A couple of weeks ago when I walked out of the South Engineering building on campus I was surprised to hear MC Hammer’s iconic song U Can’t Touch This electrifying the air. It immediately made me smile. I looked around to see where it was coming from. I assumed it had to be coming from a car traveling down Albrecht Boulevard with its stereo blaring and the windows down, but when I looked around there was no car in the vicinity.
What I saw instead was a young man with a case that had a speaker built into it walking along as if nothing was out of the ordinary. It was a curious sight. A sort of do-it-yourself boombox for the new age. Even more curious was that no one else seemed to take notice of this fellow with the case who was serving up Hammer time for everyone around him. I wondered if I was hallucinating or having a stroke. I could not figure out why everyone else kept walking without bustin’ a move. I surmised they must have all had their earphones in or they were in a coma because who doesn’t feel the groove of MC Hammer?
I was already mildly groovin’ when my path intersected the young man’s path and I was so tempted to throw down some serious moves. I wanted him to know that I appreciated the energy he introduced to the airwaves between South Engineering and Minard Hall. I refrained from showing all the youngsters in the vicinity how MC Hammer is properly appreciated. I didn’t want to scar any psyches. I merely smiled broadly at the young man as he passed to acknowledge my appreciation.
I wondered for a few days after that what the young man with the case playing music was doing. I wondered if he was a psychology student doing some kind of research or a student organization on a mission of some sort. Perhaps he wanted to see how many people would react to the music.
A week or so passed and I had all but forgotten about the fellow with the case. I was riding down in the elevator in Minard Hall when a young man with a similar case came in. The case wasn’t playing any music, but I immediately recognized it as the fabulous box that had blasted MC Hammer for my listening pleasure. Of course I accosted the young man in his moments in the elevator. I told him how fabulous I thought it was that he was walking around playing great music for everyone to hear. He acted like it was nothing out of the ordinary – a normal occurrence. He got of the elevator before I could ask if he had been doing a psychology experiment.
Today, after walking out of South Engineering I heard LMFAO’s Party Rock. Again, I looked around for the vehicle with the windows down but saw none. Instead, I saw a different young man with a similar case to the other young man making his way down Albrecht. Again, I couldn’t help but smile. I thought then that this fellow must be part of a concerted effort of some department or group on campus. I made a mental note to ask around about it. Unfortunately, that notepad is a few pages short, and no sooner than I arrived at my office I had already misplaced that mental note.
Fortuitously, on my way down the hall to hang up a poster on our department’s information board I saw the young man with the box and stopped the poor fellow in his tracks. I pummeled him with questions and discovered that this music box gig wasn’t a psychology research project or the work of a campus group. Oh no, this was all the brainchild of this one young man who makes these cases and has sold them to folks who then walk around sharing the good music vibes with others. You know I had to drag him down to my department and grab a photo of him and his boombox to share on my blog.
Meet John Olhoft – NDSU student (a freshman), musician, business owner, and innovator. John is a really nice and incredibly industrious guy. He has his own DJ business (Virtuoso DJ), is in the NDSU band, and makes these boomboxes for folks. Oh, the energy of youth!
I am not the only one that has noticed and enjoyed John’s efforts. A student reporter from MSUM recently did a nice piece on him (see it here). Apparently others are also smiling at the beats John and his friends share with these boomboxes. John may be relatively new to our campus, but he is already making his mark. I officially dub him – The Beat Ambassador.
To John I say – you are one cool cat! Have your grandparents translate that phrase for you. I look forward to seeing you around campus the next few years as you continue your studies. Thanks for bringing your own special brand of magic to the campus. I will be listening for you!
Day one thousand three hundred and forty-six of the new forty – obla di obla da