Chapter 8

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Often, when we are out in public places, shopping or whatever, we are treated to the scent of "background music". Some people sneeringly refer to it as "Muzak", although one of the times I asked management where the cool music came from, it actually was from the Muzak Corporation.

I usually don't mind, as long as it's not too loud. Here in Townsville there are a few establishments with pretty good taste. The buffet restaurant plays Fifties rock, but it's all obscure stuff that is always a pleasure to hear. I actually heard one of the best relatively obscure old songs ever (Jimmy McCracklin's The Walk) on the speakers at Sears, for Christ's sake. It had me nailed to the spot, eyes closed, intently listening. Fortunately, the song ended before Security arrived.

But really: Your town probably has at least 20 radio stations. You, and everyone else, probably likes exactly one of them, maybe two. That means, on average, that there is a ten or twenty-to-one likelihood that the music you're being hosed with is something that you would not prefer to hear.

The likelihood of happiness, of course, is much higher if you like the most popular station. Conformity is always the most rewarding way to live, whether you do so intentionally or not.