The main problem with those tiny earbud thingies — as opposed to those whopping big headphones we used to tote around on our heads in the Walkman days of yore — is that people don’t always notice that you’re immersed in your music.

How many times has someone broken into your harmless rock groupie fantasy, for example, with some meaningless remark about the weather?

It’s those discrete little earbuds at fault. The way the cord tucks quietly into your collar and the buds nestle in behind your hair, all unseen…

Obviously, solving this problem is just what the makers of the emotibles earphone charms had in mind. Oh, they say that the bright plastic pieces, inspired by Japanese emoticons, will “give some personality and color to your earbud headphones” but we know the truth.

It’s so people can see the damn earbuds and leave a girl alone when she’s off in music land.

Right now there are three styles of charms — “Zippy,” “Starry Eyed,” and the peculiar “Tickled” (which looks to me like it could also be named “Constipated”) — but surely it’s only a matter of time until they come out with more of the cute little emoticons to convey a full range of common emotional responses?

“Don’t Care: Go Away, You Silly Little Man,” and “This Better Be Worth Interrupting My Vintage Springsteen” emoticons are two that leap to mind…


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