Me, Myself, and My iPod
My earliest memories of music go way back. To the days before real musical choice. Before civilization.
Yes, before the iPod.
These were days when mothers subjected their progeny to the sounds of Barry Manilow, Bread, and ABBA on eight-track.
If you’ve never pushed Hot Wheels around the carpet to the sweet sounds of Seals and Croft, Tony Orlando, and Neil Diamond, trust me—don’t start now.
My therapist and I are working through it. I’m healing. Really.
Before long, I turned to radio to escape the pain. I first turned to the allure, the glamour—yes, the pure cheese—of pop music that defined the 1980s.
After enduring the likes of New Kids on the Block on the hour, every hour, for months on end, I turned to classic rock. Artists from Eric Clapton to Pink Floyd to Peter Gabriel expanded my horizons … but only delayed the inevitable. I remained a captive, you see, because my mother’s domination eight-track hegemony had given way to the domination of program directors.
So I started flipping channels like nobody’s business, moving from one opening chord to another. I rarely found that one song to fit my mood, sadly, and I remained unable to truly control my musical environment.
But there was a solution—and it involved my allowance.
Buying and listening to CDs allowed me to control what I was hearing. Say hello to the Police, Van Halen, and Rush; say goodbye to Richard Marx, Whitney Houston, and Michael Bolton.
Fast forward twenty years. My basement-filling CD library gathers dust while my ubiquitous iPod entertains me through my home entertainment system, in my car, and on my home office desk.
And it contains only the music that I have put there: 9,000-some songs representing the best of my music collection. I choose that addictive iPod “Shuffle” option, trusting that a random mix of MY music will get me through the day.
It doesn’t last an hour. Or even five seconds. I revert back to my teenage survival mechanism, skipping songs more than I hear them out.
After two decades of collecting music, after thousands of dollars in modern audio technology, I’m right back where I started. But I’ll still tell you it’s been a damn good investment.
After all, these days I’m not hearing any ABBA, New Kids on the Block, or Michael Bolton.