By Todd Lancaster
My wife asked me what my father might want for Christmas. I said “World Peace.”
Truthfully at 81, “World Peace might be as practical as anything else I could give him. As I looked back on the 80 years I have known him. I realize, that whatever I come up with, he
had previously purchascd for himself. He has 1,300 golf shirts and no longer plays golf. In fact even when he did play golf, he was constantly upgrading his equipment on his own, so buying him anything short of Chivas on the rocks at the 19th Hole made very little sense.
Just a few yars ago when he did play, he was very impressed with himself when he found out that his 3-wood had more spent more time being engineered in a computer-generated wind tunnel than a
Saturn V rocket had – AND was constructed of materials that as he described “could not be found in nature.”
The nice thing about his “unnatural” golf club was that it fit his “unnatural” golf swing very nicely. Unfortunately, once he stopped playing golf; it did limit the Christmas, Father’s Day and birthday
choices (and greatly slowed aereospace research on golf clubs for people who hit the ball 173 yards).
He has always been a “tech junkie” as well and one would think with the exponential explosion of technology during his eight decades on this earth, those gifts would have eventually bought themselves, shipped themselves and then returned themselves, all without any human intervention.
However, where hi-tech gifts were concerned, he may even had a more selective criteria than in golf clubs.
Not long ago, 1965 to be exact, he had a new world-band radio that came complete with 6L6 power tubes, 12 v7x preamp tubes and dual rectifiers. It weighed about 400 lbs. and could pick up broadcasts from Radio Free Hungary. I believe he eventually ran a wire frum it into the bathroom plumbing so he could hook it up to all the copper piping in the house and create a two-car, two-bath
That eventually gave way to stereo equipment with the latest in solid state and quadraphonic sound. Further down the road came reel-to-reels, 8-tracks, cassettes, medal tape, video disks, Betamax, CDs and DVDs.
Each purchase required multiple trips to stereo stores where hipsters with tinted glasses and leather sport jackets yammered on about levels of harmonic distortion at 4 or 8 ohms. My Dad would always listen and then throw out some factoid he had recently read in Audiophile magazine. All the while, I just sat quietly and wondered why he even cared about hearing what was recorded at 80,000 Hz since he had basically lost his hearing in Korea in 1952.
After audio came computers and then phones. Although my Dad will be the first to admit he has trouble with the actual operation of a computer, tablet and phone, he likes the CONCEPT of computers, tablets and phones.
He also liked Steve Jobs more than Bill Gates and has since surrounded himself with enough “Apples” to create an orchard. At 81, he has enough downloaded music on his romputer so he can listen uninterrupted for 3.2 years. He said he wanted it all “in the cloud” so he could stream his 3.2 years’ worth of music to his choice from iPad, iPod(s), Apple Tv, iMac or iBook, or home theater.
One day I walked in as he was listening to music he had downloaded to his home theater, and he said it was coming “from the cloud.” I said. “Which device is streaming it?” His response, “I have absolutely no idea.”
That whole World Peace thing is looking like a better present all the time.
Todd is a writer and editor in So. Indiana. However, he is sitting by the phone waiting for Jimmy Page to call about reforming Led Zepplin, with the two of them sharing lead guitar duties. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org