Community Summit: Exceeding Expectations
Mekado Murphy

The Death of an Old Friend

Today I am "burying" a old friend. Reliable and good.

It is my portable cd player. My jam box.

This is the first cd player I ever purchased. I got it at Christmastime in December 1992, my freshman year of college. And that Christmas I used Christmas money to begin my cd collection. I can't completely remember what all was in that original purchase, but I know that Michael Jackson's Dangerous was one album.

This cd player stayed in my dorm room and college apartment. I carried it on romantic picnics by the lake. In my Shawnee house, it was my only real sound system (until I got a new computer in 99 that had a Bose system). In the mornings I'd listen to Jack and Ron while showering. It played lots of music for lots of parties.

Once I got my first real job and moved to Fville, it became my church cd player. I'd use it in my office or carry it around the building for different events and programs. It went on retreats and youth camps and mission trips. It has a big mark of white paint on one end that I think some youth put there.

In the winter of 2005 my car sound system got a short. So I started using my portable cd player for my car sound system until I could get the car fixed. But, before I could, I moved and had far less money and decided not to spend it on a car audio system. So I kept buying batteries to plug into the jam box. Over the two years I've spent enough on batteries to have fixed the sound system.

A couple of weeks ago the cd player quit working. The radio still works fine. But I need a cd player.

So, today I bought a new portable stereo. And, something I didn't know existed until last week, a converter that plugs into the cigarette lighter and has a normal outlet on the other side that I can plug in my power chord. I'm headed to Kansas City this week, and so am now outfitted for the trip.

But I'm a little sad, and my eyes have gotten moist to retire my great old Sony jam box that has lasted almost fifteen years through lots of wear and tear.

I've heard all the great music of my young adulthood on this thing. There are so many sweet memories.
Dancing to Dancing Queen with Kara & Shelly. Listening to Nightswimming with Toni. Andrew bringing his new music finds for us to listen to. Two Zaireka parties. Cleaning my dorm room while listening to Michael Jackson. Driving through Kansas City with Nathan listening to Bright Eyes. Blasting the Fugees at my church office. Playing Summer Turns to High at my first year of SWBYCA in my senior c-group and listening to them discuss. Listening to Mary J. Blige in Helena, Arkansas. And, most importantly probably, listening to the River of Dreams album the day I rejected my conservative religious upbringing and its interpretation of the Bible and fully embraced postmodernism, an event somewhat precipitated by Matt Cox coming out.

I've thought about keeping the old machine and retiring it to some shelf in the closet to take out and look at now and then. I like the way its buttons feels (particularly the casette pause button); they are so familiar to me. I like the slash of white pant on the side. I like the scratches and smudges.

Oh well. Here goes. I'm going to take it out to the trash can now. Goodbye old friend.


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Supremely good stuff. It reminds me of my first CD/Jambox. I got it in '90. Alas, I was much younger than Scottie, then. It, too, was a Sony. Reliable SOBs, those Sony's are.

First music to come from it would be my INXS CD.

It would go on to play and re-play and re-play the hell out of U2's Joshua Tree in my JR. High years. I can't tell you how many nights as a Freshman in HS that I would listen to my box set of Led Zepplin that was big in '93.


Ah. The memories of that cd player. Sniff.
(Incidentally, it was in its ad hoc car-stereo incarnation when you played American Idiot- the first and last time I've ever heard that album- on the way to the McCarty's.)

Scott Jones

Yes, that was fantastic and should have been on my list as well.

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