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I was on a conference call today that lasted from 9AM to about 4 PM. Halfway through I managed to break the brand-new headset that I bought at Stapled to replace the one that fell apart and broke my phone.

I loved my old headset. It fit my freakishly small melon and had a locking mute button. It had a volume knob that was easy to turn and a thick rubberized cord that didn't tangle. I bought it at Big Lots for six bucks in 2005. About a month ago, right before maddmom's surgery, I had to replace my old landline cordless phone. I guess a couple of years of getting pulled around by the headset jack took its toll, because the headset jack went bad, and I had to keep the headset connected with duct tape. That worked for a while, bur even that finally stopped working.

So I went to buy a new cordless phone. Try it sometime. My old phone, purchased in 1999 for $12 at Wal-Mart, had 12 number memory, no answering machine, a lost handset button, and a headset jack. In the two weeks it took me to find a new cordless phone with a headset jack, I found out that headset jacks are a scarce and valuable commodity. The $12 phones no longer have headset jacks. The $24 phones no longer have headset jacks. To get a cordless phone with a headset jack, you will pay over $30. Closer to $50.

I finally found a single-handset cordless phone, with a headset jack on-line from eCost for $24 plus shipping. $32 bucks for a $12 phone.

I used it for two weeks before my headset fell apart. The tip of my headset jack came off inside the phone. Like that joke with the leper and the prostitute. At any rate, this was not the issue with the old phone, because the old headset jack didn't work even if I used one of my corded cellphone headsets in it. And that was actually a good thing, because when the damn phone broke I almost killed somebody. It took me a good two weeks to find a new cordless phone, with a headset jack for under $30 on clearance at Staples. Where I also paid $24 for a new headset.

The new headset sucks. The mute button doesn't lock, I have to hold it, and the padding around the ear is too thick and makes it hard to hear, everything sounds muffled. So naturally you would turn up the volume, but the volume can only go up so high, and that's not even as high as Michael Phelps at Jury Duty.

So to make a long story even longer, today, during my marathon conference all, I broke the new headset. You see, unlike the Chinese knockoff of an inexpensive Korean office headset I previously owned, this high-dollar American made piece of technological magic, didn't have a springy metal wire running through it. It was nothing but cheaply made (not "cheap" by any stretch) plastic. With no give. So when you pulled it off of your head in a fit of rage, or when you ran out your office door before you pissed all over yourself and forgot it was around your neck, it didn't stretch out and "sproing" spring back to size. Oh no. It broke.

I can't face stimulating our economy any more by purchasing disposable electronics from chain stores at 200 percent markup. I can't. I'd rther shave my taint with a broken widshield wiper. Which was exactly what I was going to do when I noticed that the sharp scrapy bit of the winsheild wiper was exactly what the freakin' Chinese used to hold my old headset together. So I grabbed some pliers and pulled out the thin whippy bit of metal that gave the wiper its shape, bent that mother around the back of my head, and duct taped it to the broken headset.

It still sucks, but it works. And I didn't spend a dime. Eat me, suckers.

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