A few weeks back, my son returned home from college after his finals to visit us for a couple of days. It was a short visit. He was taking extra classes this summer semester and found a summer job nearby campus, so he needed to get back. Well, I’m pretty sure he came to visit anyway. There were miscellaneous sightings from my wife and me, along with a few neighbors. Further proof? There were baskets of clothes sitting by the washer in need of serious laundering, a whole bunch of food was missing from the refrigerator, and all my beer was gone. Circumstantial evidence perhaps, but still a dead giveaway my son was home. I know, I know, I’m kidding and exaggerating. I really did see and interact with him in the flesh. He needed money – again.
One night, my son wanders into the house with about a dozen of his friends and they were all gushing about how cool something or another was as they were passing around the ear buds to his iPod. I asked him what was so interesting. His response was, “We’re listening to a live Podcast of a band we all like. This technology is so cool. Can you believe it? It’s streaming live right now from a club downtown.”
I started to think about this, and for some reason began blinking. I’m not sure if it was just my mind processing what he just said, or if I was developing a nervous tick thinking about the 3 BMW’s I could have owned, all tossed away in the form of a college tuition.
“So… what’s so cool about that?” I asked.
“Dad, it’s LIVE! It’s happening right now, and we’re listening to it via a stream! Just imagine all the technology to do that!”
Oh, imagine I did. I had this gnawing feeling inside me, a sense of Deja Vu about all this technology and its application to everyday life. And then it hit me.
I tell ya, the iPod ain’t got nothin’ over this baby! It’s completely portable and powered by a replaceable battery – no charger needed. And of course it comes complete with an earbud – one. But hey, you don’t need an ear bud because it can play through a built in speaker, so folks didn’t have to pass around or share that ear bud. Ha! And here’s the best thing – it picks up LIVE streams of AM signal. Can you imagine that? I’m talking about live people, music, and events you can listen to in real time. In fact, listening to a live Podcast … sorry, I meant Broadcast of the 1965 World Series on that technological wonder landed me a detention in Mrs. McF’s class. She just didn’t appreciate sports or technology it seems. Luckily, I only had to write, “I will not take my transistor radio to class” one hundred times on the blackboard before being sent home.
As I reflect on all this marvelous technology it occurs to me, in many ways, little has changed. In fact, as I look at the box above, with that “hip” guy and young woman in Go-Go boots holding onto that radio grooving to the music, it bears a strange resemblance to what arguably must be their kids 30 years later:
Devil With The Blue Dress On – probably not on your iPod but always playing on that transistor radio.