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2003-10-29 | 11:24 p.m.

corduroy licorice turned heads all day long in his assembly line job at the mannequin factory.


the decor in my pad is mostly vintage, so i figured it was time i had a cool-looking old school record player to play all the LPs i've been collecting at swap meets and the like.

after prying through the dusty shelves of a few thrift stores, i realized that ebay might be the perfect place to peruse and purchase such a hard to find item.

my impulse buying gene kicked in during my first auction search and i put in a generous bid in on a tweedy number that was said to "work." i won the auction easily.

i felt a little nervous about buying a mechanical item on ebay since you never know what you'll get or if it will still run after its shipping trip, but when i plugged the player in after it arrived at my office the little turntable spun just so.

it was when i got home, after i had put in a positive seller comment, that the trouble started. first off, the sound was barely audible and the volume dial didn't work. unless the player had lost its voice in transit, i'd been had.

then came the pouf. a pale gray pouf coming from inside the player. that couldn't be good. i sprung up to unplug it, then hurried for the door. i could hear my oddball forklift-dodging neighbor walking up the stairs, but i couldn't wait for him to get out of my way.

i swung my door open and started down the stairs with the poufing player in my arms. i quickly explained what happened to him. then, semi-panicked, asked him if putting the no-visible-flames-yet fire out with the garden hose sounded like a good idea.

for some reason, i was thinking that i'd heard that electrical fires and water don't mix. but i didn't want to bust the cherry on my fire extinguisher unless absolutely necessary. then i started thinking that it was probably gas fires, not electrical fires, that didn't respond well to water since the H20 spreads the gas around and makes the fire worse. my conclusion was that water on this fire would probably be a super good idea. but, for some darn reason, i still wanted my neighbor's confirmation. he just stared down the stairs at me and then opened my apartment door to air out the place, telling me that breathing that smoke wasn't good for me.

no shit, sherlock. never mind that my lungs are probably already a light shade of brown after breathing in all the airborne socal fire ash. what i need from you now is a little moral support and concurrence with my hose solution.

"so probably the garden hose will be a good way to put it out?" i asked again in a thin voice, shifting the weight of the record player around.

he just kept looking down at me, slack-jawed.

"yeah, i guess," he finally offered, before turning away to go into his place.

so then there was me, in my driveway, turning the garden hose on my vintage record player that was once so full of promise. another neighbor came out just long enough to tease me about what happened. no wonder i think about moving.

so now julie london, frank sinatra and nancy wilson have to bide their time until i can get another hi-fi solution. i may have to settle for a new school turntable and play dj. as much as i like the look of those vintage versions, i only want my music to be smokin' thank you very much.

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