Approximately 18 months ago, I finally joined the 21st century of music fans and purchase myself an iPod.
The outcome of this has been good. The product itself is great. I've also discovered that I don't need to hold the actual CD in my hands and view the artwork and liner notes as much as I once thought. (At least not most of the time.)
The side effects of this have also pleased my wife, as my physical CD collection is not growing at nearly the rate it once did. However, I still own an extensive collection as well as several hundred records. (Much to her chagrin.)
I've also gotten really into podcasts. Many thanks go to Bill Simmons, John Oliver, Andy Zaltzman, Kevin Smith, Scott Mosier and Brian Ibbott for producing some of my favorites.
Here's the problem though: I'm now constantly attached to a pair of headphones. This has two really bad side effects.
The first is that the stinkin' cord loves to get caught on absolutely everything. I cannot tell you how many times I've been washing the dishes, for example, when I feel a tug on my ears followed by the music suddenly stopping. I look down and the thing has caught on a cabinet knob and pulled out of the iPod.
The second, and more troubling, problem, I suppose, is caused by the first. I can't keep a good pair of headphones for more than I few months. I would estimate that I've been through six pairs since my initial purchase of the unit a year and a half ago.
These things are sitting on the shelf longer than they're in my possession.
And trust me, I've tried it all. Soon after my iPod purchase, I decided the earbuds that came with the unit were uncomfortable, so I bought a nice pair of mid-level priced over-the-ear pair.
Four months later, they were dead.
It continued like this, with my purchases growing more expensive until earlier this year. When the $25 pair also crapped out, I decided that was it, I was going to buy $7 pairs and that was that.
But this morning, I began hearing that old familiar static in my left ear. I don't even want to go out an replace those. No matter what plan I go with, these awful headphones keep getting the best of me.
I understand that my headphones see some heavy use and that I'm hurting them every time they catch on something and get yanked out of the jack, but I don't know what else to do.
What to do now? Our sports editor has tried to sell me on the merits of one particular brand of premium headphones, but why drop 30 bucks or more to end up in the same situation come September? It just isn't worth it.
I'm beginning to think headphone manufacturers are a lot like American car makers.
Why should we manufacture a quality product? Do it halfway and they'll be back for more much sooner.
But let me tell you this, the day the headphone manufacturers get a federal bailout is the day I stop paying taxes.