One of the more obvious signs we have stepped closer to the apocalyptic cliff is the puzzling large amount of excitement generated when a new cell phone hits the market.


My first question is always the same: what in hell am I missing here?


A phone has always served a pretty basic function for me because all I really require is for it to be a phone.


I spent many years with a “land phone” and I never expected the phone to do anything other than to connect my disembodied voice with somebody else’s disembodied voice.


Live person to live person with no uninvited and soulless recorded voice robo-callers allowed into the reindeer games was all I required then or now from a phone.





That’s why my caveman attitude about what I expect from the function of a phone has been left well behind in a cloud of cyber dust by today’s phones and their users.


The new phone customers are fully prepared to stand outside an electronic nerd store in any kind of ungodly weather just to be among the first geek to get the latest generation of phone.


Today’s phones carry a wide array of functions well beyond their basic function of actual phone calls- an “app” chosen by fewer and fewer people who use cell phones.


So the debut of a new cell phone has gotten to be a huge event in today’s world because they will have an incremental improvement over their predecessors and that negligible change will steam up the windows for their eager buyers.


I barely understand any of the functions on my phone, including the right kind of manual dexterity needed to turn it on and hang it up. I have burned up more minutes of dead air space than I care to remember on my I-phone because I have to think about the right kind and precise amount of finger pressure to apply to the right areas of the phone just to hang up the phone.


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This particular skill set has never been an issue for those of us who go back to ancient times of rotary dial one-phone-line homes where slamming a phone down on a receiver to disconnect the line was easy and kind of fun under the right circumstances.




Consequently I will never get real excited about the debut of a new cell phone in any tangible way. For me a phone was never intended to be a hobby or a way of life and I can never envision any time in my life when I will eagerly attend a phone show. Not without a pre-frontal lobotomy in my case.




The kind of excitement generated by new cell phones is a perverse and sad version of the kind of excitement that used to be generated by new car models for me in my younger years.




The same cannot be said for new phones and it will never be true for new phones in my case.


I will always understand the appeal of now-old cars that were once new in my world.



I will never understand the appeal of new cell phones unless they put little fins on them.


Jim Sutherland

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