Why Is It Called A Jukebox?

C.S. Lewis once said, “If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come.”

That quote really caught my eye.  Whether it is Googling “how to be a wrestler” like I did yesterday, or spending way too much time on YouTube, I am constantly finding ways to distract myself from what I actually need to be doing.

C.S. Lewis seemed to think that the only way to combat this feeling is to constantly be learning, even when times aren’t perfect.  That is very profound, but what does it actually mean?  Does Mr. Lewis want me to find my old Science book and teach myself the periodic table of elements? Probably not. More likely he means that learning can come in all shapes and sizes and we just have to be receptive to it and recognize an opportunity to learn when one presents itself.

As my blog name indicates, I am a big fan of alliteration.  Adam always acts amused around alliteration (see how fun that is).  So I have decided that I will have a few alliteration based formats on this blog.  The first of which will be called “Wonder Why Wednesdays.”

On Wednesdays I will be discussing something that makes me wonder, such as: why can’t you sneeze with your eyes open, or why is it called jaywalking?  Each question will be something that actually has a real answer and not just a silly question like, why does your nose run and your feet smell, or before the light bulb was invented, what appeared over people’s heads when they had an idea?

This will be my take on the C.S. Lewis quote that we always need to be looking for knowledge.  And to add a fun twist, I will try to guess and give you my version of the answer before I look it up.  It will be BlogByBake’s version of Balderdash (not bad alliteration).

Today’s Wonder Why Wednesday:

Recently, I was at a restaurant that had an old fashioned jukebox.  You know, the kind that makes you want to have a drink out of an ice cold 1940’s Coke bottle while you hang out with the Fonz.  After daydreaming for a few minutes about the shenanigans the Fonz and I would get into, I asked myself, “why do they call it a jukebox?”  When I was little I thought it was called a juicebox or a jutebox.  Neither of which makes any more sense than a jukebox.

Here’s my guess at why it is called a jukebox:

When these large music contraptions were first invented, they were often placed in the middle of the dance floor so that the entire room could hear the music (this was before Bose speakers). When guys and gals came to the dance floor to ‘cut a rug’ they would often bump into the music machine.  After crashing into the big music player a few times, the dancers became bruised and could no longer ‘get down with their bad self’.  Because they did not want to slow down their dancing, they realized that they’d have to “juke” or quickly move around the contraption when they got close.  Much like the great football player Red Grange would do to avoid a linebacker.  Because the name “big bruising box” didn’t sound very friendly, the creators began calling the machine a jukebox.

Here’s the real answer to why it is called a jukebox:

According to Wikipedia, “the term ‘jukebox’ came into use in the United States around 1940, apparently derived from the familiar usage “juke joint”, derived from the Bullah word “juke” or “joog” meaning disorderly, rowdy, or wicked.”  Apparently juke joints were informal establishments that featured music, dancing, gambling and drinking.

Jukebox judgment:

My guess wasn’t very close to the real story.  Juke has nothing to do with Red Grange or trying to avoid crashing into the machine itself.  Although, after reading what a juke joint is, I bet the jukebox did cause some bruising for a few unruly folks.

See how much fun it can be to learn.  Now you just have to make sure to remember the real meaning, and not my silly guess.

What have you been wondering lately? Let me know in the comment section below and I will feature it in an upcoming Wonder Why Wednesday!

Also, if anyone has a good string of alliteration, feel free to post it below.

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4 thoughts on “Why Is It Called A Jukebox?

  1. I’m sorry, but I refuse to believe that your definition of jukebox is not more accurate than “Wikipedia” as you call it. My wonder why this week is why do I want to worship wonder why Wednesdays and want it to win over the wonderful World Wide Web. Weasels.

  2. Hi! C.S. Lewis is cool–I’ve already all of Narnia, all of Perelandra, & others as well–but I have a partiality for G. K. Chesterton, who said, “Love isn’t blind–that’s the last thing it is–but love is BOUND; and the more bound it becomes, the less blind it is.” He also said (and I use this in homilies): “If you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to con-vict you?” But then I firmly back up the epistle of St. James when it comes to works. Faith and grace are vital, but they need to be expressed. None of this sitting on the chaise longue & eat-ing bon bons while the rest of the world goes by! Don’t know why I’m sharing all this with you ex-cept that I know if anyone would grasp my point, you would. Yours always, Father G

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