An aspiring vegetarian for several years after watching video footage of cows and pigs squealing and moaning before their brutal slaughters, Graham Hoerner and his wife Julia went to Lucille's Smokehouse, a rib joint one half mile from his house, where he proceeded to eat a handsome portion of delectable tri-tip slathered with extra spicy barbecue sauce followed by banana pudding with vanilla wafers. Overcome by remorse after the carnivorous indulgence, he felt the need to “walk off my guilt,” so he and Julia meandered into a nearby electronics store.
Neither of them had anything in mind to purchase. But Graham, now at the age of forty-three, felt inexplicably drawn to the shelf of radios where he looked lustily at a blue Tivoli PAL radio. He was drawn to its heft and simplistic design. It was a cerulean blue rubber cube, about six inches tall, with only three knobs on the front: A giant tuner dial flanked by an AM/FM tuner switch and an on/off volume switch. In the center of the switches was a tiny dot that glowed bright green at the peak reception point. The price of the PAL was $120. Graham held the radio and enjoyed the tactile sensation of the rubber in his hands. He felt like an eight-year-old boy in the store with his father many years ago, holding the bee-bee gun that his dad would soon buy him. He turned on the radio and could tell the sound had a depth that his nondescript radios at home could not produce.
As he stood there cradling the radio like a long-lost puppy, a loud family of four barged into the store. As they entered through the glass doors, a cold gail of wind billowed inside. Upon impact, Graham felt a mysterious force overtake him and he could feel the reptilian centers of his brain pop and flicker. He did not know why at that moment, but he knew he needed to own this radio. He looked at his wife and said, “I’m getting this.” Julia shared Graham’s high esteem for the radio and gave him the green light to buy it. Shortly after, he took the Tivoli home and removed the piece-of-junk Philips clock radio that he had purchased hastily on Amazon.
It occurred to him in that moment that there was nothing about this cheap, mass-produced Philips to elevate his existence, to provide him with inspiration, or to make him feel good about himself. Why had he bought such a horrid piece of electronics? he wondered to himself. Why during his entire life did he purchase his radios in ignorance? What did these misguided purchases say about the condition of his soul?
Then it hit him: His whole life he had lived in Total Darkness. But buying this Tivoli PAL was the beginning of something special. He was burning a path for himself toward the Light and inexplicably this Tivoli radio had something to do with this journey into Enlightenment, Wisdom, and Clarity of Being.
That night as he played his Tivoli with his ear-bud plugged deep into his auditory canal, he stared with delight at the Tivoli’s tiny glowing green tuning light that told him his station was coming in FULL STRENGTH and his soul was flooded with reassurance as he slowly drifted into sleep.
But while his night was full of rare pleasant dreams, Graham would not know, until a few weeks later, that the Tivoli PAL was not the panacea he thought it to be.