You know, I’ll forgive a lot about people in terms of character flaws.
Cut in front of me on the highway? Fine, I’m sorry your parents didn’t give you enough attention as a kid. Cut in front of me at the supermarket? Your parents gave you too much attention.
Either way, I’m extremely amicable.
Most of my close friends are degenerates of some kind or another. Hey, I’m no Charlie Brown myself.
This being said, it grieves me when I read about people dying or suffering tragedy or unfortunate happenstance. It grieves me a lot, as something could have happened earlier in their lives to prevent such occurrence, through either their actions or someone else’s.
So, when I read an article on MSNBC.com entitled “Fatal distraction: Deaths of headphone-wearing pedestrians on the rise,” my first response was sympathy, then extreme dyspathy.
There is a dangerous trend rising among the youth of this great country.
I’m going to name it Extreme Headphone Usage (EHU), and it follows in the same footsteps as previous national health scares like Communism, Reefer Madness, Rinderpest, Smallpox and Glam Rock.
What defines EHU?
Well, look around you.
You know those people that seem to spend at least a fourth of their waking hours with some type of probe either jammed into their ear or completely cocooning their lobes like some sort of mid-stage transformatory insect?
Those are the unfortunate suffering from this disease.
Now look, I like music just as much as the next guy.
In fact, I take vocal lessons, play guitar in a band and might start playing the French horn again. I probably like music more than the next guy.
But as much as I like “Tik-Tok,” I do not want to wake up like P. Diddy forty times a day. I don’t have pedicures on my toes, toes, so singing along to that for hours at a time kind of makes me look silly.
And I pretty much never want to listen to the Decemberists, because they suck.
According to the article, “the number of people killed or seriously injured as a result of not being aware of their surroundings because they were wearing headphones has tripled in six years…the majority were male (68%) and 67% were under the age of 30.”
Do you ever instinctively turn down the volume in your car while you’re looking for something? Do you know why you do that?
It’s not because you hate the chorus of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” (if you do, you are wrong, by the way).
It’s because, as Steven Yantis of Johns Hopkins University said, “When attention is deployed to one modality … it necessarily extracts a cost on another modality – in this case, the visual task of driving.”
While the rest of us will see the coming meteor with surprising clarity and duck for cover, you will watch the rock crash into Bartlett and be showered with debris while you listen to “Brain Damage,” like some type of horrible Pink Floyd movie (well, they’re all horrible, but you get the point).
So, if you suffer from EHU, please seek help.
It really does trouble me to see that our generation is losing our best and brightest to something as silly as walking in front a bus while you jam out to Steely Dan.
Is this really how we want to be remembered, Facebook generation?
World War II and I’s generation died in mass numbers to free Europe, and all we can muster up is getting hit by trains?
In history books, our grandchildren will read, “Oh, yeah, John Q. Twitter was a great author, but then he walked in front of that car because that new Dubstep single was killer.”
Do you know how much that would suck?