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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Just Remember I Told You So

I recently acquired a new cellphone (see My New Phone).  By "new" of course, I mean really old, only new to me, a flip-phone of a model at least two generations behind the current standards.  When I bought it, Nancy gave me a look as if I'd purchased a blanket and campfire for the purpose of sending smoke signals.

Then,though, cornsarn it, I discovered the battery wouldn't charge; I plugged it in, and when I pushed the little button on the side, nothing.  I cursed and fumed; those rascally manufacturers - as soon as the next new thing comes out, they start putting defective batteries in the old models.  What do they care about a bunch of old fogeys who can't cope with a smartphone?  Now I had to go back to Costco and exchange it, and they'd probably send it back to the manufacturer, and I'd have to wait a week or more before I had a functioning phone, assuming the battery in that one wasn't a dud, too.

The day I was going to take it back, I plugged it into the charger to give it one last try.  Just as before, the screen reported the battery was fully charged, and just as before, when I pushed the button, my efforts were rewarded with nothing.  Then I glanced more carefully at the keypad.  There's a center button that says "OK" and around it are grouped four other buttons, the lower two reading "Send" and "End."  Above the word "end" in slightly smaller letters, it says "PWR."

Uh-oh, I thought.  I believe I may have actually said, "Uh-oh."  I pushed this and sure enough, there was a brief musical interlude and the screen lit up with a design which is either a constellation, a spiderweb, or a map connecting the cities of Atlanta, Macon, and Milledgeville.  The phone also informed me I had a new message.  I opened the message, a cheery little greeting from Verizon, saying, in effect, "Hello, moron!  Welcome to the 20th Century," although in much nicer words.

The side button, which I thought was the power, turns out to be for the camera.  I took a picture of my index finger trying to turn the camera off after accidentally turning it on.

Before you get all smug and condescending oh you people out there in blog-land, with your twitter-weets and you appy-apps and your doo-dangles, just bear in mind how frighteningly fast new generations of technology are coming at us.  There was a time, and not so long ago, when a generation of technology lasted a generation.  The phone I grew up with, with its coiled rubbery extension cord and rotary dial, existed pretty much unchanged from the 1940's to the early 80's, ditto for the vinyl records we played and the cameras we used which required dropping off rolls of film at the drugstore to be developed.  Now where are we?  As soon as some gizmo is in your hand, it's probably already out of date, and whatever the new version is, the power button is cunningly concealed in an unsuspected location or like my iPod, doesn't have a power button at all!  (Curse you, Steve Jobs!)

So laugh if you want.  Ha-ha-ha.  Oh, Man Martin, you are so silly.  But just remember, I told you so.  When they open up your cryogenic coffin and press the reboot button surgically installed in your cerebellum, and you want to know why the houses don't have doorknobs and the cars don't have tires and the earphones don't have iPods, and everybody laughs at you for being so backward and behind the times, I told you so, I told you so.

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