I wish I had thought of this. But I’m glad that my friend Mike the PharmD (that stands for “Pharmacy Dude”) did.
The ubiquitous iPod is a necessary accessory for today’s tech-savvy, music-loving teenagers. Our boys each have one. In all three cases they worked and saved and payed for part of theirs with a little help from Eyegal and me. They have enjoyed them greatly, but there have been a few “issues” which have needed to be addressed from time to time.
Mike the PharmD, possessing a more sound and sober mind than I, anticipated many of these “issues” prior to purchase. With his kind permission, I am publishing his “music manifesto” which his son signed prior to his receiving his iPod for his 15th birthday. As you can see, Mike is quite the writer, and a pretty funny one to boot. Plus, he gives us all much to think about, which is a good thing.
Herein contains conditions, which if met, grant M.R.P. permission to purchase an iPOD (1, 2, 4, or 30 gigabytes) or an MP3 player by another name, with his own money. However and furthermore, to help lessen the impact of such a purchase on the bank account of the typical 15-year-old, let what follows function as both contract and promissory note, which, if recipient chooses, may be redeemed for $0.03 for each day beginning August 25, 1991 and running through August 25, 2006 (16,437 cents … you may want to double-check the math).
The following conditions of ownership shall apply for the life of the iPOD. If ignored, compromised, or otherwise pooh-poohed, the use of the iPOD will be suspended and this contract will auto-ignite, wherewith the recipient will be considered in breach of contract. The conditions of ownership are:
The choices about what free or purchased music (or any other file type) to download onto the iPOD shall be made with the following in mind … “Whatsoever is true, whatsoever is honorable, whatsoever is just, whatsoever is pure, whatsoever is lovely, whatsoever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” If ever unsure or in doubt, conversations to help navigate these winding and crooked and confusing roads will always be more than welcome.
The iPOD shall not become a source of conflict between owner and parents, sisters, friends, or pets. The occasional argument, rare and mild, is to be expected in a family of seven. However, the raising of voices, the use of sarcasm, pouting, the sticking out of the tongue, the rolling of the eyes skyward, name-calling, huffing and puffing, slamming of doors, pounding the table, stomping the floor, the sudden use of non-projectile objects as projectile missiles, or any other behavior deemed out of bounds by those members of the family responsible for paying the mortgage, shall lead to a minimum 24-hour moratorium on the use of the iPOD. If the enforcement of this moratorium is met with unkind protest, the mortgage-payers reserve the right to add an additional 24-hours, then another and another and another, up to, but not to exceed, 13 years, cumulatively. Note: If recipient is still living at home in 13 years, the parenting license of both parties who currently pay the mortgage at 166 XXX Road shall be revoked forever and ever.
While the rights of ownership will be held exclusively by M. R. P., the spirit of sharing shall be expected. (Can we run with it too!?)
The iPOD shall not become an object that excessively isolates user from family, friends, responsibilities, books, guitar, study, prior commitments, play, bedtime, chores, thinking, dinner, tidying up, ball practice, mowing, conversation, or Hank. Reasonable and honest discussions to clarify any fine points of this condition are expected and welcome. The mortgage-payers understand, better than most, the need to “get away” by plugging something into the ears to mute outside noise and interferences.
Things are things and people are people. This contract recognizes the iPOD as a thing. Its value, however, while less than people, is greater than old sneakers or a stick of gum. Therefore, the iPOD owner shall remember this difference and act accordingly. In other words, as a small thing, and easily lost, misplaced, forgotten or stolen, the recipient shall take good care to be a good steward of costly things … such as an iPOD. But he shall be quick to remember to take better care of people, with whom he interacts at home, school, church, the ball field, at the movies, etc., etc., etc…
The mortgage-payers have grown to understand that music is among the loveliest of creations; the universal language of love, hope, and faith; beauty, truth, and goodness; longing and desire; the known and unknown; the bearer of what can and cannot be spoken; and much, much more … But since mankind has found ingenious ways to deform, distort, and warp every good thing, the owner of iPOD shall be alert to take note of these things and to discern how to distinguish the beautiful from the tawdry; the meaningful from the trivial; the creative from the destructive; the angels from the demons, so to speak … So, enjoy your music with all your heart. But remember Adam. And Cain. And that you (like all the rest of us) are made from the same blood and bone, prone to both glory and sin.
The mortgage-payers (also known as mom and dad) wish to remind recipient (also known as our dear son) that he is loved and treasured as much today, as on that wonderful and miraculous day, 15 years ago, that is and will forever be etched, as in stone, in our hearts.
With deepest respect and love …