Dead Air

C.S. Lewis once said, “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.”

While this is technically true, why is it that sometimes sixty minutes feels like ten hours and sometimes it feels like ten minutes? Think about it, what feels longer, one hour of reading a great book or ten minutes in a doctor’s waiting room? Ten minutes waiting for a doctor, of course.

As I sat waiting for a doctor, that question floated around in my mind. Earlier in that day, I was nearly late for my doctor’s appointment because I was reading a fascinating book and I lost track of time. I thought that I had been reading for about 15-20 minutes, but really I had been reading for close to an hour. Time just flew by.

Later, as I sat in the waiting room, time seemed to stand still. I would frequently look at the clock and expect 30 minutes to have passed by, when really it had only been three minutes.

Why does some time race by and other time seem to crawl?

Years ago I had a job at a radio station. I often worked overnights and it was my responsibility to make sure from, 1:00-6:00am, that the national radio program played on our local station.

It may sound glamorous, but it really was just me all by myself, pressing a few buttons in a small room while trying not to fall asleep.

The job was all about timing. I had to know when the national show was going to commercial so I could turn down their volume and turn up the volume of the local commercials.

Sometime I would start the local commercials one or two seconds too soon. This wasn’t a huge problem except for the fact that once the local commercials ended, there would be one or two seconds of silence, or dead air, before the national program started back up again.

In radio, silence is the last thing you want. In fact, it is just the exact opposite of what your listeners want. People don’t tune into a station with the hopes of hearing nothing.

While I was all by myself at the radio station, those one or two seconds of dead air seemed to last a lifetime. Time appeared to stand still as I bit my nails, waiting for the national show to return. In all reality, a radio listener may not even know that I made a mistake. To them, the one second felt like one second. But to me, sitting in a cramped control booth, alone at 3:00am, that one second couldn’t have been longer.

I can’t explain why some things in life seem to take forever, while other things fly by.

But it is important to remember that we can only control what we can control. I wasn’t able to control the doctor. He had other patients he had to get to before me, and I was just going to have to wait. Along the same lines, I couldn’t control the national radio show. Regardless of how much I stressed, the show was going to come back on the air on its own time and I couldn’t force it back just because I needed it two seconds earlier.

Like C.S. Lewis said, each hour is going to come sixty minutes at a time, no matter who we are or what we do. We shouldn’t sweat the small stuff that we have no power over.

I’m guessing Mr. Lewis never had to wait in a doctor’s office or work for a radio station.

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.