Jeff Pearlman

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Well, this will depress anybody over 30

walkman

By Michael Lewis

While avoiding all television coverage of the Michael Jackson funeral (seriously, this has to be on EVERY channel?), I stumbled across this:

Apparently those clever people who run the BBC decided it would be fun to give a 13 year old an original Sony Walkman to see what he would make of it.

The kid walked around for a week with it and was mightily confused, as were most of his friends, who had only seen iPods. My favorite part was when the kid said he figured out how to make it “shuffle” by “imply by holding down “rewind” and releasing it randomly – effective, if a little laboured.”

This story makes me sad, as did the time earlier this year when my wife came home from teaching fourth grade one day and said one of her kids had stumbled across a word he didn’t know in a reading comprehension exercise. The word was, of course, Walkman. He’d never seen it before in his life.

Oh well. I guess how that British kid feels is typical, kind of like how confused I was the first time my parents told me that in the “olden days,” you had to call an operator on the phone and asked to be connected to someone.

Still, next time I go through my old childhood stuff I’m going to see if I can find my last Walkman, an Aiwa. I’m sure there’s still a good Debbie Gibson or Billy Joel tape stuck in there somewhere.

-M.L.

  • Dan

    I’m only 25, and I’m slightly depressed by this. I still remember having to constantly put fresh batteries in my Walkman after a couple years because it would start to run slow after just a couple days on new batteries. Oh, and my headphones had a short in them, so I had to constantly adjust the way they were turned in the headphone jack.

  • jweb271

    My first Walkman came from Santa with Jackson’s Thriller already in it, ready to go. My god, I was loving it. And then, my parents tried to tell me I had to share with my sisters. Right.

    I couldn’t keep up with the battery situation, so there were many times that I would listen to the music play slow for days until they ran out.

  • Scott

    Funny how much the IPod has taken over. Sony still makes the Walkman. It is now an MP3 player. I’ve got one and I love it.
    Still, it is funny the kid had never heard that word.

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