The cell phoney
"Keep in mind that transmogrification is a new technology."
-- Calvin, in the comic strip "Calvin and Hobbes"
"Meddle not in the affairs of dragons; for thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup."
It was my own stupid fault. Like many men, I was weak. Like many men, I lusted after the flashy, slinky little numbers I often saw attached to the hips of other guys. I longed to look as "cool" and "with it" as those guys did.
And like many men, I rationalized my decision once it was made. After all, I told myself, the old girl had gotten kind of worn around the edges and was definitely creaking at the hinges. Plus, she was becoming more and more difficult to understand, even when I tried my hardest to listen.
And so, after many years together, I shamelessly and callously cast the old girl aside and made a long-term commitment to the newer, sleeker model I had lusted after -- that is, if two years can be considered "long-term."
And it is, especially in the lightning-paced world of cell phone technology.
My new mistress immediately began to make demands. Giddy and flushed with infatuation, I happily complied.
The first thing she demanded was a complete list of all my phone numbers. This seemed logical; after all, the more she knew, the more "in tune" we would be.
But -- and here's a big but -- I am an analog guy who has been thrust into a digital world. My technological skills atrophied at the level of baling wire and duct tape. Programming a new cell phone is a mysterious undertaking, a feat of technical alchemy on par with spinning straw into gold.
It's not my fault! I am the hapless victim of cosmic bad timing. These new-fangled digital devices came onto the scene at the same time that our kids did, so I never needed to acquire any technology-related skills. Why learn to program your VCR when you have a perfectly capable four-year-old in the house?
My new phone came with an instruction manual, of course. But the thing is about as thick as "War And Peace" and besides, what self-respecting, red-blooded guy would ever stoop to actually reading the instructions?
I bravely booted up my new cell phone and threw myself into programming it. I promptly stumbled down into the fiery, labyrinthine maw of High Technology.
I battled valiantly, armed only with the grim determination to wrest this 3-ounce hodgepodge of microchips into submission. I was entering names into my speed dial -- I will never master the art of "thumb dialing"-- when an accidental mash of a stray button caused my phone's screen to ask "Do want to connect to the Internet?"
"Not now, not while I'm driving!" I yelled at the phone. I frantically pressed random buttons until the phone displayed the message "Camera mode activated."
Good Lord! You mean this thing can take pictures? And record sound? And shoot short movies!
What genius decided that cell phones also needed to be movie and/ or recording studios? Don't we have enough to do? Are we now expected to record a "Greatest Hits" album and edit our home movies as we commute?