Friday, February 11, 2011

Beat it, Just Beat it (part 2)

If you haven’t read part one from last week, you may want to do that before you continue reading.

Last week, I talked about how amazing Dr. Dre’s Beats are. I also said that they weren’t amazing enough for me to give up an arm, a leg, and my future first-born male offspring for them. However, other people may not feel the same way; I have seen them resting on many heads while they pleasure lucky pairs of ear-holes. Along with the Beats, I noticed others wearing over-sized headphones of a similar style. I know that headphones and earphones have been under scrutiny for a long time, but there is just something about big, blatant headphones that have really caught my attention.

Not only do these headphones hypnotize the users with their sound-blocking designs, they tell the world, “Don’t attempt to be social with me. I’m chilling with Justin Bieber and he’s telling me about how his first love broke his heart for the first time.”

Now, I’m not ignorant: I know how contagious the Bieber-fever is. I am just saying that there might be something more important going on around you that doesn’t consist of your favorite song on repeat. I am aware that I sound like a square1 in making this argument, but I believe that there is a problem if one cannot go a day without a pair of headphones on. This isn’t limited to enormous headphones; this goes for all other designs as well.

I am not making this claim because I hate music. On the contrary, I enjoy listening to a wide variety of genres. I used to be one that would have loved the idea of surgically implanting speakers into my ears. Everything changed one fateful day when I forgot to charge my mp3 player. From there, I can skip to the part where I heard the birds twittering2, the squirrels chirping3, and the breeze whispering sweet nothings into my ears. This is not to say that I don’t listen to music anymore. Instead, I am more selective as to when I’ll be wired up (i.e. exercising, studying, etc).

Have many of us become so attached to our music playing devices that we feel like we can’t get through the day without them? Is that not a sign of addiction? Not only do headphones carry an antisocial stigma, they also do what we have ignored or denied for years: they actually damage our hearing. I also want to point out that jamming your headphones when you’re driving, walking across the street, or wandering out alone at night is a bad idea. I don’t even need to tell you why.

If there’s anything that I want to take from this post, it’s that you should take off your headphones for a day if they had been glued to your head. Try to say “good morning” or “hello” to a stranger at the bus stop. They may look at you funny and think that you’ve mistaken them for someone else. Or you might actually meet someone interesting and have a nice conversation during an otherwise boring ride. Either way, you may learn something about yourself that you would not have known in your own private universe.

1 Call me a fool, but I think it’s cool to rhyme unintentionally.
2 They do it without a form of social media. My mind is blown as well.
3 I had no idea that squirrels could chirp until I first heard it during my freshman year at BSU.