Gather ’round, children, and let me tell you the story of the magical Shuffle Fairy.
Once upon a time,
two or so months ago a long time ago, there was a runner named Stephanie. She spent way more time than was healthy on the road, torturing her body in the name of fitness and bragging rights. In a vain attempt to keep from throwing herself into traffic, Stephanie bought herself an iPod Shuffle, and filled it with hours and hours of music, an eclectic mix that includes Dropkick Murphys, Lady Gaga, Rammstein, and the South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut soundtrack. And she loved her Shuffle. Even when it was 3 degrees outside and she was knee-deep in snow and slush, she found that she was able to smile as long as there was a little “Uncle F**ka” in her ears.
But then, on one day of no particular importance, something terrible happened. It was a little warmer than usual, and unlike most days, when she clipped her Shuffle off to the bottom of her fleece, Stephanie had put her little Shuffle in the pocket of her zip-up. And unlike most days, when she walked in the door after her run and immediately plugged her Shuffle into the charger in the kitchen, she completely forgot about her little Shuffle. And unlike most days, when her Shuffle sat happily on the charger and waited for her next run, her motherfucking little Shuffle stayed in the motherfucking pocket of her motherfucking zip-up until it went into the motherfucking washer, followed by the motherfucking dryer.
Of course, this was not discovered until the next day, when she went looking for her Shuffle. As soon as she saw that it wasn’t on the charger, she knew in her heart of hearts where it was, and her oatmeal immediately returned to the back of her throat. She dug through the basket of clean laundry until she found her zip-up. There it was, with a single drop of water leaking out from the headphone jack.
The Shuffle was left to rest for a few days, partially to let it dry out and partially out of a desire to postpone what she was sure was its inevitable death. Then it went on the charger, because…well, it seemed like as good an idea as any. Finally, breath held and fingers crossed, she plugged her headphones into the little Shuffle and pushed play.
And it played.
“Basket Case” came blasting out of the buds at volumes she hadn’t heard since front row of that Flogging Molly concert. (Apparently somewhere between the washer and the dryer the volume got turned up. I don’t know, either.) Stephanie was ecstatic. She pushed another button, and another. One after another, they all performed just like they were supposed to.
Except for the NEXT button. That one didn’t work. Which is really fucking unfortunate, since that’s the button that Stephanie used the most. Running is really emotional for her, and if the song doesn’t match the mood she’s in (even if it’s a really great song) she skips to the next song. So even though the Shuffle still worked, it didn’t work in the capacity she needed it to.
But she wasn’t willing to pronounce it dead. Not out of bravery or a strong belief in technology or even stubbornness. No, it was out of fear. She was afraid that her Shuffle was dead and she didn’t want it to be dead, so she was willing to suspend disbelief and pretend that putting it back on the charger and ignoring it would somehow fix it. Problem solved.
Now this, children, is where the magic came to play. You see, somewhere during the two months that the little Shuffle sat, ignored, on its charger, it was visited by a magical creature called The Shuffle Fairy.
The Shuffle Fairy goes around to the houses of good little boys and girls who have put their iPod Shuffles through the wash. She flies into their kitchens and with her magical fairy kisses she fixes the NEXT buttons on their Shuffles. (Kyle says she also drank all our beer and ripped that nasty one in the bedroom but I’m suspicious.)
One day, Stephanie was in the kitchen, working on dinner, and she saw her Shuffle, sitting forlornly on the charger, and she picked up her iPod, plugged in a pair of headphones, and hit play. Throwing shit to the wind, she hit NEXT, just to see what would happen.
And what happened what fucking magic. It worked! It was like nothing had ever happened and her little iPod was back to normal. She and her Shuffle, happily united again, hit the road once more. (And just in time, too, because if Pandora tried to sneak one more fucking Glee song into my running mix it was going to find itself smashed against the sidewalk.)
And so, dear children, we learn that the best way to deal problems is to ignore them for as long as possible and fairies will totally come and fix them for you.