Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Saturday, December 09, 2006


Shock Radio

I'm not cheap. I don't think that's my issue. What I am is determined to get everything I can from what I pay for.

I keep the toothpaste until I have squeezed every single bit of it from the tube; pressing, squeezing, stopping just short of running a steamroller over it to make sure it's empty. I give the peanut butter jar a last going-over with the spatula before tossing it. I save the dish soap bottle after it "appears" to be empty so I can get one more sinkful of dishes by giving it a good rinse-out. I have a good dozen T-shirts in my dresser with holes, bleach stains and frayed collars because I figure I can still use them for running or sleeping in.

Again: not cheap. Just getting my money's worth.

I bring this up to help explain what's going on with my current earphone situation. I've got an iPod Nano. Love it. It's handy, it's nice. The original earphones were shredded some time ago when my younger dog jumped up in a fit of excitement over a really successful dump or something and flailed about with his paws, catching the wires with his nails and yanking them from my ears.

Since then, I've been using a pair of earphones I got for free the last time my wife and I flew. These are not your high-end earphones. I'm not enough of a music snob that I'm bothered by their sound quality, so it's worked out okay. Until this week.

A few days ago, I was on my way to work, bopping down the street to the beat of Human League's "Don't You Want Me?". (It may have been some other piece of cheesy pop crap, but let's go ahead and say it was Human League, just for the sake of the narrative.) It was a fairly windy day, bits of stuff being tossed through the air. All of a sudden, I get a sharp pain in my left ear. It felt like I'd been the victim of an urban blow-darting or something along those lines. I pulled my earphone out and looked around for a suspect as I rubbed my ear. I didn't see any pygmies running away from the scene, so I assumed that the aforementioned wind had blown some bit of detritus at my auditory canal and I went about my business.

The next day, I was in my kitchen listening to some Christmas music when it happened again. There was a sort of popping sensation, then I got a sharp pain in my ear. Which is when I figured out that my cheap-ass, airline-issued earphones have finally neared the end of their lifespan and have decided that, instead of slowly deteriorating into monophonic uselessness, they're going to fight against the dying of the light with all the violence they can muster, by shorting out on a semi-regular basis and sharing the pain of their demise with whoever's wearing them at the time.

So I suppose the normal thing to do once one has realized that one's audio equipment is inflicting pain on one would be to get rid of it. Well, see, I don't want to be quite so hasty. After all, the shock is only coming once a day--or every other day, even--so what's the big deal? To clarify: I'm not planning on hanging on to these things long-term or anything. I'm just not making a hurried effort to replace them. I'll use them until I happen to find myself passing by a store wherein I can procure a new set. And I'll just suffer the occasional electric shock until such time.

'Cause I'll be damned if I'm not going to get everything I can out of these cheap, crappy headphones that I got for free.

no, not cheap at all...
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