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home : features : modern times July 03, 2015

11/3/2012 10:02:00 PM
Column: Music to one's ears is torture to another's
Photos.comIf music is the food of love, some tunes inspire a hunger strike.
If music is the food of love, some tunes inspire a hunger strike.

Casey Martin
Courier Columnist

I borrowed my wife's iPod the other day. It's sort of the family iPod. I've had several since they first came out, but I killed them all. Not intentionally, mind you. Oh, no. I loved the little things. But this one stayed in my pocket in the wash, that one fell out of my pocket, then was stepped on and driven over. And my latest one just up and died on me. No reason. I was on an 80-mile bike ride, and at about mile 30, it decided it was done. I'm very mad at that particular iPod. Fifty miles, and all to entertain me was the sound of my own labored breathing. Very dull.

Since it's the family iPod, we all have some music on there. I have the entire Nine Inch Nails catalog, along with some other music that is actually good. And each of my family has their own music on the same iPod as well. But considering the fact that I'm the one with the computer, who knows the password to the iTunes account and that I buy all the music, my music outnumbers their music by a wide, wide margin.

So while I was working on my truck, in the mood for some tunes, I felt safe setting it on shuffle. Linkin Park started playing through the earphones; I let out a little sigh of pleasure. Putting the iPod in my pocket, I set to work, my hands soon elbow-deep in engine.

(Please, never ask me to work on your car. As I've mentioned before, I'm no expert on cars. However, being of a very, very slightly mechanical bent and unwilling to part with money if I don't have to, I WILL chase that rattle in the engine before taking it to a qualified mechanic.)

Linkin Park led to Kid Rock. Okay, that was surprising. I don't remember buying any Kid Rock. Still, it must have been me. And Kid Rock isn't so bad. And my hands are now covered with grease as I pull and push on a part and bang it ineffectually with a screwdriver.

Wait a second. Journey? I remember that a few months ago I felt the need to suddenly own Journey's entire catalog of songs, and I was dreadfully disappointed when I only really liked a handful of them. I'm surprised that there's any Journey still on this thing.

I pry up something on the top of the engine with my screwdriver. Snap! Crud, I think to myself, as I hear pieces of plastic hit the ground. I really don't think that was supposed to happen. Oh, well. Let's get out a socket and loosen and tighten this bolt here. Surely, that'll do something. And The Romantics "What I Like About You" has just begun to play. That's more like it.

Madonna?! Ugh! I forgot that I loaded a Best Of album for my wife, who loves Madonna. Not so much a Madonna fan, myself. I think that my poor ears were simply saturated with Madonna in the 1980s, and now, while I can recognize her talent, I'm afraid that I can't control the rolling of my eyes whenever I hear her music.

Unfortunately, the iPod is in my pocket, and my hands are covered with engine dirt. Since it isn't technically my iPod, it doesn't feel right getting it all filthy just to avoid listening to Madonna. After all, I've just pulled several plugs out of some round thing on top of this engine, so I'm a little pre-occupied. Ah. There we go. Finally over.

Hannah Montana! Oh, Lord, no! Sorry, I have my limits.

Let's see, the iPod is set on shuffle, and if you shake the iPod, it resets it on shuffle and starts another song. So I have to just shake the iPod. Don't necessarily want to get my pants covered with grease, though.

Man, Hannah is REALLY assaulting my ears. Just one hard jostle should do it. I jump. Nothing. Still Hannah is telling me to party in the USA or something.

I jump again, higher. I stomp on the ground again and really jostle myself. Still Hannah. Oh, c'mon. I jump over and over in earnest. All that happens is the fan belt that I was holding on to has snapped off in my hands. Now, I don't think that was supposed to happen. Aren't fan belts supposed to be a little sturdier than that?

Now Hannah's done. Praise be. No. Oh, no. BARNEY! This jumping is doing no good. Okay, forget my pants. They'll wash. And even if they stain, I can't listen to Barney. I just can't.

Plunging the screwdriver into the front of the radiator for safekeeping, I grab my pocket with both hands and shake. Still Barney. I shake and shake and shake. I bend over and just really shake the bejeezus out of that thing. Barney, Barney, Barney.

Luckily, Barney songs are only a couple of minutes long. Up next? More Barney. NO!!!

I grab the headphones and pull the iPod out of my pocket. With it dangling like a fish on a line, I spastically bounce it around, willing Barney to please, please, please, just stop.

And my headphones fall out of my ears.


And I look up and see my neighbor in her window across the street staring at me, open-mouthed. Doubtlessly, she has a phone in her hand, 9 and 1 already dialed, merely waiting for me to one more weird thing to dial one again.

As Friedrich Nietzsche once said, "Without music, life would be a mistake." Absolutely, but Fred was never plagued with Barney.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, November 04, 2012
Article comment by: C C

That was a hilarious story. I could see this whole event unfolding. What I envisioned was Mrs Cravites from Bwitch watching out her window seeing this unfold. (that tell my age, lol)

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