This I Believe

Jeremy - Bangor, Maine
Entered on December 9, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

Bitten by the Apple

At the risk of sounding like a shameless pitchman, I believe in iTunes and iPods.

Ironically, I’ve always used PCs. Had I been introduced to computer-based music differently, I may have been seduced by some other provider, but I bought a Diet Pepsi (there I go again with advertisements) and the bottle cap invited me to download a free song from iTunes: I was hooked.

My living room was once awash with CDs. At various times, I organized and alphabetized, often separating by genre. “This shelf has the soundtracks, the classical and the new age,” I’d explain to my uninterested wife. But soon, I couldn’t find the Ravi Shankar.

iTunes changed that. With the click of a mouse, I can view my music alphabetically–by artist, song, or album; alternately, I can look at music of a particular style or era. True, there was a painstaking period of uploading, but now that the tunes are on my hard drive, the CDs are safely stored in a basement locker where they will molder away like Davy Jones’ remains.

As with most technology, I don’t understand it; I don’t understand the different file extensions, the mp3’s, wav’s, and aac’s, but I do know that I can put all these files on my computer and on that other magical device–the iPod. I own a first-generation, limited-memory Shuffle, but this small white wand has changed my life.

I was an obsessive mixer, forever piecing together songs by different artists to create the ultimate jam. Some upbeat, some mellow but–ultimately–all ephemeral. A few days after I compiled “the best mix ever,” that cassette (in the 80s) or CD (in the 90s) lost its charm, and the process began anew. The executives at TDK and Maxell probably put a son or daughter through college with the revenue generated by all my purchases. But with the iPod, when I get tired of a mix, I erase it and start over. Never again will I have to buy a blank tape or CD. And when compiling a play list, my entire music library is there at my disposal. I don’t have to sift through CDs and tapes; I can simply search for a song or an artist, and, “Voila!”

Best of all, these iPod mixes have made my midlife more active. The lightweight Shuffle draped over my neck, “earbuds” firmly in place, I’m off for a jog at every other day. Past exercise regimens never lasted; a few achy weeks later I returned to my slothful ways. But with heart-pumping tunes like U2’s “Vertigo” or Muse’s “Supermassive Black Hole” to spur me on, I actually look forward to jogging. I’ll even make one more loop around the block to end on a “good note.”

Thank you, Apple, for iTunes and iPods; these innovations have organized and energized my life. I give my endorsement whole heartedly, without expectation of compensation. But should you decide to mail me a shiny new Nano, well, how could I refuse?