by Marsha Ward
I frequently get books on tape from the library, since the tape player in my car functions while the CD player doesn't. I like audio books. They help me while away the time that I have to spend in my car to reach civilization. I also "read" them at bedtime.
Sometimes, though, the cassettes can jam, or stall, and necessitate winding from one mini-reel to the other by hand. This process is slow using a little finger. It goes a bit faster using the handle of a spoon or fork, but it's not really fast. I've longed for a manual audio cassette rewinder to tuck away for these occasions.
Last night was such an occasion. I'm "reading" Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, the unabridged version read by Martin Jarvis. It's a masterwork, but it comes on 120-minute tapes, and they are notorious for causing problems. If your tape player is underpowered, it can chug slowly along when it gets past the midpoint--slowing and distorting the reproduction, or lose power entirely. If you need to rewind the tape, forget it!
The tape stalled and needed to be rewound. I decided it was time to find my desired manual audio cassette rewinder, so went to my computer and googled the term.
The search came up with plenty of DVD cassette rewinders, and several for small video recorder cassettes, but the only options showing for audio cassettes were commercial products for up to six cassettes, running between $330 and $550.
Not exactly what I had in mind.
However, on page three was a reference and link to a book, Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things, which promised that a manual audio cassette rewinder was within my budget. I clicked on the link and arrived at Google Books.
Complete instructions--with illustrations--ensued about how to turn a large paperclip into the device I longed for. I immediately got up, found a paperclip and a pair of pliers, and made the item. It works GREAT! (Notice the turned ends? That's MY innovation to prevent pokes!)
Then I clicked on the Amazon link to the book, by Cy Tymony, and put it on my wish list. The volume has two follow-ups: Sneakier and Sneakiest Uses, etc. I highly recommend these books for interesting reading and for following your inner MacGyver.