The Gift of Giving, Taking, and Giving Again

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During this time of giving, it's important to remember that you don't always have to give the newest and greatest. Sometimes those obsolete gadgets you've shoved in a drawer only to collect cobwebs are still considered the newest and greatest by luddite family members. Here's a story of giving away the old to the old (sorry dad!)

Over the years I've collected my fair share of iPods -- these are the perks of befriending high profile gadget reviewers. One day last summer, while my dad was visiting me in New York he asked, "What's the deal with this iPod? Do I need one?". Images of life's necessities flew past my eyes -- shelter, food, water. iPod just wasn't on the list but I still replied with, "Yes, and I have one for you."...

My dad was shocked that I just so happened to have a coveted iPod tucked away just for him. In reality, said iPod was four years old and far from coveted, but to him it was the bee's knees, the cat's pajamas, and other silly sayings. When he took hold of it, it was like watching that scene in The Gods Must Be Crazy when a Coke bottle is thrown from an airplane into the Kalahari Desert and discovered by the Sho tribe.

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That afternoon we loaded it with music from my iTunes and I showed him how to upload and delete music, knowing very well that he was never going to do such a thing.

Once he got back to San Francisco every time I talked to my dad he would gush about his iPod and I would smile. I couldn't believe that little old me and my old iPod could make my dad so happy. It would make my heart skip knowing that he was jamming out and having fun with my help.

It wasn't just that he had thousands of songs to listen to that excited him, it was what was stored in it. He was rediscovering music, like Jimi Hendrix and Led Zepplin, that he hadn't listened to since those albums had originally come out. It was nostalgia in a box. That is, until my mom discovered the wonders of the iPod.

Like with the Sho tribe and their Coke bottle, there was only one iPod and two parents. My dad, being the nice guy that he is, saw how much my mom liked the iPod and silently let her monopolize it. While she worked in her studio listening to Devendra Banhart full blast, my dad was slaving away in the basement listening to his Walgreens boombox and scratched CDs. It was a tragedy.

Luckily for pops, when I decided to buy a new iPod with my Capital One rewards back in October, my dad was to become the proud owner of an iPod Photo. Last week, while in SF, I presented my dad with his new toy, loaded with even more music than the previous. My mom is already circling like a vulture.

Photos: top, Joanna Zjawinska; bottom, Reel Film

Do you have a story about the gadget that keeps on giving? Share it with us in the comments below.

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