I hold in my hand perhaps the most significant personal technological communication advance in the past 25 years – the cellphone. I never talked on the phone when I was a kid on the farm in rural Greene County, Indiana. My mother did; mostly to neighbors on the party line. Our phone was the old wooden box that hung on the wall with two bells on the front that looked Garfield the Cat eyes or two metal half grapefruits that provided the ringing sound. The receiver hung on the left side of the box, the crank was on the right side and a mouthpiece protruded from the front. Try putting that in your pocket and walking around or even carrying it.
BW has had a cellphone for many years but I resisted change and used the landline when we lived in Plainfield. It did all I needed and wanted – make and receive calls. Then when we moved to Gnawbenny it caused me much angst and inner travail but we cut the umbilical cord called the landline and I was forced to get a cell phone.
My first was a flip-top with numbers that required the strength of a rhino to push them. That was okay over the past 22 months. Then even I saw the handwriting on the wall and whispered quietly to BW, “I think I need to update my cellphone.” She immediately collapsed semi-comatose on the floor and I had to give her two nitroglycerine tablets left over from my heart attack in 1992, applied CPR and splashed water on her face. She finally roused and I told the EMTs that perhaps we did not need them. They were more than a little grumpy as they left the front porch.
I am astounded at the army of jobs that have been generated to create, power and maintain this technological revolution. Our whole life can be held in our hands. People absolutely go into a swoon if they lose their phone on it malfunctions or dies. Life becomes meaningless. Here is the conversation between the victim and the thief: Thief: “Give me all your money and our valuables. Victim: “Take my money, filch my SSN and debit cards, take my driver’s license, burn my draft card, take the deed to my house but please don’t take my phone.”
I now have a spiffy new phone that does everything. With some instructions, it can perform a splenectomy. I can shop online, take pictures, use it as a GPS, make to-do lists, text, talk and ask Google for help. I do research at all the libraries around the corner and around the world.
I grouse when I pay the technology bill but I reconcile myself by pondering what my cellphone can do for me. The skunk is out of the bag. I don’t know how to use 98% of the things it can do. So I am back to making and receiving calls just like the old landline and Verizon is laughing all the way to the bank with more of my money.
[Larry Vandeventer. Go to my website – Larryvandeventer.com – and purchase my books or Amazon.com. I grew up North of Calvertville and graduated from Worthington High School and Indiana State. Contact me at Goosecrick@aol.com or 812.631.5790]