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Saying Goodbye to a Friend

A friend of benliebman.com @JTBam brings us the tale of a headset lost.

It is with a heavy heart that I say RIP to my Xbox headset. After three red rings of death (only one while the console was under warranty) and four worn out or broken controllers, the headset was the last piece to go from my original Xbox 360 purchase in 2005. In 2009, right after the headset’s fourth birthday, the earpiece totally separated from the headband after having stepped on it in my Naples, Florida apartment. Fortunately the earpiece was still functional, so after MacGuyvering the headset with a Fudgesicle stick, a paperclip and athletic tape, the headset was as good as new (I distinctly remember it was a fudsicle stick and not a cream or popsicle). Unfortunately, two days ago, the sound started going in and out, and I knew it was time to put her down (everyone knows that headsets are female like boats and cars).

The Xbox 360 purchase holds a special place in my heart as the  first console that was purchased within a month of its launch. I was a late adopter to Nintendo, Genesis and the original Xbox, but this was the first console to come out when I was actually a functioning member of society. For the first time in history a video game console was coming out at a time when I was gainfully employed and I knew I would be purchasing one no matter what I had to do. A week after the official launch, 360s were still tough to find. They were sold out everywhere near me, but one day I received a call saying they received 50 consoles at Toys R Us. The only disclaimer was that you had to also purchase two games, an extra controller and a racing wheel in order to receive one of the 360s. I sped over to the store, laid down the credit card, and the console was mine (the racing wheel was later returned).

As of last night (after approximately six years and three months of use) the microphone part was still functional, so I adjusted the headset sound to come out of my speakers and still used the mic as per usual. This was working perfectly until my mom passed by right as UncleStinkyFNGZ was screaming about how much he loved “illegal substances”. It was at that moment that I knew a replacement headset was imminent.

The major question here is why did the headset outlast every other piece of hardware from the original Xbox? It certainly was the piece I abused the most. The headsets were cheap and easily replaceable, and I was also scared that the console and controllers  would break if you breathed on them incorrectly (which I was correct about). I guess unlike the console, the headset was built to take a beating. The situation reminds me of a MAD Magazine comic strip from ages ago. An older women brings a recently broken toaster into the manufacturer after having worked for over 20 years. The manager of the company thanked her for bringing the toaster in, and after she leaves he tells one of the employees that they should take the toaster apart in order to see why it has worked correctly for so long…so they can make sure it never happens again.

While I don’t think I will make the jump to the wireless headset due to my lack of funds, it is with a fond farewell that I say goodbye to the current one. The foam over your earpiece is 80% ripped off, and you were held together by a late night snack, but you served your purpose for so many nights of Fifa club matches and COD team deathmatch sessions. My ex-girlfriend also used you once to talk to her “friend” as they watched streaming Netflix together. Other than that, I hold you in the highest regards for working for so long and truly thank you for your service. You will be missed.

Follow Jon Bamel @JTBam on Twitter

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