Prompt: The reason for the season – What’s the most memorable gift you’ve ever received?
Hey, I don’t make these prompts up. I also don’t have “the ultimate gift, ever” because that’s a little too close to the desert island type-question, which always pisses me off.
But picking just ONE of my most memorable gifts, outside of the shimmering, mystical moonstone engagement necklace (I don’t wear rings) Mr. HouseofBeck surprised me with right before Christmas in 2003…
…I’d have to say my iPod.
Music is life to me. Thanks to my dad, I grew up listening to everything. Beethoven, rhythm’n’blues, big band and punk fill my earliest memories. I think I heard the Dickies’ cover of “Paranoid” at age 4 before I ever heard Black Sabbath’s, and when I did I thought that was too slow! I was country before country was cool, I was 80s, I was Nights in White Satin, I was Pete Seeger, I was Elmore James, I was Jeanette MacDonald and Lily Pons. Fill in eras and genres in between and you’ll get the picture.
I used to wonder how people could think a sound was new or original when all you have to do is look back a couple decades and it was already happening, often before its time. The roots go so, so deep, and there’s so much out there. And I eat it up like candy.
I grew up with 45s, vinyl, tapes and then CDs. A friend had cylinder records and I still have 78s. Nothing has ever sounded as good as the 45 rpm, outside of being in the studio with the group or seeing them live. But I’ll accept the slight loss in quality for the beautiful ease of carrying a piece of my collection with me with no jumble of tapes or CDs, of being able to experience the beauty and the bliss right at my fingertips, right at my whim.
I don’t have my entire collection on the Pod itself; I’d need a bigger one, and while I’m hard on my stuff, this little dude has lasted since 2005 and I get attached to electronics. But I can load exactly what I need when I need to hear it. I may have issues with iTunes and probably always will, but the concept works for me nonetheless.
I haven’t heard everything, of course; I’ve managed to miss bands and even genres through the years. But I’ve got great friends who are filling in those gaps, and both me’n’the Pod benefit. There’s something about falling into a music discussion that can completely infuse you with excitement and emotion, that heady rush of hearing something new that captivates you and sends you soaring because so often it comes at exactly the right time.
Even just sending a link online, even just having the other person type “goosebumps” at you exactly when you’re feeling them, does it for me. You may have missed it 20 years ago, but now, today, it pierces you to the core.
With friends like that, with music like that, every day is a priceless gift. And I can carry it all with me.