Monday, June 25, 2007

COLUMN: Cellular

So last week, I wrote a column about my chosen hobby career as a weekend club DJ. Namely, I provided some rules of thumb to follow when approaching the DJ booth to make a request. You, the club-going consumer, wants to hear a song. Me, the club-dwelling DJ, will most likely play it for you, if (a) it's a good song, and (b) you're not interrupting me in the middle of important DJ stuff like cueing up a song, beat mixing, or scoring phone numbers off cute girls.

Well, it turns out that, silly me, I left one important rule of thumb out of last week's column:


My omission of this rule was kindly pointed out by a girl at the bar this past Saturday, who showed me the err of my ways by -- you guessed it -- attempting to set a full drink on an imaginary shelf in my booth, causing her margarita to pour over the club's mixer, a book of my CD's, my cell phone, and my right shoe. In that order.

Happily, the equipment wasn't too badly damaged. That's because, in a last-ditch kamikaze act of bravery and discipline, my equipment was protected by my cell phone, which jumped into the line of fire and took the blunt force of the tasty beverage head on. It died instantly.

Well, if only it had died instantly. Instead, it kept trying in its death throes to turn on. The happy little Verizon logo would come on, then static, then a bright orange light that refused to shut off. Being an acclaimed master of every nervous habit imaginable, I have stubs for fingernails. So imagine, if you will, neurotic ol' me in the DJ booth, trying to mop up a spill, clean out a mixer, DJ to a packed dancefloor, air out my shoe, and get my non-existent fingernails under the dealy to pop out the phone battery... all at the same time. It was a losing battle, and my cell phone was the innocent victim.

I hoped in desperation that it just needed to dry out... but by the next morning, the flashing words "SERVICE REQUIRED" had sealed the deal. My contact list? Gone. Videos? Pics? Ringtones? Gone. My phone was dead; long live my phone.

Even worse was the discovery the next day that my phone was an outdated model no longer being sold. Not only was I phone-less, I now needed to start over from scratch.

There's hardly anything more evil than a cell phone store. You walk in to signs and banners proclaiming insanely cheap rates, unlimited reception, and an awe-inspiring Network, whatever that's supposed to mean.

What you REALLY discover inside the store is that your phone, and your entire knowledge base of communications, is woefully inadequate. New models of cell phones, each proclaiming some exciting new technological advance, come out roughly every 8.5 minutes, ensuring that whatever phone you buy will be outmoded, obsolete, and irrelevant by the time you get it home.

This is why I'm the proud new owner of a Palm Treo.

Phones are for sissy boys. I now have a pocket telecommunications empire. It's not a phone -- it's a day planner, word processor, broadband modem, web browser, mp3 player, camera, and e-mail hub that also incidentally allows you to make phone calls as an afterthought. I'm just not sure exactly HOW yet.

When I got the thing home, I was excited to see a complimentary phone book included at no extra charge -- until I realized it's not a phone book, it's the INSTRUCTION MANUAL.

But I don't care. I am at the top of my electronic game. I sit at the forefront of technological empowerment. Now I can schedule important appointments with... umm... my cats. Now I can surf the net and write my columns on-the-go. If only I ever went anywhere. Or had waif-like pixie hands, which appear to be the only things small enough to effectively work the World's Smallest Keyboard.

So what if it gives me carpal tunnel and probably emits enough radiation to cook an egg? So what if it has a million features that I guarantee I'll never use? IT PLAYS SOLITAIRE. How cool is THAT? And yes, the monthly charges are so much that I'll soon be evicted and impoverished, sure. But hey, I'll be able to track my descent into bankruptcy with its handy mobile Excel spreadsheet, and with the onboard GPS, it can direct me to the cardboard box of my choice where I can live out my glory days playing Tetris and annoying my friends with endless streams of text messages.

Now if it can just buy me a new right shoe, I'll be a happy guy.

1 comment:

emilene said...

You are too funny. I do wonder a little bit about you writing "You, the club-going consumer..." You write for the Dispatch, right? I'm pretty sure the only "club" the average Dispatch reader is real familiar with is the AARP. Maybe the VFW. But other than that, great column!