October 21st, 2016

It’s New Phone Month!

By G. E. Shuman
Just in case you are interested, this is the month that my wife and I get new cell phones. Now, aren’t you excited? The time is right, the contract is up, and my phone is about to give up the ghost. Still, even given the condition of my present cell phone, I’m not entirely sure that I ‘need’ a new one at all, but I will, I am sure, get one.

Actually, if I am going to have a cell phone, that means that if it is considered by my wife, my kids, my grandkids, and the rest of the civilized world, that I need to have one, then mine is a good candidate for being replaced. My phone is a ‘dumb’ phone, and seems to be getting dumber every day. It works, but only sometimes. In that last respect, it is somewhat like me. For the past few months, my phone has refused to charge its battery when I plug it in for that purpose. Just so that you know, I have figured out that the battery is fine. It’s the phone that is not fine. When my phone ‘dies’, for lack of power, and lack of a better term for it, I have to get my wife’s phone out of her purse, and swap the batteries. (How romantic that must be for the phones). I then plug her phone in, to charge the dead battery that I have just installed in it. (I’m sure that this all is getting a bit tedious for you, as it does for me, about three times per week, when my phone shuts off in the middle of a conversation.) It always amazes me that my wife’s phone, which is the exact model that mine is, looks as if she just took it out of the box on Christmas morning, or something. My phone looks like it belongs in the trash, and I’m not sure why this situation is as it is. I think that my phone must be made out of some inferior plastic to what hers is made out of. My phone must retain scratches more easily than hers. She thinks it’s because my phone frequently ends up in the driveway, or on the cement floor in the cellar, or mingling with the dust bunnies under the couch. I doubt all of those reasons. My glasses also get scratched sooner than hers do, and she would probably quote those same reasons for that, also.

Admittedly, my phone is not in the shape it used to be in, any more than I am. Truthfully, I don’t really care how my phone looks, or that it is a dumb phone, not a smart one. The dead battery issue does frustrate me a bit. I’m not sure why that had to happen to mine, and not hers. My son insists that it is because I throw my phone. I contend that that’s just not true. I’m not saying that I don’t throw it, just that that’s not the reason the battery won’t charge in it. There is some other reason, I’m sure. It probably also has to do with that inferior plastic they were using in China the day that they made my phone, and not the day that they made Lorna’s.

Now, back to the idea of whether or not I actually ‘need’ a cell phone at all. One or two of my kids, (all of whom are adults), say that I do, because I need to have them be able to get in touch with me if they need something. Oh… really? My question is, why do I need for that to happen, and who do I call if I need something? And, as I always ponder, if the phone is necessary, how did the countless generations survive before such things as cell phones were invented? I think dads were still asked for help, somehow. Also, my phone almost always rings when I’m at work, or at home. In both places there are old fashioned landline phones, which still work very well. If I am driving I’m not supposed to answer my phone anyway, and if I’m somewhere else, chances are my wife is with me, and she has a phone. Chances also are that people could wait to tell me later that I need to help them do something next week.

A few weeks ago, on a Monday, my phone battery died, somewhere between home and work. That evening I forgot to swap my battery with my wife’s phone’s battery, and went to work with my phone… dead, in my pocket, the following day, and also the day after that. I soon forgot how much I needed the phone, and left it on my dresser the rest of the week. Saturday morning came, and while my wife was still sleeping I decided I actually should revive the old thing, (My phone, not my wife.) and check for messages. I did so, and there were none. Hum…. none. I survived, and so did the rest of the world, while my phone rested in peace for nearly a week.

Coincidentally, my daughter got a new, very smart phone, just yesterday. It really is very smart, and, I immediately noticed, it is also very big. That seems to be a fact of nature, or, more precisely, of un-natural things made by man. Cars, TVs, computers, phones and other things all contract and expand with time. They get smaller, then bigger, and smaller, and smarter, and bigger, right before our eyes. What a world. When I saw Em’s new phone, last night, my first thought was, ‘gee, that could be flipped over and used for a nice serving tray.’ (A slight exaggeration, but it did seem big, to me, as I tried to stretch my fingers around it, to hold it. I guess she can use both hands, and, at least she won’t lose it.)

Still, with all of this said, I am sure I will get a new phone, and soon. It’s new phone month, after all, and mine is preparing to go to that big cell tower in the sky. I am also sure that, this time, I will get a smart phone. Yippee! Oh joy! I will have one more new thing to learn how to operate. (You can tell that I’m getting old.) You know, those smart phones are pretty fragile, and you can’t keep them in the paper box that they come in, or so I am told. My wife will probably want me to get one of those sixty-dollar rubber covers for it, (no markup there), for the next time I get in the mood to play phone Frisbee.

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