My Radio

13946225413136 (1)“I need music,” my wife told me.

We were painting the living room (in blessed silence, I might add) when the desire for something to fill the void overcame her.

So I turned on the radio.

After ten mind-numbing minutes of advertisements, the first selection turned out to be a b-side oldie. I was eighteen when it was new. That was fifty years ago and I hated it then.

I hate it more now.

“Honey,” I said, “that song is fifty years old.”

“Uh-huh,” she said through a smile.

“Think about this,” I told her. “What if we were listening to the radio in 1968 and a song from 1918 came on?”


She didn’t get my point, but she got enough of it to turn her smile into a suspicious frown. By now, the track had ended and a shrieking guitar introduced the next b-side oldie.

I get it. The exuberance of rock’n roll changed the course of the universe.  It was all so new, so revolutionary and so alienating then – but now, fifty years on, all those musicians are on Medicare and the message just isn’t the same.  Why are we still listening to them?

It certainly isn’t for the artistry, I could only count three chords.

Perhaps it’s for the nostalgia.

I doubt that though. I was an idiot in the late 60’s and everyone I knew was an idiot. Idiocy is not something one should look back on with fondness.

What then is it?

As if to answer my question, she shouted over the screeching guitars, “It’s a classic!”

“Ah,” I said, “you want classical.”


My favorite preset button brought up Dvořák’s String Quartet No. 12 “The American”.

“Ugh,” she cried, “you complain about old music, then you play that.”

I tried another channel.


Talk Radio… A bitter old white guy complained about the country going to hell…..


NPR…. a smug young ivy leaguer complained about the country going to hell…..


Adult contemporary….

“Leave it there,” she shouted, “I like that song.”

I did too.

We listened while we rolled new parchment white over old parchment white.

“Why are we doing this?” I asked.

“Because the paint is old.”

“Can’t have old stuff.”

“Nope, we can’t.”

The song slowly faded into stillness… which lasted for one peaceful moment, then…

RAP, %$#^, RAP, %$#^ …

“Turn it, turn it,” we both cried scrambling over each other in a panic.


The unmistakable lyrics of country….

Problems, we all got ’em

Let ’em sink down to the bottom

Doesn’t matter who or where you are

We’re gonna spend the weekend in the deep end of a dive bar.

“You know?” I say, “some things never get old.”

“Nope,” she says, “they never do.”

“Like going to The Pit.”

“Not until the living room is finished.”

Some things….

Oh well…

Author: Almost Iowa

36 thoughts on “My Radio”

  1. They still have radio stations?

    I abandoned them. Now it’s podcasts. Or mix CDs given to me years ago.

    I love your lack of maudlin memories for the music of your youth. Seems rare. Or maybe it’s just my friends longing for the old stuff.

  2. I like ‘listening’ to your exchanges. It feels like I’m a fly on the wall…ruining your paint job. I hope the parchment white stays timelessly beautiful.

  3. A good review of the airwaves. I just tossed a few hundred songs on my phone and plugged it into my car. I don’t care that they repeat, I forget, so we’re even.

  4. My husband and I do not enjoy the same music so that is one issue. The second issue is there is no mute button issued with a radio, but I’ve been known to turn it on and off to avoid the annoying editorials or ads. 🙂 And, I have some rooms that I still like the color but have been wondering about freshening up – must be an age thing. 🙂

  5. Good one, Greg. I do still like some music I grew up with, but mostly I don’t listen to anything – and certainly NOT the radio. Your story is the perfect illustration why.

  6. Hahahaha! Yep that sounds like a typical experience trying to find something good on the radio. Although I really do like songs from 1918, I have a “WWI songs” playlist on my google play! 🙂

    1. Think about what music in 1918 was. There was no radio and phonographs were rare and of poor quality. So most of the music was sold as sheet music, to be played in parlors or by community bands. It was written to appeal to a large audience and all generations. It is why it is still good music.

  7. “We’re gonna spend the weekend in the deep end of a dive bar”
    That’s a GREAT line, and one that brings me back to younger, much younger days–Lol!

  8. You wild kids, listening to all the radio stations, painting your walls parchment white. You take rebellion to a different level. Fun story.

    1. We were once the people our parents warned us about, now we are the people we warned each other about. I don’t trust anyone under 30.

  9. I laughed at that “new parchment white over old parchment white” line. It’s true — some things never grow old, they just need to be refreshed a bit. Apart from that, your take on commercial radio’s hilarious, and spot on. It used to be ten songs to every one commercial. Today, that’s been reversed.

    1. What bothers me about commercials is that the industry has raised the annoyance level to stellar heights. Pitchmen once talked fast. Now, the space between words has been abbreviated by various techniques, giving us the audio equivalent of small print.

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