Stories No. 12 – Paul Beckman

My Musical Condition
by Paul Beckman

I’m one of the unique ones, I’m told. I hear music without an iPod or the like–in stereo no less. I can call up a song that I’ve heard and it’s every bit as good as listening to one of the devices that people plug into their ears.

There’s one slight problem. Something’s always playing in the background and I mean always. I can be having a phone conversation or watching TV and Ravel’s Bolero or something will come up on shuffle. That’s right—I have the shuffle thing going on when I don’t call up a song.

I am my own Spotify or Pandora. I walk around bopping my head to music, and God forbid, the theme from Rocky comes on like it once did in a meeting with the big boss. It wasn’t a pretty sight. Me, getting up from the conference table, running laps around the room, and humming along. The boss did like my energy though.

This came on me about a year ago. I had a high fever and was hospitalized for observation. They never found out what was wrong and all I could do was listen to music—no TV.

One day a friend took my headset off to hear while I was nodding my head and singing the Ya-de-da-de-da parts to “Fiddler.” He heard nothing. The batteries were dead. Klezmer—don’t ask, same with “House of the Rising Sun.”

I’ve come to accept my condition, but to not appear certifiable, I wear earbuds and tuck the wire into my shirt. Hold on, “The Weight” by The Band just came on. It doesn’t shuffle around that often and I want to blast it. Be with you in 4:27.


Paul Beckman used to be a Realtor, Air Traffic Controller, Saloon Keeper, Pin Setter, Numbers Runner & many other things. These days he’s a Zeyde who writes, travels and takes pictures both above and beneath the water. Some publishing credits: Metazen, Connotation Press, Existere, Molotov Cocktail, Pure Slush, The Brooklyner, 5 Trope, Litro, Soundzine, Opium, Playboy, The Connecticut Review, Ascent Aspirations and other fine publications on line, in print & via audio. He can be reached at & visited at his published story website

September 24, 2014
Photo by: Gessy Alvarez

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