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Filed Under Technology

Announcing my Earbud Disability

Posted November 4, 2007

4 comments posted. Read them now.

On my morning run today I finally confronted a critical disability. For years I've been plagued by asthma and allergies, but that's not what I'm talking about. They haven't really compromised my life in any way. Like most healthy people I have searched for that hidden disability, that thing that separates me from others and should one day grant me preferential treatment. And during my run I found it: I am Right Ear iPod Earbud Intolerant. I said it and the admission is a weight off my shoulders.

For those of you unfamiliar with earbuds, they are the small plastic items you see sticking in the ears of 'those kids'. They are miniature speakers attached to a small musical device called an iPod. Your word for them might be head-phones. If you imagine a hearing aid that won't stay in place you can understand where I'm coming from.

I put the Earbuds in at the beginning of my run. A lurking suspicion of right ear earbud intolerance has crossed my mind, since the earbud has a tendency to slip out of my ear if I so much as trot away from the train station at a quickened pace. But with today's run this problem is confirmed. Although the left earbud nestles comfortable in my ear for the duration of the run, the right earbud pops out of the ear, as if by magnetic repulsion.

It is no secret that technology has discrimitated against those with physical deformities in many ways. Because of the so-called 'three fingered salute', the combination of Ctrl + Alt + Del to unlock a Windows machine, the computer cannot be used by an individual with fewer than three fingers. And it is common knowledge that people with an IQ of less than 270 cannot use Linux.

I know this is a disability because I haven't heard it effecting anyone else. People walk the city streets every day with earbuds in both ears, blissfully unaware of their environment, no idea that I am forced to walk with a slight crick in my neck as I keep my head tilted up and to the left, so that I give a slight purchase for my right ear.

Which is why I'm proposing for scientific research into Right Ear Earbud Intolerance. There might be others out there, denied the benefit of music recorded to pan from one side to the other. One of those sad individuals may one day work for the secret service, and their earbud could fall out just before receiving critical information about a sniper's location. Today is a call to arms. This is a matter of national security.



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