I Traded My iPod for a Walkman


On November 14, 2010, I got an idea so perfectly bizarre and intriguing that I just could not brush it off.

“I will sell my iPod and purchase a Walkman.”

RCA's Portable Cassette Player

Most of my friends thought it was a bad idea. “What’s the point? Why?”

There were 4 things motivating my decision. 1) I did not use my iPod much anymore and felt like it was a waste of a quality electronic device. 2) I missed listening to the radio. 3) Tape nostalgia. 4) I was ready for a new experiment in the vein of epistemological luddism.

So I did it. I sold my iPod to my roommate and ordered RCA’s version of the Walkman (Sony just discontinued the original).

When it arrived in the mail, I laughed out loud. It was bigger than I had realized, clunky, and I couldn’t figure out how to turn it on. I had forgotten that some portable music devices accept AA batteries.

An hour later, I hopped on the bus to go to work and found myself a little embarrassed to pull it out of my backpack. I worked up the courage eventually and began listening to my first tape… Gordon Lightfoot’s Endless Wire. It sounded okay but Gordon’s voice was almost buried by that nostalgic tape crackle. 5 minutes later, it was beyond buried. It was warped. The tempo derailed and his voice did the opposite of whatever the geniuses behind the Chipmunks do.


Someday I'll hear what this album actually sounds like.

A disappointing first run, but I quickly moved on to radio. I listen to alot of NPR, but to hear it live (actual, live debate of the tax cut extension) was a rush. There is something about live radio and TV that no podcast or Hulu / Youtube stream can match and it was a blissful rediscovery via Walkman.

In the end, my life has not been dramatically altered by the cross-over. I have sacrificed high-quality musical recordings on-the-go but that only makes them sound sweeter when I get home and turn up my computer speakers. People do look at me funny but it’s only a matter of time before everyone in Silverlake has a clunky, silver accident clipped onto their pocket.


I kinda get why you were replaced, but I still like you.


5 Responses to “I Traded My iPod for a Walkman”

  1. 1 Steve

    According to wikipedia, “The device was built in 1978 by audio-division engineer Nobutoshi Kihara for Sony co-chairman Akio Morita, who wanted to be able to listen to operas during his frequent trans-Pacific plane trips. The original Walkman was marketed in 1979…” Whoa…1979. That’s a long time ago. I was just stepping out of college. In other words, you are sporting a technology that is pre-Tyler.

  2. wow! good one Here’s some thing to make you smile: Thought for the day? : Patience has its limits take it too far and its cowardice. George Jackson

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