After assuring myself that I hadn't simply gone deaf (that would have presented a whole new set of problems); I determined that the audio function on the Touch was kaput.
Since the entire purpose of an iPod is, you know, music; this was kind of a major bummer.
I use the iPod in the bathtub. I use it when I clean house (vacuuming is 99% more fun when combined with white girl dance moves). I use it when I am working at the hardware store (because people hesitate to ask me stupid questions if they think I can't hear them). I use it when I run, and, fine, I haven't been running very much (at all) recently, but, still!
This is a tragedy of epic proportions.
Rest in peace, Touch buddy.
You'll be in my heart.
Now, to research the best deal on a new model....