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President’s Blog: Walk(man) on Bye(bye)

 
 

Oh, how I craved the Walkman!

Back in the day when my running game was a daily obsession (yes, that’s true, let it be a lesson to everyone!), I spent long boring hours pounding the pavement in Georgetown and out along the gravel of the C&O Canal wishing I could hear real music rather than the tunes that just played over and over in my head.   I was desperate to banish “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” from my inner hi-fi!

Just in time to save my sanity, Akio Morita of the Sony Corporation came out with a marvelous new gizmo:  the Walkman!  What a revolutionary idea!  Instead of humming “C’mon c’mon c’mon and have a Pepsi Day” over and over again as I ran along, I could listen to…. “Tragedy” by the Bee Gees“YMCA” by the Village People!  “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor!

At least that was the theory.  In reality, being a starving young public interest lawyer in 1979 when the Walkman first came out, I could hardly afford the $150 pricetag.  I waited for the cheaper imitations.  Scraping together $29.95 to buy a no-name “personal stereo” to run with, I then went in search of cassette tapes.

Yes, kids, tapes.  We did not “download.”  We bought cassettes.  The smarter guys knew how to make “mix tapes” but most of us just went to Sam Goody’s. What’s that?  Oh, lordy, I am digging the hole of age here…. Well, Sam Goody’s was a record store.  What’s a record?  Ok, I see we need an even more complete history lesson.  Trust me.  You first got music from a vinyl record.  Then from something called 8-tracks.  Then from a wonderful modern invention called a cassette tape.  There were entire stores with acres of beautifully illustrated albums.   Albums?  Think Best Buy with nothing but larger versions of CDs…  oh, sorry, CDs are also going away.  Sigh.  Who has time to learn this stuff?

Anyway, I took my cheap cassette player out running with a “best of the 70′s” tape.  The music was jerky, the tape bounced around.

My running game did not improve.   But my inner hi-fi at least changed channels once in a while.

What’s a hi-fi?  You can look it up.  It’s not at all like wi-fi, trust me.

I thought of all of this when the news broke earlier this week that the Sony Corporation has decided to stop making the Walkman.  Sigh.  Another “revolutionary technology” going the way of… Betamax, VHS tapes, the Commodore 64, IBM Selectrics, and the very cool transistor radio on which I first heard a Beatles tune in 1964.  (Yes, I’m so old I remember when Paul was actually cute.)

Apple rules, though some of us still resist iAnything.  I did recently discover that my Blackberry can also play music, who knew?  So I created a little playlist.  Really little.  Just about 40 songs, real oldies.

Guess what’s playing right now?

Tragedy!

Walkman, R.I.P.

Just tragic.

Share your memories of Walkman and other dead technologies by clicking on “comments” below…

Join the discussion “On Success” at the washingtonpost.com

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One Response to President’s Blog: Walk(man) on Bye(bye)

  1. wanschurak says:

    1. Rick Says:
    October 27th, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    The Walkman is not dead. It’s been resurrected for the digital age. Check out the Sony Video Walkman:

    http://www.popisms.com/TelevisionCommercial/21515/Sony-Commercial-for-Sony-Video-Walkman-with-O.aspx

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Patricia A. McGuire, President, Trinity, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017
Phone: 202.884.9050   Email: president@trinitydc.edu