My iPod has been commandeered.
First, I loaned it out to my sister and brother-in-law. My sister was running the Yukon Quest and had one iPod for the lonely stretches of trail between checkpoints, but my brother-in-law wanted an iPod for the lonely stretches of highway between checkpoints.
Unfortunately -- for them, anyway -- they haven't had time to learn the ins and outs of downloading music. They asked me for help the night before they were leaving, so they were stuck with what they got.
Apparently, they didn't appreciate my eclectic mix of classic rock, 1980s pop and 1990s alternative, with a little bit of punk and country thrown in for good measure. I've always been more Dave Matthews than Dave Mustaine, and my brother-in-law was looking for music a little harder than I like.
And my iPod has never been entirely my own. My kids have their fair share of songs on it, too, and apparently Hannah Montana and "High School Musical" don't make the miles pass as fast as Korn.
At one checkpoint, a reporter asked my sister what she was listening to (we reporters like to get inside our subjects' minds and understand their thought processes). Her reply was a curt, "Too much Huey Lewis."
I didn't realize how much I would miss my iPod during those three weeks, but I'm missing it even more now that I have it back. My son, Billy, has discovered music -- not just the Disney Channel pop, but actual music played by real bands.
What's more, he's taking after his uncle in his musical tastes. His favorite song right now is "Iron Man," and he also really likes some cuts from Motley Crue.
Music always has clicked with Billy. As an infant, we sang him James Taylor songs for lullabies. When he was a little older, we got a DVD box set of The Muppet Show. For a while, he could sing a song from just about every star from the late '70s or early '80s. Mac Davis was a favorite.
Once in the checkout line, he was belting out Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler." The teenage checker stared at him for a moment and said, "My dad listens to that stuff."
Billy has now figured out for himself how my iPod works. He can hook it up to the stereo on his own -- and turn up the bass 'til the windows rattle. And the oh-so-clever iPod controls are oh so easy for him to use, too.
Things came to a head this week when I was searching the house high and low. I was feeling a little sluggish, and sometimes a little music is just the thing to get you through the work day and to the next figurative checkpoint.
I finally found my little music box in Billy's room, under a large pile of Legos -- which was an interesting place to find it as he told me he thought he had stashed it behind a Star Wars poster. He'd managed to get "Iron Man" to repeat over and over and over ... .
Billy is definitely grown up enough that he's no longer interested in listening to anything anyone's dad -- including his own -- is listening to. I'm not ready to surrender my iPod to him just yet, but before too much longer, we're probably going to have to buy him his own because he won't like anything mine has on it anyway. Maybe he'll be able to teach his uncle how to download songs.
I will miss the little kid who liked to tap dance along with the Muppets and sing Bon Jovi songs on car rides. Fortunately, we have Billy's tap dance routine, performed in nothing but his Pull-Ups and a Bob the Builder hard hat, caught on video.
So, Billy, if you're reading this, the next time you feel the need to disparage you father's music, just remember this: We know that somewhere, deep down, you still love the old stuff, and if we need to prove it, we can just fire up the VCR.
Will Morrow is the city editor at the Clarion. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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