It finally came clear to me that now, well and truly in this the 43rd year of my life, I can’t live without my radio. This isn’t the same desperation that I felt as a teenager, back when boom boxes were all the rage. I remember when the big, suitcase sized portables were all the rage. And I remember feeling jealous that I didn’t have one. The Christmas day that I got a portable music device was a pretty big deal, tempered only by the fact that it was a radio and 8-track player. That’s not a typo, folks. 8 TRACK PLAYER. It was a testament to just how much I wanted a boom box that I was willing to put aside the sheer dork factor of an 8-track. How was I supposed to rock the block, chill with the ladies, if I was lugging around a stack of 8-track tapes? As I am sure can be imagined, THAT went over like a lead balloon.
Still, I was pretty happy with it. I finally had tunes on the go. It was cube shaped, two halves back to back with a speaker on each face and the controls on top. It could be unlatched to separate the halves to move the speakers apart. Cool, no? I remember lugging that thing around, blasting “Cheap Sunglasses” by ZZ Top at full volume. It was great until the tape had to switch tracks in the middle of a song. Woo, what a buzzkill.
So later it was the Walkman causing all the stir. Man, this is great! I was thinking. No more 8-tracks. I could move up (up? gutter to curb?) to cassettes and still have a radio. Yeah, boooyeee! So now I was walking around with headphones on, trying to look cool, thinking “I’ll bet those people are wondering what hip stuff I’m listening to.” Ah, the delusions of youth! I took my Walkman to college, where it lasted almost a full school year. That is, until I wrecked it. In front of a lot of people. I was late for a class, running up the stairs and through the door, whereupon I somehow managed to hook the cassette tray door on the door frame, and my momentum ripped the plastic door right off the Walkman nearly taking my headphones with it. The door went one way, the cassette went the other, and my pride just shriveled up into a raisin sized ball and flew out the window. Quite a few giggles from the class during my Walk(man) of Shame to my seat.
These days it’s all digital, baby! I went through a few analog portables over the past decade, slowly converting to CD’s. I finally realized that I am still behind the curve a bit; I don’t have my own iPod yet, but I tricked out my laptop with wireless and bought a small transmitter/receiver combo that I can use to transmit to m speakers or other devices. I have been catching up to digital downloads, ripping stuff to my laptop and all that. Plus, my birthday is coming up and rumor is I’ll be getting an iPod Classic in black and silver (yeah, man!)There is a helluva lot of good toonz out there, and I want to be able to feed the music monkey on my back. Music is becoming something I don’t want to live without, so gimme, gimme! The latest gear looks so good, I’ll be a fashionable dork instead of just a dork. I can’t live without my radio!