Last night, Malcolm went into the kitchen to fetch something.  He did a double take when, walking past the key bowl and gadget-dumping surface, something caught his ear. 

“Hey Mom,” he smirked.  “you left your iPod on.  And it’s playing Metallica.”

The fact that Metallica is on my iPod is the result of a technological snafu that I have not yet had the time or energy to sort out.  One day, while uploading music from CDs to my device, I apparently gave the wrong answer to one of those iTunes questions, and as a result, all the music on Malcolm’s iPod was instantly copied onto mine. 

And vice versa.

We each doubled our music library, instantly, and without paying a cent. 

It was like that commercial where someone’s chocolate bar lands in someone else’s peanut butter.

But in our case, only one of us was happy with this outcome.  To my surprise, the music choices of a 13 year old boy are not all unbearable.

Sometimes, when my shuffle brings up one of his songs and I”m in the middle of something, I’ll just give it a shot and listen to the whole thing.  This is how I came to love this crazy scatman song.  There’s nothing better to keep up your pace on the treadmill.

I also have a better appreciation for Bob Marley, although I can live without The Postal Service.  I love Three Legged Fox, but not Slightly Stoopid. 

Malcolm’s music library has given me a better glimpse into his life and his tastes.  Children’s lives now are so much more private and self-isolating than we were kids.   In the 1970s, when my friends called our house, my parents or brothers might answer.  I was tethered to a stationary wall phone or counter-top phone.  Any conversational privacy was dictated solely by the length of the curly cord and how good we were at whispering down the line.

Same with music.  Because we blared it from stereos in our bedrooms, our parents knew what we were listening to.  In my case, Broadway show tunes, the Beatles,  Cat Stevens and Jim Croce and Carole King, over and over and over again.

As for ”kids today,” who are they talking to?  Who are they texting on their cell phones?  What plans are they hatching, what are they saying?  What music are they listening to?  We scarcely know.

So there was a silver lining to the great iPod mix-up of 2010.  Although I pretended to be hurt that Malcolm never really gave any of the Mom songs on his iPod much of a chance.  He erased everything – from Finnian’s Rainbow to Todd Rundgren - posthaste.

Actually that’s not true.  He kept two out of my 150+ songs.  Both by Jim Croce. 

I am grateful for small favors.

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