We have all heard the line that goes, "The difference between men and boys is the cost of their toys."
People who knew my father might have wondered if a more appropriate one would be, "He who dies with the most toys, wins."
My father loved toys, be they mechanical, electronic, or optical. When he made loudspeakers with acoustic lenses, he managed to combine all of these properties. I can imagine him sitting back in his chair at JBL and thinking to himself, "... and they pay
me to do this!"
People go through stages in acquiring toys. First, your parents buy them for you. Later, when you start working, you can afford to buy them for yourself. At some point your company starts buying toys - I mean instruments - for you to help you with your work. And when you get really good at it, your company makes
toys for you.
My father occupied all positions in the food chain of toys.
When my father broke his back, he failed the triage test - he was too sick to survive an operation to fix it. When the doctor asked what else he could do for him, my father replied, "Send me home."
We knew he didn't want to stay in the hospital - this is where people die, after all. But we feared the transfer would kill him.
It dawned on me that if there was Hell on Earth, this was is it for my father. Having built in his home one of the best sound systems on the planet, here he was stuck in a little room with a small TV and the tinny speaker in the all-purpose bedside control box. So I moved some decent speakers and CD and DAT players into his room and we played music for him in his last days.
I didn't realize until he died why he really wanted to go home. He just wanted to play with his toys.
Bart N. Locanthi, III
January 13, 1994