projects’) rarities and B-sides.  I remember being so taken with that gesture because it meant that unlike making a mix CD (so popular for use in courtship in 2004 as it only took seconds to drag and drop an entire playlist), he had to sit in front of a boom box and carefully start and stop the recording to change the songs.  It probably took him hours including the meticulous planning and sequencing of the tape and then getting up the courage to give it to a girl he liked without being sure she would like it.  Anyways, at some point during the 42nd listening or so while singing every word to “Subspace Biographies” I realized I wasn’t just hooked on GBV, I was also head over heels madly in love with my future husband.

So you see, without “cassette tapes” there would be no mix tapes.  And with no mix tapes, lots of charming vomit-inducingly sweet stories like mine would no longer be able to be told.  Oxford, I need words like “cassette tapes” to be able to tell these stories to my children who won’t know anything but digital music – so kindly stop linguistically erasing my experiences, ok?  If you bring it back, I’ll make you a killer mix tape.


Lauren Rinehart