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My iPod, a slick 60 gig red and black number, recently had its fifth birthday. I took the opportunity to brag to all of my friends about how long my iPod has lasted, and how it will never ever break. Naturally, the God I don't believe in took this (and maybe the me not believing in him stuff) as a challenge, and sent a gust of angelic wind to rip "Broken Arrow" from my hands just as I was about to lock in Air's "Talky Walky," my favorite going downstairs music. Tragically, I was going downstairs at the time. A series of heartbreaking sounds followed: First, the sounds of my little man bouncing blithely down each stone step of our apartment building and into the street. Seconds later, as I cradled his injured frame in my arms, came the horrific clicking sound of his hard driveís death rattle, like a thousand hearts shattering in unison. And finally, nothing but silence. A grim, dire silence couched in the whistle of a summer breeze blowing as if to remind me that there actually is a world outside my headphones. Iím telling you, it was terrible. So Iíve been iPod-less for a few weeks now, and singing loudly wherever I go is starting to get tiresome, especially since I only know like half the words to most songs and just kind of improv. But the sad fact is, I canít afford a new 60 gig. At least, not without cashing in some of my stocks, and Iím kind of waiting for my WaMu shares to rally a bit first. In the meantime, I spend a lot of my day scrolling up and down Apple's website, debating with myself about whether to buy one of them fancy new iPod Shuffles to tide me over. The debate goes something like this: ME: Alright brain: the new iPod Shuffle. Letís think the shit out of it. ALSO ME: Whatís to think about? Click buy right now and you could be grooving to Marley and the Wailers in your underwear this time tomorrow. M: Look, I know, I know! It sounds appealing, but letís think this through. We donít want a repeat of the Abdo-er debacle. AM: But itís new, and itís from Apple! Itíll raise your social status modifier like three points. M: First of all, never use the word ďmodifierĒ in that context again. Secondly, the thingís got some serious flaws. For starters it only holds 1,000 songs. Thatís basically just the Elvis Costello folder. You really want to jog along to ďShipbuildingĒ? Itís fucking depressing. AM: Just put ďSolsbury HillĒ on there on repeat and youíre good to go. You know this. Weíve been through this. M: It doesnít even have any buttons! AM: Get with the times, gramps. The world of tomorrow is all about smooth, featureless steel without personality or character. Didnít you see Minority Report? M: Thereís no screen, no interface, nothing. How do you even pick your songs? AM: Easy. You just press the button on your headphone cord once to pause, once to play, twice to skip ahead, three times to scan aheadó M: I thought it was twice and hold. AM: No, I think thatís to scan backwards. Or access your playlists. Oh no wait, to access playlists you beat it against your face. M: What if you want to reshuffle? AM: You press up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Start. M: Ha! Lulz. Iím so funny. But seriously, that sounds like a fucking nightmare. AM: But itís smaller and thereís less to press! Therefore it must be easier to use. Apple wouldnít make a product that was counter-intuitive. M: But if the buttons are on the headphone cable, that means I have to use those shitty Apple earbuds, right? The ones that hurt my ears after 10 minutes and sound like crap strained through a speaker? AM: Well, maybe thatís what you deserve for having such misshapen ears, you hideous freak. M: Iím still not convinced. AM: But it talks to you! It says the names of the songs, right in your ear. How cool is that? M: As cool as it was 14 years ago when my Apple II did it. AM: But now youíll always know what song is playing! No more tedious waiting for the chorus or a recognizable riff! No more confusion! No more fear! And just look at it. Look at it in that guyís hand. Itís so tiny! If you hold that thing next to your dick itíd look like a goddamned anaconda. M: I donít care how tinyó AM: Did you see Anaconda?! M: Why do you keep asking me what movies Iíve seen?! It makes no sense! You know what movies Iíve seen! AM: Buy this electronic wonder box and hang it off your dick. M: No! Although... AM: Right? Listen, buy it or Iíll make you keep thinking about it every 10 minutes for the rest of your life. Iíll have you on this website, scrolling up and down, reading customer reviews for hours on end. You will literally waste a third of each day analyzing the tiny minutiae of how your life would be impacted by the purchase of this singing tie clip. M: FINE! IíM BUYING IT! JUST LEAVE ME ALONE! At that point I usually scream incoherently or else someone walks by and asks why Iíve been silently staring into space for 20 minutes. But it was all worth it, because Iím happy to report that Iím now the proud owner of three iPod Shuffles! My ears may hurt, and I may not be able to navigate through the file directory with anything that could be called accuracy, but Iíll be damned if my penis isnít larger than ever (perceptually speaking). In fact, if you ask me, Appleís ad campaigns are really making a mistake neglecting that valuable feature.
When not transcribing thought, Michael serves as head writer for and co-founder of Those Aren't Muskets!
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