My Dad gave me my first real radio for Christmas when I was nine years old. It had AM and FM stations as well as a tape deck. I couldn't wait to tune into my favorite stations and tape (yeah, I said tape) the latest songs. My Dad had other plans.
When I liberated the radio from the Christmas wrapping and factory packaging, I tossed it all aside never giving a second glance to the papers bundled at the bottom of the box; the directions. My Dad took the radio, handed me the manual and said, "Read this first."
"But I already know how to use a radio," I said.
"Read it anyway."
I pouted but he was unyielding. This was rare since I was, and still am, a major league Daddy's Girl. But my Dad was always perturbed by my Mom's complete lack of technical know how. He wanted me to be able to walk into Radio Shack knowing exactly what I need, how to ask for it and how to get out of there without giving them my phone number.
Thanks to my him, I now have the amazing ability to breeze through manuals for software, electronic gadgets and household appliances. I know how to set the clock on my DVD player, and I'm not even baffled by the Daylight Savings time feature. I guess my super hero name would be Gadget Girl. I'm more than a little annoyed that many manufacturers no longer even give you a manual, instead choosing to let you download and print out the PDF, shifting paper and ink costs to the customer.
So it was with pleasure that I gave my Dad his first Ipod for Christmas. I enjoyed giving him something that he would never buy for himself. Always on the cutting edge, my Dad had been dropping hints for several months that he wanted an Ipod. He even suggested I get myself a new Ipod and let him take my old one.(Did I mention I was a Daddy's Girl!) But I would never give my Dad a second hand Ipod even if the first hand was mine.
My old 20 gig is on it's last legs. It's ongoing problems include a loud whirring hard drive, short battery life and the persistent appearance of the Apple icon. My Dad deserved better.
Part of me relished the idea of turning the tables and making my Dad read the manual before donning those cool and ubiquitous white head phones. But it's Apple. There is no manual. For Microsoft Windows users, the lack of a manual can be disturbing. We are completely unprepared for the intuitive simplicity of Apple. We look for the trick. We wait for the other shoe to drop. We expect Rod Serling to step from behind a curtain and begin narrating our personal "Twilight Zone" moment. Apple? Plug it in and go. It's madness, but the good kind that one can get used to.
In no time my Dad downloaded his entire CD collection and started rummaging through mine. He didn't find much, since he's not a big Prince, Dave Matthews Band or Eminem fan. (I don't know why, but that angry little white boy amuses me.)
As a life long Jazz man, my Dad hit the jackpot browsing through my husband's CDs: John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Max Roach, Stan Goetz .... Judging by his musical tastes it's easy to believe that my husband was born out of his time. Perhaps he was reincarnated from with his love of jazz intact. His penchant for fine cigars, stingy brim hats straight razor shaving lends credence to this theory.
It's worth noting here that although we've been married for over seven years, my husband and I ardently maintain separate music collections. We share vows, a home, and tax returns, but co-mingle music? I'm just not ready for that level of commitment. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.
At the moment, it's looking like my Dad's Ipod Nano is swiftly reaching capacity. I completely underestimated how quickly and easily he would embrace the technology. A man who's loved music for the better part of 70 years probably needs an 80 gig. I guess I know what to get him next year.
Thank you for reading The Urban Erma.
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