Ted's Thirty Day Awakening
Alexa selected a radio station from , 97.1 FM for the morning’s alarm, and filled the room with reggae music. After a few minutes, when he was a little more awake, he found himself wondering if this was the station he had listened to the night hurricane Irma decimated the islands. He recalled the DJ doing his best to be a calm voice in the middle of the storm and people calling in from around the world with hope and prayers for the islands.
The ability to listen to a live radio broadcast from a tiny island in the Caribbean still amazes Ted. In his youth, he had listened to shortwave radio and was pretty good at fine-tuning the dial to locate stations. He even kept a log, jotting down the time and frequency for each station he discovered.
Ted never imagined that less than twenty-five years into the future, over a billion people would have the tools to tune in stations from around the globe. Technology is so amazing.
Now that he is wide awake, and in the mood for the spoken word, Ted said, “Alexa, play Freakonomics radio.”
“Getting Freakonomics radio from iHeart radio,” Alexa responded.
And once again, the universe reminded Ted how amazing life can be when you are awake. “. . . we are bringing to you today an episode about gratitude, called Why Is My Life So Hard? We first released it last March and it quickly became one of our most popular podcasts.” said Stephen Dubner, one of the creators of Freakonomics.
Ted leaned in (as if being closer would somehow make the words more powerful) and began echoing the conversation. Ted could not recall how old he was when he first discovered that by echoing what is being said, in his mind, he was better able to digest and understand the conversation. (He also recalled how upset people became if instead of echoing in his mind, he spoke the words out loud.) Through years of practice, Ted had developed the ability to repeat each word the instance it left the speakers lips—even if the speaker tried to mess him up by speaking gibberish. One of Ted’s many skills that were best practiced alone.
When the podcast ended, Ted had Alexa play it again. If something is good, it’s worth doing more than once—at least that’s how Ted lived his life. Plus, this time Ted wanted to write down pieces of the conversation that resonated with him and record his thoughts on them.
Freakonomics: why you think your parents were tougher on you than your siblings.
Ted: they were less strict on me, not tougher. I was the one my siblings saw as getting the easier childhood.
Freakonomics: why rooting for your sports team can be so painful.
Ted: I still recall how horrible it used to make me feel when my team would lose. The wrong, final score could ruin my entire day. That all changed when I went from rooting for teams to rooting for amazing plays—from either team. I no longer have an attachment to the final score.
I do like it when the home team wins because that means tens of thousands of people will leave the stadium and hit the roads in a much better mood. (I really should make the time to research if there are any studies on accidents after sporting events correlated to if the home team won or lost.)
There was still more to take in and reflect on when Alexa reminded that Ted he had a meeting to go to. “Alexa, pause.”
As Ted closed the door to his condo and headed for his car, he was still contemplating what he had just listened to on the podcast. The title of the episode had really hit home, Why Is My Life So Hard?
Next thing Ted knew, he was pulling into the parking lot in front of his lawyer’s office, with no recollection of the drive there. “I wish they would hurry up and get us driverless cars already,” he thought. “My mind wanders too much for me to be behind the wheel.”