bad radios


old_radioSometimes when a radio wasn’t working right, you could kind of rap it on something and get a signal to come in for a while.

You could rap it, and you might get a snippet of news or some music or someone talking for a little bit.

And then, usually, it was gone again.

Your reception was intermittent and accidental…never enough to get the whole story…just enough to remind you that there was still something “out there”.

That was how it worked with some of the “bad radios” I’ve owned.

Sometimes, I feel like just another one of those radios.

God must be out there “transmitting”…but somewhere along the way, my receiver got messed up.  I don’t pick up everything I should.

Now, if I was alone in that feeling, I’d feel really bad.

It might be like the villagers seeing the Frankenstein monster up on the darkened hill…

“There he is!!! GET HIM!!!”

That would not be good to be the only one.

I’d hate to go through life being the only broken radio in the world.

Sometimes we question why God seems to have left us…the old “footsteps in the sand” poem brings that to mind…but maybe it’s just a question of the receiver being a little out of whack?

I don’t know, really.  What do I know?  I’m a freaking mailman.  Good grief.

Now we have digital radio.

With digital radio, a signal either comes through or it doesn’t come through.

If it comes through, it’s usually crystal clear.  If it doesn’t make it to the receiver, there’s nothing.

No static, no cross fade, no garbled half-listenable broadcast.

No late night, radio under the pillow listening for stations from Chicago…it doesn’t work like that now.

( I don’t do as much “under the pillow listening” since I got older…I don’t think that digital works like that anymore.  You used to be able to pick up faraway stations because of a condition called “skip”…lots of signals floating around up in the atmosphere…when the conditions were right, they’d bounce down in places hundreds of miles from their origin.)

It’s different from analog.

Analog is poetry and surfing, waves of maybe…you might get it, it might not always be crystal clear…but you had a chance. It’s randomness and fallible…just a bunch of moveable waves.

Digital is a robot…designed to work until it doesn’t. It’s the latest and greatest…but it’s not really “human scaled”. It’s 0’s and 1’s…put together in the right order….a picture through a screen door…chopped up and “less” somehow.

I’m analog. My reception fades and then comes back.  I’m listening under my pillow, I’m listening with my cheek to the breeze, face turned toward the clouds. I listen.

I am one of many bad radios out in the world…dials turning, hoping for a signal to bleed through one of these late nights.

It’s faith that keeps the dials turning…knowing that the transmission never stops keeps the faith alive.

Maybe I just need to be rapped on a table…maybe I just need some kind of “bad radio” tuneup?

About Peter Rorvig

I'm a non-practicing artist, a mailman, a husband, a father...not listed in order of importance. I believe that things can always get better....and that things are usually better than we think.


bad radios — 1 Comment

  1. We’ve been trying to “tuneup our radios” recently. Currently, we’re reading more C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton, and Thomas Aquinas. They had strong antennas.