I decided a long time ago that there are certain times when I am completely willing to look like an idiot. Ever had one of those realizations about yourself? For a half second you consider changing and then decide that marching to the beat of own drum makes you happy… dang it… so screw society’s conventions?
Well, confession time.
What makes me weirdly happy and totally willing to look stupid is a disc man.
That’s right. You heard correctly. A disc man.
Before you ask…
Yes, they still make them. In fact you can buy one here. It’s the one I use and recommend. (Although, now that I just hyperlinked that I see it’s no longer being made and is now ridiculously expensive…and I just had a minor panic attack. That company might be getting a letter. No worries…other companies are still making them for a much more reasonable price.)
Yes, I’m aware that there is newer, smaller, infinitely cooler technology available. And while I adore my Iphone, I don’t own an Ipod.
Yes, the 80’s has been calling wanting their technology back. But tough luck. It’s mine.
Let me explain. I have an addiction to reading books, but I’m also really busy. Solution? Audio books. It allows me to listen to a book while I make clean my house, fold laundry, DIY, drive in my car, and here is the big one…while I run.
(Infographic from a great article on audiobooks here. I can personally recommend numbers 3, 6, and 7.)
I run between 5-6 miles every other day. That’s roughly an hour of time that I get to spend with just my sneakers, the road, and a book. I go through around 2-3 books a week this way between the one I have going in my car and the one on my trusty disc man. I can’t run with music. I tried it once. Horrible experience.
But I’m sure you’re wondering…why a disc man? Why not load those books onto an Ipod. The simple answer? Lack of time. I get the majority of my audiobooks from the library, and some (like the one I’m listening to right now) are on LOTS of CD’s. It would take gobs of time to load each CD onto an ipod which would inevitably be maxed out on storage in a matter of days, causing me to spend even MORE time deleting old books. All of this is time I could have spent doing something else.
So a disc man it is.
I even used to introduce them to my students and allow them to rent them from my classroom. I would explain this foreign technology as “your Ipod’s grandma” and tell them to be respectful to their elders. Some laughed. Some thought I was a complete dork. Which was fine. I am a lot of the time.
Now, if you are at all like me and are a little bit intrigued by this whole idea, I have some helpful hints for you. Take it from a faithful disc man user and audiobook aficionado for the last 20+ years
- Get a tunebelt. It’s a specialy designed belt to hold your discman while you listen. In my case, it holds it while I run, but my mom uses one while she pulls weeds and cleans the house. I’ve gone through about five of these in my lifetime. I always stash extra CD’s, batteries, a back-up hair tie, and a few dollars inside it. Oh… and a Taser. (Thanks Dad!)
- Use rechargeable batteries. Unlike Ipods, Discmen where born before everyone started “going green.” I used to go through a four pack of double A batteries every week…it got expensive. I finally bought a pack of rechargeable batteries and they have been going strong for over four years now.
- Use your local library. Audiobooks are EXPENSIVE. Nuff Said.
I know most, if not all of you are rolling your eyes at the moment. And that’s fine. But don’t knock it till you try it. HOURS of your life that are spent doing mundane tasks could be used to improve yourself. I always recommend audiobooks to struggling readers. It helps build vocabulary and fluency, plus it allows struggling readers to really get “hooked” on a story because it’s being read at the pace that was intended. Kids who struggle with reading never “like” it because it’s the equivalent of watching a movie in slow-motion. BORING!
I tried to find a picture of myself wearing my tunebelt and discman setup and didn’t do so hot. Shocking but I don’t do lots of photo-ops wearing what is essentially a fanny pack. Here is the best one I’ve got. See it on my hip? It’s right next to the photobombing french bulldog. (Don’t panic, my dog doesn’t really have two necks like the picture shows. His image just got a little wonky in the mirror’s reflection. )
If you aren’t afraid to fly your nerd flag proudly…try it out. You never know. You might actually like it!
ps. I can’t end this post without mentioning the Harry Potter audiobooks. They are read by Jim Dale who is phenominal. I may have listened to this series more than once. Okay..more than ten times. But who’s counting?