Kicking and screaming into the future

by Ken Carpenter

I am really upset with myself. I have spent years making fun of people who go through their life with a cell phone glued to their ear. I have cursed them for yacking when they should be paying attention to their driving. I have muttered threats about sticking a cell phone with an obnoxious ring somewhere that the sun does not shine. I have also badmouthed those selfish souls who let their phones ring in a theater or some other place where silence should be golden.
Now, to my everlasting disgust, I am one of the cell-ers. I blame my wife, she did it, and it’s all her fault. She just can’t pass up a bargain.
I tried to say no, but I could not stick to my guns. In truth, I stuck to them long enough to cheat her out of a rebate check. Oh yeah, it cheated me out of it, too. Dagnabbit!
The Verizon family plan offered three phones for a mere pittance over the basic plan for one, with a rebate offered for each one.
“I’m pretty sure I don’t need no cell phone,” I said with sarcastic conviction when Joy asked me, and I almost dislocated an elbow patting myself on my phone-less wanderer back.
“Are you sure?” Joy asked, more aware than I that a woman’s prerogative is just as much a man’s.
Once again I pooh-poohed my need for a cell phone, so only two were ordered, and neither was mine.
The next day we were talking and planning a trip to the city to go the malls, not my favorite thing in the world due to my penchant for getting lost in them. Show me a shopping mall and I’ll show you a handful of wild-eyed yokels with no idea where they are. One will be me.
Joy jumped at the opportunity to point out how easy it would be to stay in touch if we each had a cell phone. When, not if, I got lost or separated from her (one and the same), I could push a couple buttons and be saved in minutes.
I have to admit, that got my attention. After a couple more common sense points were made, none by me, about how handy a cell phone could be, I was hooked. I asked if she could still get the same deal on a third phone if she called now, so she tried. It was the same except no rebate, and the third phone would be a different brand. I sheepishly agreed that I would take it, gnawing crow by the pound.
So now I am the proud owner of a fancy dancy Nokia camera flip phone. I can even, after a lengthy training session, make and answer a phone call. I have also managed to take a couple of dandy pictures of the inside of my pants pocket.
I also, get this, sent and received some text messages with my stepdaughter Sarah. For those of you as ignorant as I was about such things, a text message is typed out with the keypad on the phone.
The first one I sent to her took about 11 minutes to type and said, “Saara, hox arf yoo.”
About 30 seconds later a perfectly worded 50 word text came back to me from the stupefied Sarah, who didn’t think me capable of texting even a garbled message. Of course, her Mom had coached me, proving the “old dog” adage once again.
“I ammm here,” I replied proudly after another five or six minutes, brow furrowed with effort.
I figure by the time our two-year contract is up I will have progressed to taking pictures of my shoes, texting short messages with minimal mistakes, and maybe even viewing missed calls.
For now, I’m just happy to be able to find my wife in the mall.