Tuesday, October 11, 2005

And an Ipod for thee, My Sweet

MBH has Ipod envy.

The first symptom appeared a little over two years ago when he noticed all the ubiquitous white ear buds lodged in everyone's ears on the MBTA. He would poke me in the arm and say, "Look, there is another person with an Ipod". Every time Apple would announce an update or come out with a new version of the Ipod, I would get a link to their site and a message proclaiming, "We need one of these". Then I would find myself dragged to the Cambridgeside Galleria Apple store for a visit complete with drool and the bright eyes of an excited 5 year old on Christmas morning. I half expected when Apple debuted the Ipod Mini that I would come home from work one day and MBH would say, "Come here and see what I got today". But, surprisingly he never did. Instead he made do with a RIO MP3 player and, while he seemed content, I could still see him look longingly at all those white ear buds as they jogged by us on the streets of Boston.

The full-blown case of Ipod envy set in when I purchased a 20 gig Ipod as a gift to myself when I landed my new job. I offered to let him use it when I didn't need it but frankly, our tastes in music are quite different and while I guess we could have set up different playlists, it just never seemed to be a good cure for his ill.

And then the Ipod Nano made its appearance. I remember exactly when the disease became terminal; about 5 minutes after Steve Jobs pulled that shiny black little box of joy from his front jeans pocket. A single link in an email appeared in my inbox. The link was to a glossy flash movie of the Ipod Nano. MBH now absolutely positively had to have one and he wasn't going to wait until Christmas. So, today after a few weeks of holding him off because I wanted to surprise him with one, I finally caved in and ordered it. With engraving of course.

We possess some strange twisted karma and if something can go wrong it will go wrong. If you have to fight through red tape, we will have to fight through triple the amount. If an order for something can get messed up, it will. MBH is the only person on this planet that Burger King will not make it his way. So, I don't know why ordering this little token should be any different and the fact that I only had about 20 minutes of free time this morning in which to place this order probably doomed it from the start.

I logged onto the Apple Store and began to place my order. Everything went smoothly. There was the Ipod Nano. MBH only needs 2Gig for his music and there it was in black, selected and ready for me to add a personal message for engraving. And this is where the trouble began.

I wanted MBH's IPod Nano to be personalized with: "To MBH, From WW and Lil' Bastard". A simple request really. You see, "Lil' Bastard" is MBH's nickname for our cat. LB for short. I typed in the first line: "To MBH, From WW" and WOW! It appeared on the picture of the back of the Ipod Nano for me to see and approve. So far so good. Then I typed in "and Lil' Bastard" and looked at how the two lines appeared. Perfect. Exactly like I wanted them to, centered and balanced. I felt the excitement building. I could see the look of glee on MBH's face when he opened the box and nestled in its protective wrap would be a small emblem of my love and the cat's affection. I hit submit. And there they were. Three red words that spelled trouble. "Inappropriate Message Text". WHAT? Oh no!! There went my perfectly selected and phrased inscription.

Now I understand, Apple doesn't want someone sending "hate Ipods" to people but surely if they knew that "Bastard" was being used as a term of endearment they would make an exception. If you Google our cat's name, the third entry is for MBH's homepage where he affectionately refer's to LB. Surely if I pointed that out to their customer service people, I could get the word "Bastard" on the back. I picked up the phone and called Apple Support.

After sitting on hold for 20 minutes (boy, Ipods are popular), I finally got to speak to a live person. Only the person on the other end wasn't very helpful. In fact, the person just kept repeating from the script on their screen over and over. "The word bastard is not allowed. Company policy" I said, "Google our cat. You will see. I'm not trying to be malicious". Nope. Sorry. Can't do it. "Please. You don't understand. It is a gift of love and affection". Sorry. After 20 minutes of pleading and begging (and talking to a supervisor). I had to settle with substituting the cat's name for Lil' Bastard.

I guess it isn't how it is said; it is just the sentiment after all. Engraved on the back of a shiny new black Ipod Nano...