To my Best Friend: Happy Birthday!

First published in October 24, 2006, here’s a tribute to my best friend…

I don’t do this. Usually, I don’t yield space to send birthday greetings to friends. But this one’s special. This person is different. Someone I’ve known for many Septembers, opened my ears and listened to talk, someone whom I’ve heard sing—and what a voice, ranging from as high as Mariah Carey’s glass-breaking pitch to as deep as Aretha Franklin’s—and someone, with my wife’s consent, I’ve had the pleasure to spend almost an hour with each day.

Happy birthday, iPod! Yes, without the world noticing, it was five years ago yesterday—October 23, 2001—when Steve Jobs carried his baby on the palm of his hands and announced: “With iPod, listening to music will never be the same again.” Steve Jobs, what a proud dad you are today. While the walkman was “cool,” the CD “revolutionary,” and the turntable “all-vinyl,” the iPod is defined by more than one word: “It’s one of the most successful consumer electronics products—ever.”

Over 67.6 million people own an iPod. In the United States, they account for 75 percent—or three out of every four—of all MP3 players sold. Amazing? i-Mazing!

In a Newsweek interview last week, Steve Jobs was asked by author Steven Levy, “IPods now have video, games, audio books and podcasts. Will iPods always be about the music?” Jobs replied: “Who knows? But it’s hard to imagine that music is not the epicenter of the iPod for a long, long, long, long, long time. I was very lucky to grow up in a time when music really mattered. It wasn’t just something in the background; it really mattered to a generation of kids growing up. It really changed the world. I think that music faded in importance for a while, and the iPod has helped to bring music back into people’s lives in a really meaningful way.

“Music is so deep within all of us, but it’s easy to go for a day or a week or a month or a year without really listening to music. And the iPod has changed that for tens of millions of people, and that makes me really happy, because I think music is good for the soul.”

Good for the soul. Steve’s right. Let me add another “good.” Good for the body. Each day, I sweat. On a treadmill, I jog, sprint, huff and puff. I jump on a stationary bike and pedal as sweat drips and bounces off the cement. I lift dumbbells, curl and do sit-ups. Each time I exercise, two earplugs are planted at the sides of my head and a white cord is dangling around my neck. (Now, if I can only use that iPod for tennis!)

Here’s another confession: I take drugs. Each time I take it, my pulse rate bangs and bangs, my blood pressure flies, my legs turn bionic, and, while I used to carry 15-lb. dumbbells, now it’s double the tonnage.

What drug? The pharmaceutical company is named Apple. The drug? i-Mazing. No kidding. Whenever I use the iPod, my intensity and focus and strength and speed jumps—in my estimate—by 30 percent.

An iPod Shuffle, the one I use, costs P4,600. It’s expected to last years. Now here’s a question: Would you rather buy this drug now and get fit and add years to your life—or you’d rather buy those real drugs later when you’re sickly?

Take the iPod drug. Now! Not when that arthritis is piercing your ankle and the only exercise regimen left is turning the wheels of your wheelchair.

PLAYLIST. What music do I listen to? Ha-ha! I’m stuck to the 1980s. To me, no music era comes close to the ‘80s… a-ha. That’s one of my favorite bands. I have three “a-ha” songs: “You Are The One,” “Cry Wolf,” and “The Sun Always Shines On TV.” Depeche Mode? Sure. “People Are People” and “Strange Love.” There’s “Tenderness” by General Public, “Electricity” and “So In Love” by OMD, and “I’ve Got The Power” by Snap! There’s “Hypnotize Me” by Wang Chung and “West End Girls” and “What Have I Done To Deserve This” by West End Girls. “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice? Sure.

I like “Jump” by Van Halen and “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” and “Advice For The Young At Heart” by Tears for Fears. Same with “Always Something There To Remind Me” by Naked Eyes. “Heart And Soul” by Huey Lewis and the News is one of my favorites. Same with “I’m Only Human” by Human League and, recalling the break-dance days, “Rock It” by Herbie Hancock. I even have a very old track: the “Stars on 45” medley by The Beatles.

My favorite song for pounding the pump inside the chest? “Axel F,” from the movie, Beverly Hills Cop. It has no words (and I don’t even know the artist) but this three-minute tune is one high-powered drug. To cool down, I listen to “Don’t Want To Live Without You” by Foreigner, “Shattered Dreams” by Johnny Hates Jazz, “Come Undone” by Duran Duran, “Woman In Chains” by Tears for Fears, and “Hold On My Heart” by Genesis.

That’s my ‘80s play list. How about my daughter Jana, all of seven years old? She has her own. She jumps, dances, and sings along—just like daddy. Her Year 2006 soundtrack? High School Musical.

John Pages

By John Pages

I've been a sports columnist since 1994. First, in The Freeman newspaper under "Tennis Is My Game." Then, starting in 2003, with Sun.Star Cebu under the name "Match Point." Happy reading!


  1. Travin, hi! Yes, this is an old article I wrote years back. Just wanted to post it again for those who haven’t read it yet. Thanks!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *