Monday, February 10, 2003  

My MP3 Player And The Reason I Am Not Hot…

Close inspection of the photos on this website will bear out the sad truth that I am not hot. While not being an ugly and hideous monster of a man, I am also not what someone would consider a traffic-stopping hottie…at least not someone with decent eyesight and a blood alcohol level below 68.5. But, as I have stated many times before, I am OK with this reality of my life. Sure, the cheerleaders never wanted to date me. Of course I never managed to bag the prom queen. In fact I wasn’t much success with women at all until I discovered older ones who had drinking problems and questionable moral codes. I feel this has conditioned me well for life…win some lose some…strive for the more substantial…and if you can’t be the prettiest belle at the ball, at least be the best dancer. All this is to say I have come to grips with the reality of my image. But I never really asked why? Why am I not beauty and not beast? Why am I not Brad Pitt and not Carrottop? But the other day my MP3 player told me why.

I recently installed a new stereo in the truck. It has an obnoxious blue screen that displays moving images and can get the core temperature of the Earth. I think it even serves as a satellite cross-link for the NSA to transmit crucial counter-intelligence information in our War on Terror…I can’t say for sure, I haven’t read the manual. But what I can tell you is why I bought it. I bought it because it has an AUX plug that allows me to plug in my MP3 player. I just take this plug and stick it into the ear phone jack of the MP3 player, and presto I have over 2000 songs at my disposal. Imagine that…2000 songs, many gigs of digital music from tried favorites like Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Pink Floyd, to new stuff by Royksopp and Coldplay. All I have to do is press play and I am in my own world of music.

The average homemade CD holds 16 songs- 12 if you are burning the drawn-out and moody songs of The Cure, 19 if you are listening to the tunes of the King of Rock n’ Roll- which is about 1884 songs less than my MP3 player. But here’s the strange thing: when I listen to the CD I make it through every song. With the CD I know I have a finite list of songs until I have to start all over so I listen to every song all the way through and sometimes I will listen to the same song a few times in a row. Not true with the MP3 player. With the MP3 player I am an impatient man. I can not hardly wait for the song to get to the part I really like before I start blazing through the tracks, passing up what would be perfectly suitable drive-time material were it burnt to CD with 15 of its thematically similar friends.

On the way back from visiting my mom in San Antonio the other day I noticed I just kept flying through the tracks. Duran Duran, Sam Cooke, Tool, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, Asia, Adam Ant, Nirvana, U2…the damn thing could barley keep up. There was just too much variety to keep my attention. In a moment of near clarity it finally occurred to me why I am not hot.

You see, the denial of pleasure has made me a better man. I love my wife and I treat her as best as I can, which admittedly is not as good as she sometimes deserves. I have the patience to work the hard times and relish the good times. I have this whole approach to my marriage and relationship that I think is borne from the years where I felt like I was getting obligatory affections and pity sex from women I didn’t deserve. I learned to appreciate the finite. I learned to marvel and enjoy the blessings that finally came my way. What makes matters better is that Kelly started out being the girl I was lucky to get but became the woman lucky enough to be my wife. Funny how that worked out.

The point is, had I been able to have my choice and cycle through women based on sheer whim and need for change I would have never learned to recognize that the sweetest melodies occur at the end of the song. That MP3 player was the best $250 I ever spent.

posted by Mike | 3:15 PM
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