We are non-commercial, all volunteer and supported by our readers. Please help sustain the Dew by making a donation.
The ‘Art of Loss’ …and Cell Phones
The bald-headed, naked truth is that I am about to lose it.
I am really good—maybe even extraordinary — at what one might term “the art of loss.” Coats, gloves, hats, golf clubs, car keys, eyeglasses, and wallets have slipped through my watery grip and ‘butter’ fingers with more regularity than I care to admit. ‘Bumbershoots’ are a particular specialty. I have misplaced enough of these to keep a small town bone dry during a monsoon, especially if that small town was, say, the size of Chicago. (The umbrella that you found in your office recently, was more likely than not, originally lost by Cantrell.) At one time or another, I have forgotten the location of my car, lost a sofa from the bed of a pick-up truck and once, for eighteen hellish minutes, lost an eight-year-old nephew at the mall!
The “it”—i.e. the item ‘most likely’ to be lost this time— is my new cell phone. Officially named the ‘Techna Wizard 990, it replaces my recently deceased “Brick 100.” The latter died two weeks ago, after a decade of faithful service. Towards the end, the Brick just failed to respond t0 anyone. It was also leaking what looked an awful lot like transmision fluid.
The old phone had been contemptuously nick-named ‘Old Yeller’ by my friends and family as it was said that this is what I morphed into when taking–or making—calls on the thing. Its replacement is an all-seeing, all-knowing, omnipotent, vibrating, “whirring” dervish of transmitters, receivers, “radar cameras'” “space eyes,” Zodiac calendars, hurricane predictors, laser alarms, and all manner of geosynchronous “do hickeys”. Among its various and sundry features is what appears to be an atomic clock. (The cell phone company, I guess, envisions me as having frequent footraces with real, live atoms.)
The new phone’s brochure boasts of a “…a sleek, sexy, art-deco, aerodynamic design”. Sexy!? Aerodynamic!? —the latter feature, being useful, I guess for throwing the Wizard great distances after unsatisfactory encounters with cellular customer service. (Of course, you’d think that if that were the case, they would’ve designed the damn thing in the shape of a boomerang.) The Wizard’s list of features baffles my already boggled mind —so much so that I am actually tempted to violate one of the main precepts of The Testosterone Credo and actually crack what seems to be a 1,500-page Instruction Manual and Online Tutorial. (To my male readers: Fear not, I have not as yet succumbed to this temptation. Pray for me though.)
Our relationship worked—-me and the Brick’s. For one thing, it was impossible to lose—even for Cantrell. It had size and weight and ‘heft’—about three kilograms as I recall. It was a cell phone for a real man—especially if that man was, say, Jim Brown or possibly Sasquatch. The phone grew hot if more than two calls came in within a short period of time. Because of a cracked facade and “exposed innards,” you could actually smell the acrid smoke of an incoming call. (No need for one of those ubiquitous, obnoxiuos ringtones so prevalent among today’s state-of-the art models.) About ninety seconds into any cellular conversation Old Yeller would overheat, giving me a great excuse to either end the call or going to find an oven mitt. Receiving and making calls was more than a mere business transaction or handling a family matter, it was confirmation that the owner still had an above average threshold of pain. (You can bet that the new, “fancy, dancy” ‘art deco’ Tehna Wizard doesn’t give you that same reaffirmation of manhood!)
Over the years. I’d managed to keep Old Yeller working through the deft use of paper clips, tin foil, rubber bands and a weekly drop of Freako’s Bar-be-que Sauce. And the thing functioned well too…in reasonably close proximity to the carrier’s headquarters, although elsewhere, signal reception could be ‘dubious’. A deal breaker for many users, I found the lack or range and spotty reception to be beneficial when trying to avoid bill collectors, relatives wanting to either borrow money or visit, as well as insufferable telemarketers.
My new carrier, Inter-Galactic Mobile, boasts that users can talk with anyone at anytime as long as the call is initiated within two million light years of Earth. Now, (sadly, I might add), anyone can chat me up, even “ET”—to say nothing of those same relatives seeking to borrow money or visit. (I vaguely even remember the Wizard salesman mentioning something about now being able to talk with dead people—- though I remain steadfast in my refusal to try.)
Another reason that me and the Brick, “got along” was that it minded its own business—unlike the Wizard, which minds mine. It constantly pushes, prods, scolds, rebuffs and reminds me of “Things to Do” —-meetings, birthdays, reports that are due, and trash that needs to be taken out. The Wizard does not readily accept excuses for missed appointments, deadlines or non-performance either. (Perhaps it would be more aptly named the Conspiracy 2010.) The thing is sneaky too. Last week, after I fell asleep, it went behind my back and without my permission or authorization, it contacted one of those Internet travel agencies and booked a two week cruise to Jamaica! I hope that among its myriad of features is a part-time job so that it can afford to pay for the trip.
As you can surmise, me and The Wizard are still getting to know each other. So far our relationhip is tenuous and uneasy. The Wizard is having ‘its way’ with me. My talent at the ‘art of loss’ may, for once, come in handy.
And soon too.
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
These climate deniers are making me crazy! Every day, it's some new story about some Republican lawmaker making up the most inane justifications for why he or she doesn't believe the Earth's climate is changing or why, if it is, then it's not caused by humans. And these people are in charge!? Lord, help us! Just this week, something hit my Facebook news feed linking to a Mother Jones story proclaiming 72 Percent of Republican Senators Are Climate Deniers. Now, I'm no scientist... But, that's just nuts! Someone please stop these people!? I'm so disgusted, I need another cup of coffee. So, it's Read on →
WARNING: This feature has nothing to do with politics, terrorism, or race relations. It does, however, touch upon your unavoidable visit from the Grim Reaper. Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful, lest you let other people spend it for you. — Carl Sandburg In my explorations along back roads, deep woods, and left-behind places, I come across forgotten graveyards. Their tombstones, like tragic figures in some sad drama, long ago surrendered to weathering. Stones cut from rocks softer than granite appear to me Read on →
Not having grown up American, I find that I am often ignorant of American culture. On the other hand, when it is pointed out to me, I see it as an outsider and, I sometimes think, more clearly. That was the case with the car culture "discovered" by my spouse in the American cinema. We agreed that the ancillary side-effects of Americans' love affair with their cars -- urban sprawl, social disruption, environmental degradation, individual isolation -- are all deplorable. But, it was only recently that it hit me that the promotion of the private automotive capsule and the destruction Read on →
My friend Tom says most, if not all, great writers are fractured individuals. I hope he’s wrong about that; I’ve always been a happy, well-adjusted guy. I plan to achieve Great Writer status one day and would hate to think lack of a tortured soul, along with precious little talent, will prevent such dreams. The only thing even remotely dark about me is my middle name. If I had been a girl, none of this would have happened. I would have been Betty Louise. At least that’s what my mother said. The Mike part of my name originated with an old Army Read on →