I missed the first three phone calls to wish me happy birthday last month. That’s because my children called on my cell phone with which I have only a nodding acquaintance. My cell is not a smart phone; it is a stupid phone — and that’s the way I want it.
I never wanted a cell phone. Sure they’re convenient, but life always worked just fine before we had them. Business got done, parents got in touch with the wayward child at a friend’s house to say it was time for dinner and boys still sent goofy phone messages to girls and then slapped their forehead three times when they realized what they had done.
Think about it. Cell phones are small, get poor reception and if you twist in your chair, your pants stretch against a button on the phone and next thing you know, you’re taking a video of the coins in your pants pocket.
My children pressured me for years to buy a cell phone. They couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t want one and I couldn’t understand why I would. It was business that forced my hand and caused me to get my first cell phone. Traveling all over the country as I did, I too often needed to contact clients or business associates to tell them I’d be late because my plane had been diverted to Boonville, Montana.
The first cell phone I bought lasted four years. Then the battery died. I went to Verizon to get a new battery. The clerk gave me and my phone an odd look, flipped through a huge parts manual and announced, “They stopped making the battery for that model two years ago.” Given no choice, I indentured myself to Verizon for another two-year sentence. That was five years ago. Someone must be making better batteries.
The replacement phone I bought is as stupid as the phone I traded in. Look, I know there are cool smart phones that can do amazing things like track your wife, alert you to any police alcohol checkpoints and match you with the Russian girl of your dreams. But I already have a desk computer, a laptop Mac and an iPad. I’m already drowning in smart apps I don’t know how to use. Why would I want more? I can’t even remember how to do a tenth of the functions on my stupid phone. If my cell were any smarter, I’d be having severe self-esteem problems — and most likely develop a rash.
I have never texted a message or received one I understood. Under my original phone plan I was charged for minutes spent texting — whether I texted, or someone I didn’t even know messaged me in textoglyphics. I suspect the phone companies hired people to randomly text people to build up usage charges. If I could prove that, I’d mention it in print. My solution was to turn off the text function on my cell phone. Now I’m textless, or untexty or atextual, whichever is the proper term — we’re breaking new ground here folks.
A related problem: — I can’t text. My fingertips are too large and I don’t understand the text culture’s clever abbreviations. Don’t expect to ever get a text message from me unless someone invents a Large Button Smartphone with a voice recognition app that will translate my words into text-eze. That way I can just talk into my phone and people will understand my message. Wait, isn’t that what we did before cell phones?
Last week I went to an old e-mail account I haven’t used for over a year. There was a message from my CPA. He sent me an-email asking for an estimate of my upcoming taxes. This is important information and he made sure to send it to me more than a month before my tax return was due. The only problem was he sent it to an inactive e-mail address. And, this is the guy responsible for electronically filing my taxes.
Giving my accountant the benefit of the doubt, I’ll bet when he got his smart phone he programmed my e-mail address into it and now he can’t remember how to change it.
This Week’s Ponder: How can Italians text message if that requires both hands?