I still remember the old Timex watch commercials. They would drop a watch into the ocean where it would be eaten by a fish which would be eaten by a bigger fish which would be eaten by an even bigger fish. The next thing you know, John Cameron Swayze would open a can of tuna, and inside would be the watch. “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking,” John would say holding it up and smiling as the second hand went around the face. (Maybe that’s not exactly how it went. It was a long time ago, and I’m getting old. The point was, it was one tough little watch.) That was over fifty years ago. Where did that technology go? The cell phone I have now has the water resistance of tissue paper. If I have it in my pants’ pocket, I’m afraid to flush the toilet because it might ruin it.
I don’t like technology to begin with, and they keep selling us wimpy, defective equipment. My wife has one of the new Samsung Notebook 7s with the self-destruct app where it occasionally catches fire and blows up—personally I would have went with Candy Crush, but that’s just me. I have to admit a phone that explodes has some advantages over one that doesn’t.
My wife: Could you call my phone? I forgot where I left it.
An explosion comes from the other room followed by a huge hole bursting through the wall with debris, smoke and flames.
My wife: Never mind. I found it.
The sad part is, that is not the worst app she has on her phone. My wife has an app where she can talk into her phone, and it will convert her voice into written words so she can send it as a text. It sounds like a good idea except the phone is made in South Korea and something gets lost in the translation. I will get a text which clearly says: DO WE HAVE ANY CAT SHOES? Since we don’t have a cat, I’m am fairly confident without having to look that we don’t have any shoes for one. So I text back: NO. An hour later she comes in from shopping and starts putting things away. A little bit later she comes stomping into the room, and I know I’m in trouble, but I don’t know why.
My wife angrily: You didn’t even bother to look when I asked you, did you?
Me: What are you talking about?
My wife: We already have two full ones in the pantry, and because of you, I went and bought two more cans of cashews.
I have a smart phone, but I use it mainly as a simple phone. Maybe I’ll check emails if I’m expecting something from a publisher or to see if people commented about my blog. I put an app on it once, but I don’t remember what it was or where it is. Maybe if you don’t use them for so long they get mad and leave? I’m mixed about cell phones. There are times when I’d like to turn it off or leave it at home. But what if some emergency comes up, such as something happens to one of the family, or there really is a Nigerian Lottery, and I just won ten million dollars?
Occasionally I go walleye fishing in waders. I take my phone along, but I keep it in my pants’ pocket buried underneath my chest-high waders, because I’m afraid if I put it in my shirt pocket, it will see the lake water and stop working. I’ll clearly tell my wife before I go not to call me unless it is a dire emergency… or the Nigerian Lottery calls.
A half hour after I get to the lake, I’m standing up to my rippling stomach muscles in the water—hey, this is my story. I’ll tell it any way I want—the ding that signals an incoming text goes off on my phone. Since I clearly told my wife not to call me unless it was a dire emergency, I figure something must have happened. I waddle to shore with visions of car accidents, house fires and Lamborghinis purchased with lottery winnings running through my head. I struggle the waders down to where I can reach the phone, pull it out of the pocket and drop it down one leg of the waders. Now I have to take them all the way off, because the phone saw the lake and now it’s cowering down in the toe of the boot. I dig it out, and I see the text is from my wife. I open it in panic, and it says: ON YOUR WAY HOME, PICK UP CAT SHOES.
Later, when I get home with the cat shoes, she will tell me I said not to call, and she didn’t. She texted.
BOOKS BY JOEL JURRENS