Living: A Great Way to Snub the World

Miniature stereo tape players tune up a silent revolution

Inside my brain a dull tom-tom begins

Absurdly hammering a prelude of its own.

—T.S. Eliot

The symptoms: eyes focused in the middle distance, a smile as wide as a convert's and a telltale glint of metal covering the ears. The body may undulate with faint intimations of a boogie. Sometimes the hands fly upward in imaginary conducting motions. No doubt about it, it is an epidemic, brought on by America's mania not only for music, but for the gadgetry on which to play it. On streets,...

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