An Ode To The AUX Cord

happiness through infinite music possibilities

eric hulting
Feb 18, 2015 · 4 min read
a Certified Real™ picture of the last time the author was given possession of the AUX cord. no one was injured in the flames

Every year, the good people at TIME Magazine publish a list of inventions that are supposedly “CHANGING THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT”. In 2014, this included: a profoundly flawed hoverboard with a price tag higher than a all-inclusive 10-person Mexico trip; a space rover with the same research capabilities as a 9-year-old with a chemical testing kit; and the Apple Watch, a “groundbreaking innovation” that amounts to a less capable iPhone with a fun-sized screen.

My point here isn't to rip on Apple or Hendo Hoverboards, and especially not my guys making moves at the Indian Space Research Organization. My point is to point out that these aren't the things ‘changing peoples’ lives’. You know what is?





also known as:

the “AUX cord”

While a very brief research sesh on Google determined that there is no documented history of the AUX cord (wow), I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s not necessarily a ‘new’ invention. But with the increasing pervasiveness of auxiliary audio ports in vehicles and home entertainment systems, I believe it’s nearing the peak of its 15 minutes of fame. (on an semi-related note: how is there no mixtape called “15 Minutes of Flame” yet?? highkey very disappointing.)

I like to think of my high school friends and I as early adopters of the AUX cord. When 10th grade hit and we all got our license, you either were lucky enough to have an AUX port built in OR you had to cop one of those faux tape decks with the attached AUX cord. (which were undeniably genius by the way)

Every drive turned into a musical journey. You plugged in your phone, and in an instant, your phone and car were intertwined in a passionate exchange of musical megabytes. Those songs that spent days dormant in your iTunes library were now being megaphoned through actual speakers for everyone to enjoy.

With the AUX cord, you weren't restrained by a 15-song limit, as on CDs. And you weren't restrained to the questionable musical tastes of a faraway DJ, as on the radio. You were in control.

Maybe it’s because I’m a music nerd (I definitely am), or maybe it’s because I neglect to care for the health of my ears while driving (truuu as well). But the feeling of plugging my phone into the auxiliary port and instantaneously hearing any song I want come booming out the speaker at VOLUME: 40 is fucking dope. It’s like going from only having three TV channels to having a literal million on YouTube.

The AUX cord has become a weapon of self-expression, much in the same way Twitter is. You want your music taste to be respected? Play some flames on the AUX. You want people to get a sense of who you really are? Bump those songs that you connect with on the deepest of levels. It’s a way to find community through music, to bond with strangers over a shared penchant for Young Thug or Odesza or J. Cole or whatever because anything is possible through Gauxd. (*prayer hands emoji*)

It’s the era of instant gratification, and few things exemplify that more than the AUX cord. Literally any song that exists on your phone or the internet is within your reach once you get in your car. It’s cathartic, spiritual even, to have that level of free will over what you listen to. Last road trip I took, I listened to something like 100 different songs from like 50 different albums. HEY CHIEF KEEF. COULD I HAVE DONE THAT WITH A CD PLAYER?

As the immortal Uncle Ben told Spiderman, “with great power comes great responsibility.” And the intrinsic power of the AUX cord is nothing to underestimate. The man or woman who wields the Almighty Cord is figuratively sculpting the vibes of the room/car. If their song choice sucks, they’re directly responsible for bringing people down. If the song choice is compelling, they’re literally uplifting spirits. The gravity of the position honestly gives me chills just thinking about it.

I know what you’re thinking and/or probably saying out loud.

“yoooo hulting don’t you think it’s sorta ridiculous to say that something as small as the AUX cord has changed people’s lives more than things like the ‘Internet’ or ‘advanced medical technology’ or even ‘smartphones’?”

Aight maybe a little. Sue me. But there’s a certain undeniable ability that this simple little product has in facilitating happiness and fostering community. And I think that’s super ‘cool’. So, please:


(also shoutout to HDMI cables for being the visual AUX cord. don’t worry i didn’t forget about you guys)

    eric hulting

    Written by

    missouri school of journalism ‘17 / / strategic communication major.