As I watched my son adjust his Apple ear buds, I thought, “Ugh. I know son. I hate those things too. They never fit right. That’s why I got wireless ones from a different maker.” Of course I didn’t say this, as he wouldn’t have heard me anyway, plus I didn’t need to pass my earbud bias onto him. He is unspoiled. He is content. There are no complaints. 

That got me thinking…when did I become aware that I could “upgrade” things to suit my needs more fully? When did I become almost obsessed with the idea that the newer version HAD to be better? Upgrade my car? Upgrade my wardrobe? Upgrade my life? I’m certain that when I did, that’s when things went simultaneously up- and down-hill for me. 

When we know no other option, we develop an “okay-ness” with what we have, are given, acquire, find, whatever. Right? Remember the Walkman? Remember the two shitty earpieces covered with little more than a nylon stocking for “comfort” or hearing protection? Remember the metal headband that flimsily connected the two earpieces? So uncomfortable was the whole thing, barely fitting on anyone’s head correctly, 100% NOT making anyone look cooler, while DEFINITELY making us all look like we were wearing glorified head gear to listen to music. Right? 

Now, do you EVER remember thinking, “Man, I need to upgrade these headphones to the “2.0, Super-mega-sonic-infused with the voices of angels singing harms on all my favorite Beastie Boy tracks-bumping solid undie-soiling bass notes into my very tender teenage eardrums?” NO! We were all stoked to even have what we had! When did we become NOT stoked? When did we wake up to the “Upgrade” concept and feel like we needed to apply it immediately to all of our materialistic inadequacies?

And when did it become so much deeper than headphones? When did it become the feeling of upgrading one’s very self to be the 2.0 version? Wasn’t the original worth preserving, keeping up the maintenance on, etc? Or, like the Apple earbuds that got me on this thought locomotive, maybe we just realized there was more out there. More options to create a more comfortable us. I suppose if I had had the choice or means when I was younger to upgrade to a nice set of cushy Bose wireless, noise-canceling headphones to allow Tiffany’s bubblegum pop vocals to help inspire me for the trials and tribulations of fifth grade, then I may have actually done so. Why not? But then again, why? 

Do we really NEED the upgrades? I suppose sometimes we may. But, I guess the challenge of this ramble has been more to see some of the things we have, are given, have bought, etc as “good enough”. Hell, if well-preserved, they may even become classics. Original wiring. Original packaging. The retro 1977 model. Perfect as is. 

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