A couple months back it was reported that there remains but a single Blockbuster Video left in the entire world... and that includes the one that existed in the Lost City Of Atlantis (although to be fair, a video rental store that only carried VHS copies of Splash didn't really deserve to survive).

 

If you're around my age (old), Blockbuster Video, video rental stores in general really, were saving graces for those of us who loved watching movies but didn't have the luxury (or the technology) to just turn on the 'ol AOL and stream whatever just left theaters. They were like mini meccas for a kid; browsing the shelves for new releases only to disappointingly find out that everything you planned on or hoped to rent had already been spoken for like they were the popular girl in school. Browsing the shelves was much more entertaining and a much better use of time than scrolling through Netflix for an hour and a half only to end up watching Fifth Element for the 43rd time, and the allure of free popcorn made going to Blockbuster a pretty good consolation prize if you didn't want to actually go the cinema.

 

    In a weird way porn and Blockbuster video aren't all that different (but don't tell that to the family of the late Wayne Huizenga – founder of Blockbuster who at first didn't even want to go into the video rental business because he compared renting videos to shady adult stores). Both at one point were the prime source of entertainment for lonely people on weekends. Both have also felt the effect of the Weird Wide Web and the repercussions of both legal streaming and piracy. Porn also has the additional drawback of consumers wanting to avoid the embarrassment of having to go out to get their rocks off. Naturally, the enticement of streaming Ready To Drop 39 (A classic) at home, alone, beats having to schlep down to an actual video rental store or an adult store and plop it down in front of someone who you just KNOW is judging you. And that's even IF they had it in stock... which it NEVER was... I mean I assume it never was. Ummm... anyway, once people started to realize that you no longer had to leave the house for basically anything, the presence of actual brick and mortar stores became more for nostalgia purposes and technophobes and less because you had no choice. Let's be honest, when was the last time you've heard of someone going out and renting a video? For that matter, when was the last time you've heard of anyone buying an actual adult movie? There may only be one Blockbuster Video left, but imagine what the last porn shop would be like? 

 

The last Blockbuster happens to be in Bend, Oregon, fitting if you've ever been to Bend, Oregon. Lots of farmland, open fields, and rustic barns. It's not exactly the kind of place where the technologically savvy reside. In other words, it makes perfect sense why a Blockbuster would still be able to thrive there. It would only make sense then that the very last porn shop would reside either in a seedy neighborhood in New York, Porn Valley in Los Angeles or outside some random Truck Stop in the middle of Chattanooga, Tennessee. New York because of its history with shady XXX theaters and the adult industry in general, Porn Valley because of the vast amount of porn gathering mold in warehouses across Chatsworth and Chattanooga because what the hell else are you gonna do there except compulsively masturbate? 

 

The small mom and pop shoppe would be tucked away in a dimly-lit strip mall, surrounded by a pawn shop and no-name taco stand with surprisingly good Yelp reviews. A sad neon sign would trick passersby into believing there's an unimaginable erotic carnival awaiting them, luring them in with catchphrases like “hot and steamy” and “clearance bin”. The shelves – dusty and haunted – filled with row upon row of vintage adult films. The make-up of the long-forgotten starlets on the box covers gleaming from the light reflected from the flickering fluorescent bulbs like a row of slot machines in a Las Vegas casino. The names of Traci Lords, Jenna Jameson and Kim Kardashian brightly highlighted in case you had a hard time putting a name – or a face – with the gaping butthole. Crooked posters of out-of-print classics from the '80s adorn the walls to cover up any cracks or blemishes. Stickers on the boxes crossed out numerous times with decreasing numbers to the point where they basically say “just pay us whatever you want to pay.”

 

Free samples of expired lube await anyone who dares enter or exit the relic environment like Purell sanitizer, which would probably be more appreciated by the sparse customers too terrified to touch any of the miniature cardboard display boxes. 

 

And of course, at the counter, standing behind an old-school cash register stands the lonely, elderly shop owner desperately trying to eye-hypnotize you into purchasing something... anything... without making it too obvious. They think about tempting you with their “buy 1 get 9 free” deal, but that would just make it seem like you've got a serious porn addiction so they refrain from saying anything except a couple of brief pleasantries. 

 

While it sounds like a must-visit place on your way to Graceland, the reality is there is a bit of sadness in the fact that we're probably not all that far off from this reality. Most adult shops have abandoned actual porn to become full-fledged sex shops. Rental stores, and particularly those with adult sections have all but disappeared and we've reached that point where your only source of porn is via the Internet. While convenient, a little bit of all of our innocence is lost and I feel bad for all future generations who will never experience the nervous joy of walking into a porn shop and walking out with a little brown bag of heaven.