Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 6.23.24 AM“Miss, come here.” I do.

“Can you please explain to him why he’s stupid?” said friend about friend.

“Elaborate? Give me the details of this conversation?” I inquire.

“He’s got $80 headphones.” friend says. Now, I am the queen of coupons, the maven of money-saving, the pinnacle of penny-pinching. They know what I’ll say.

“What do you need $80 headphones for? What could you buy with $80?” I discuss opportunity cost. No one signs up for an economics lecture at 7AM.

“Well at least they’re not Beats, those are expensive.” says the money-waster.

“Beats are big,” I say. “I don’t understand–we are three decades removed from MY Day, when the Walkman was invented…” I notice they are staring at me with a curious mixture of shock and disbelief. When the Walkman was invented…  “It’s true. I remember. We used to run like this…”  I mime running with a hand carrying a suitcase, “Because it was so darned big. We make things small now.”

I continue, “Just yesterday I had my new iPod implanted in my arm. I use a QR code to update the play list so I can run. The headphones were inserted in my brain through my nostril and I only sneezed twice. All bluetooth. Why,” I ask, “Are you people,” I motioning to the collective group of teens, “reinventing headphones that are bigger than football helmets?”

These are stealth,” said the proud owner of the $80 headphones.

“Why are they $80, then? I have to know. I can get a Bose speaker for ten dollars more.” My students often educate me. Seems like something I should learn.

“Well, this part’s gold,” he said.

“Gold?” I ask.  “Is this where you put your gold if you can’t get a chain or a fake gold tooth? Or maybe you’re still uncertain about the economy?” There I go, more economics lesson. Maybe I’m indeed, too old to understand. The teens laugh. I’m reducing this expense to rubble. Opportunity cost one, student zero.

“Well, anyway, Beats are for hip hop. These are for metal.”

“Oh, so now there’s a socio-musical-political underlying implication to this?” I’m happy because at least one student understands what I’ve just said.

The rest need coffee.

Or louder music to block me out.

We never resolve which headphones are best, or why, when they are not permitted in school, half the crowd buys lime green ones the size of Texas rather than the “stealth” ones with the bling, but I agree to stay after and listen to my cheap ear buds next to the Beats and the Skull Candy bling buds.

Because it is time, they advise, “for you to be educated.”

“I agree.” I say. “It’s important to learn something new every day.”