I Tried to Explain CDs to My Three-Year-Old Daughter

Rubbish, we tell you.
I was strapping my daughter into her carseat when she said, "Daddy, I want my favorite book."

She was pointing at the floorboards in the back, where a stratified layer of various toys, books and random objects she has demanded to entertain her during car rides and abandoned after 15 minutes continues to grow. The specific item she wanted this time was Iggy Pop's album Preliminaries, which for some reason continuously follows me into the car no matter how many times I've taken it inside.

I handed the cardboard sleeve to her. Sometimes she treats DVDs as books because they open, so I figured this was an extension of that. I got in the front seat and started to drive.

"Oh," she said. "It's a movie, Daddy!"

"No, sweetie," I replied. "It's a CD."


"It plays music," I said, realizing that she had never seen a CD before in her life. "You put it in a special machine and listen to it. It's how we used to listen to songs back in the old days."

Old days... Jesus God in Heaven, I have old days now. I took the CD from her and put it in the player. Iggy's languid pseudo-French cabaret attempt started to play.

"We could just use your phone," she said to me like I wasn't quite getting it.

"Believe it or not, love, phones used to just be able to call people. We couldn't listen to songs on them, or watch videos, or take pictures, or do Facetime. We used to not even be able to take them out of the house because they had to be attached to the wall."

"Really," she said. "Wow. So, we could watch Pinkie Pie on the DC?"

"No, sweetie," I said. "This CD doesn't have Pinkie Pie on it."

"What about Michael Jackson singing with his brothers?" That what she calls The Jackson 5 performing "ABC" on The Ed Sullivan Show, one of her favorite videos.

"That's not on here either," I told her. "This CD only has these songs by Iggy Pop on them. It can't download anything. It can't get on YouTube. The people who make CDs just make them for specific artists and specific songs."

"Does your phone have these songs on it?"

"No," I said.

"Why not?"

"Because I haven't bothered to put the CD in my computer and transfer it to my iTunes so that I will have it on my phone."

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I'm not transferring any of my CD's, vinyl or downloaded content to my ITunes. I don't even have a CD player set up anywhere anymore. My vinyl collection gets some use though. 

I like it. I have had to repurchase certain albums, sure, but I'm OK with that. I've been able to filter out disappointing albums and artists. My Itunes library is now a treasure chest of nothing but quality albums.

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