I have an 5th generation iPod Video, 30GB and have had it for over a year. So far, knock on wood, no problems, but I have to admit I baby all of my belongings. Its been in a leather case since I got it, has never been dropped, or mistreated. I did not but probably should have gotten an extended warranty, although most sources say they are a waste of money,
In your case it would have helped since its not three years old yet. Knowing what I have read and seen of Steve Jobs I doubt that he would laugh at your demise. I'm sure he would like to keep you as a customer.
My Father WAS a Rocket Scientist!