I have decided to become a talk radio listener. As a bona fide attempt at self-
betterment, I have decided to become a talk radio listener. No sports, no news.
Simply the opinions of those better informed than me. Which is to say anyone
on the radio with a voice and an argument. I will be honest with you, the next bit
treads on self-deprecation, so for those of you who are convinced that mood and
affect are influenced by the interaction of good and bad environmental energy,
please feel free to move along.
This talk radio decision comes on the shoulders of a fair bit of critically skewed
self-reflection, as all believable self-reflection is, in which I have deduced an utterly
untrue, but compelling conclusion. I am on the threshold of 29 years of age and
though I am convinced I possess legitimate and occasionally thought provoking
ideas and opinions, I can’t for the life of me bring any to mind… none that could
possibly have any relative importance on the human race, anyway. I’m a keen
supporter of common sense and I’m convinced that the beauty of the English
language is falling apart one LOL and 4-for-for replacement at a time, but what
reasonable person would argue with me? I fear I am void of original thought. This
is despite all efforts, mind you. I consider myself fairly well read for someone my
age; whether from vanity or personal taste, I’ve managed to stay away from the
likes of Dan Brown and that vampire lady Stephenie Meyer. Though much of my
schooling has revolved around the health sciences, I sought to dabble in philosophy,
chemistry and everything in between. I can easily get through 40% of all newspaper
articles I deem worth my time, before falling to the distractions of fantasy hockey.
The result? I can now boast a narcissistic library, a ridiculously focused degree, and
a severely muddled understanding of current events. But, original thought? I’m
piggybacking on a friend’s blog, for goodness sake. Case in point.
Which brings me back to talk radio. This wasn’t an impulsive decision. In
retrospect, talk radio has always been part of my life. I can remember as a child,
both my parents went about their daily routine with the radio in the background.
I’m familiar with names like Ted Woloshyn, Bill Caroll, and the Mott’s because of
long car rides and forced child labour in the workshop or the kitchen. I’ve even
endured moments of parental nostalgia thanks to the fear of all teenagers… their
parent’s discovery of youtube. Seriously, name one other child who has been called
from another room to listen to a 1973 radio address entitled, “The Americans” by
the late Gordon Sinclair! Likewise, I’ve tolerated those days of early employment
characterised by paper cuts, awkward conversations with much older coworkers,
and of course, more talk radio.
Looking back, I now see that there were major differences in the way my parents/
coworkers listened to the radio and the way I did. Sure, they listened for
information, but they also sought opposition to viewpoints of their own. They
sought debate. My relationship with these unknown, unseen personalities was
purely one of passive absorption. Tom, the sponge. When it came to engaging
conversation I wouldn’t think twice to spew out the opinions of others as my own.
I loved nothing more than to jump on the bandwagon of those who seem to know
what they’re talking about. What scared me about my recent self-appraisal session
is I catch myself content with relying on the intelligence of others even now.
At first, I took a perverse solace in the fact that a likely generational gap exists.
Actually, that’s too optimistic of a statement. I imagine there’s more of a
fundamental difference between generations. I grew up in an age so bombarded
with not only information, but accessible information, that resourcefulness (a term
synonymous with my parent’s generation) may now be obsolete. Why conceive
an opinion when the Internet will tell me what to believe? Original thought is
but a keystroke away. However, as I dug further, I became distinctly aware of the
possibility that this may be related to my intelligence and personality. The world
is teeming with new ideas coming from all disciplines. I personally know someone
who asked his parents at the age of 4 “if the universe is infinite, how can God be
finished?” At the age of 4!!!* If I lack insight and discernment at 29, what hope
do I have obtaining it by 40 or 50? At least with the generational difference, I’m
not alone we’re all doomed! No matter how you dress it up, naïve man-child will
never sound flattering. In light of my options, I’m banking on a third option. An
opportunity for optimism lies in the age/experience difference. At 29, I’m still too
young and inexperienced to have an opinion that is truly unique.
As the first step towards betterment, I’ve decided to become a talk radio listener.
Listen as my parents listen… as my old coworkers listen. Listen, argue, repeat.
… and maybe some sports.
*Following the completion of this piece I also remember attending a discussion
with Brian Cox (a Physicist best known in the media for his work at CERN and the
BBC) and Sir Robert Winston (another British professor/scientist/physician/media
personality) where a child no older than 7 stood up in front of close to 500 people
and asked this question: “If E=mc2 and a photon has no mass, how does it travel at
the speed of light?” I have no hope.