Thursday, August 11, 2005

The iPod police have arrived

I've noticed cities all around the country are cracking down on cell phones use. For example, it's now illegal to talk on your phone while driving unless you have a hands free device like one of those pointy ear pieces that makes the user look like Yoda in the 21st century.

Personally, I think it's a good idea. Now if lawmakers would only start cracking down on iPod use.

I can't remember an invention that caused this big a commotion since Pac-Man. Now THAT was hysteria. I remember saving up quarters and running to the local arcade where I joined an ever growing line of kids who eagerly pumped them into the machine, hoping to beat the big yellow mouth, or whatever it was. Eventually I figured out the maze pattern (something that didn't exist when Ms. Pac-Man was invented. ) Yet it was still fun to know that I had outsmarted the game makers. Yes, Pac-Man was great. But eventually it had to end. I had to go home, I ran out of quarters or both.

Nowadays you don't ever have to LEAVE anything; you just take it with you. Our cell phones have become permanent appendages. Ditto for our organizers. Heck, I can even play Pac-Man on my handheld.

And now, thanks to the iPod, we don't have go home to flip on the stereo. We just take our entire music collection with us.

My wife recently bought me an iPod. It's a 20 GB model, meaning it can hold (DRUMROLL PLEASE) 10,000 songs. "That's good," I told my wife. "The next time I take a trip to, I dunno, the sun, God forbid I should hear the same song twice."

I quickly learned the iPod comes in handy when you don't want to communicate with anybody. When I'm seated on the plane next to the chatty insurance salesman, I put the little white buds in my ears and immediately send a message that NOTHING he can say will interest me. When the Hare Krishnas are heading toward me on a busy Chicago street, I stick in the buds and they walk right by. What a concept.

But there's a time and place for everthing. Hence, the idea of the iPod police. I was recently in Washington DC and decided to take a tour of the Holocaust Museum. Not a real cheerful way to spend the day but something I wanted to experience, nonetheless. As I roamed the exhibits I noticed a man in his early 20s taking in the sights as well. But he was doing it while wearing an iPod. At times, I even saw him bobbing his head to the music.

"iPod police, " I wanted to yell. "Confiscate this man's iPod at once." Seriously, does the Holocaust museum require a soundtrack? I think not.

So, if any lawmakers are reading this, here are a few suggestions:

No iPods allowed when you could be learning something. That means they're off limits in schools, museums and libraries. I was shocked to see Duke University provides every incoming freshman with an iPod. Might as well give them bongs while you're at it.

No iPods while driving. That's what radios are for. Remember them?

No iPods in restaurants. Of course, Starbucks is an exception because most people who listen to music at Starbucks are usually hanging out there for upwards of eight hours because they have no place else to go.

And finally, no iPods in Blockbuster. I saw that the other day. Make up your mind. Music or movie? Not both.

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