"I don't know how to tell you this," is never a good way to start a conversation, particularly when it comes from my wife. She's not the type to grimly say, "I don't know how to tell you this," and then scream, "WE JUST WON A MILLION DOLLARS!"
That's my shtick, not hers.
So, when she called me at work Tuesday and said, "I don't know how to tell you this," I knew something had died, been broken, Milli Vanilli reunited, or something like that.
"Do you want me to tell you what I found in the pocket of your pants that were in the washing machine?" she asked.
What?! My mind raced. I hadn't done anything recently that would leave incriminating evidence. Did one of the kids give me something I was supposed to take care of, that now had the consistency of tissue paper? Did I leave a pen in my pocket, thereby creating a tie-dye effect on some clothes but, you know, not in a way that looked groovy?
I couldn't think of anything, so I asked, "What?"
"You know your mp3 player . . . " Kate asked.
"Oh nooooo," I thought.
It was Tuesday. Snow day. I was trying to do some work at home and get some laundry done, including my thick black corduroy trousers that I had put my player in the night before. But, as I put them in the wash, I probably hadn't felt the mp3 in the pocket because, you know, they're big . . . thick . . . corduroy . . . "Oh nooooo!"
"I've tried everything," she said, "It's not doing anything."
I said, "Thanks for telling me," and hung up.
Last year, I finally joined the mp3 generation. When you're married with two late elementary school kids, your money takes other priorities. I don't go out and buy the latest gadget the way I did when I was the first of my friends to own a CD player and a VCR.
But, when I finally got an mp3, I was serious about it, and not just for fun. Recent playlists include "UKSO Harrell Concert" (Music that's being played on the University of Kentucky Symphony concert, Friday, with cellist Lynn Harrell). Pretty much any story on this blog or in the paper about music in the past several months I've reported using my mp3. I was seriously considering writing it off on my taxes.
So, how was I going to live without it.
"Maybe I won't have to," the glass-is-half-full side of me said. "After all, it's just water and detergent." I've been told that if you just pour water on electronics, they should work OK once they've dried out, though I'll add, I never tested the theory.
So, I got home, slid the "on" button, pushed "play," "skip" and other buttons. Nothing. So I docked it with my computer and it flickered to life. "Could it be . . . ?" I thought. After a few minutes, I unplugged it, attempted to play it, and the screen went blank. Could be the battery. I re-docked it, let it sit for the night, even put some new music on it.
Wednesday, I packed it off to work, and things looked somewhat hopeful. It would actually play the last album I was listening to, and later in the day, it even let me move around the menus to other music. I even played that UKSO play list.
Then, things took a bad turn. I docked it late in the day, and it flickered on, then showed a dead battery signal and blanked out. It did the same thing at home.
Maybe those last few hours of music were what we call a death rattle. Maybe, a day after running it through a cold, extra-large load, it was time for the little guy to walk into the light. Quick, call Jennifer Love Hewitt!
Who knows? Maybe it just needs another day to dry out. But the prognosis doesn't look good.
So, my advice would be, don't wash your mp3 player, cell phone or any other mini-electronic gadget for that matter. If you do, you may get a call: "I don't know how to tell you this . . . "
~ Of course, it could be much, much worse. Click here to read about David Garrett's Stradivarius.