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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

From my Front Porch

Thursday, August 1, 2002

Cell phones, aka *ell phones

In all honesty, have you actually read your cell phone manual? Do you really know what all those buttons and such on your phone are really for? Do you really? If the answer to any of those questions is yes, then you are probably not from this planet.

Every time we turn around, the manufacturers of these phones are coming up with something more wonderful than before, and we are made to feel compelled to purchase the said convenience.

The only fellow I know who has actually read a cell phone manual in its entirety is a local gentleman who makes a living selling cell phones. But he cheated, sort of, because he was required to attend various training sessions in order to become completely indoctrinated to the various intricacies of cell phone usage. And even he probably doesn't have all the answers.

How could he? For one thing, he is not a teen-ager.

While I was growing up, my family didn't even have a regular telephone until I was 7 or 8 years old, and then it was a black rotary wall model. All you had to do was pick up the receiver, listen for the dial tone, dial your number (which, I have to admit, took quite a bit of effort compared to the ease of use with today's models), listen for the ringing, and then converse. Period.

Granted, cell phones or *ell phones, as I jokingly refer to them, are convenient but just way too complicated, as far as I am concerned. I tend to be a hands-on person; so reading the manual and the directions is pretty pointless without actually physically going through the explained procedure, time after time. Basically, I just have to live and learn and practice.

One evening while traveling alone, my cell phone rang. If talking on a cell phone while driving is considered dangerous, then looking for a ringing cell phone while driving is just plain suicidal.

But I was concerned. What if it was a family member in need? Not that I could have been of much help. I was hundreds of miles away, but a mom is a mom.

After I finally did find my phone, I tried to figure out who had just called me. Since my 14-year-old daughter, who is the family phone expert, was not with me, I had to resort to a plan B. The most obvious of which would have been to just call home, but my mind doesn't always lean toward the obvious or the logical.

So I pulled into the drive-through lane of a fast food restaurant, placed an order, and then drove up to the payment window.

After I paid for my order I asked the clerk, who looked to be not much older than 14 herself, if she knew anything about cell phones. As I suspected she would, she did, and right then and there in the drive-through lane of a Knoxville, Tennessee, Wendy's fast food restaurant, I received a much-needed lesson in technology 101 and cell phone call logs.

To my relief, there was no crisis, just a lonesome fellow back home calling to say hello.

I recently purchased a new telephone for my office. It does just about everything except bring you your morning coffee. Our telephone expert has four more years before she heads off to college, which gives her just enough time to educate me on the finer points of this particular telephone. I think I'll go ahead and order my cap and gown.