All I wanted was a new cell phone

By Bruce Stambaugh

All I really wanted was a new cell phone. The battery of the old one was about to give up the ghost.

When I say “old one,” I mean the cell phone I got just two years ago. I liked the phone because it was just what I wanted in a cell phone. It was simple, easy to use, slim, and fit snuggly in my right front pocket, where I keep my cell phone.

About a month before I was eligible to get a new, free phone, according to my contract, the battery quit holding a charge. I can’t imagine that dropping the phone onto the concrete floor of the garage had anything to do with that.

Besides the battery issue, my phone also talked to me, which I found annoying. I would bend over to tie my shoe, and a woman’s voice would spontaneously say from the inside of my pocket, “Please say a command.” She kept it up until I could find the clear button.

My wife was due for a new phone as well. Hers was much older than mine. A year in human time is an eternity by technology standards.

Leary of the national service provider retail stores, we prefer to use the local dealer. We recognize we sacrifice selection for service in doing so. But that’s just fine with us.

The young clerk at the store was friendly and helpful, and cast no disparaging comments my way when I said that all I wanted was a phone. However, she did look a little puzzled. So I thought I owed her an explanation.

Before I could begin, my wife, who has heard the pitch before, interjected that she preferred a phone that would make it easy for her to send text messages. The young sales woman quickly reached into the counter and pulled out a couple of phones, and demonstrated how they slid open.

My wife was almost giddy. Other than the color, either of the phones was just what she wanted.

The clerk returned her attention to me. I resumed my religious stance on cell phones.

“I just want a phone to make and receive calls,” I said simply. “I don’t text. I don’t want the Internet because of the additional cost. I don’t take pictures with my phone, and I don’t tweet.” My wife would have disputed the last point had we not been in a public setting.

Given my strict phone constraints, I only had two choices. I picked the one that best fit in my front pocket, even though it had a camera in it. My old phone did, too, and I never used it. I have a camera.

We arrived home with our new phones a short time later. As I walked up the front stairs, I heard a strange clicking noise like a camera going off in my front pocket. I took another step, and heard another click.

By the time I had reached the top of the steps, I already had two shots of the inside of my pocket. And I hadn’t even made a call.

I couldn’t figure out how this had happened until I discovered that the button that activates the camera was on the outside of the phone. I have no idea why the camera went off, other than to guess that the activation button was more sensitive than I was.

In short order, I figured out how to delete the pair of solid black shots. Apparently the flash comes separately.

Author: Bruce Stambaugh

Writer, marketer, columnist, author, photographer, birder, walker, hiker, husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, township trustee, converted Anabaptist, community activist, my life is crammed with all things people and nature and wonder. My late father gave me this penchant for giving and getting the most out of life, my late mother the courtesy, kindness, and creativity to see the joy in life. They both taught me to cherish the people I am with. I try and fail and try again.

6 thoughts on “All I wanted was a new cell phone”

  1. I’ve had the same tricks happen to me with my cell phone… bend over = picture taken, handle it sligthly wrong and it demands a command…
    I’m pondering texting on my next phone because some folks are as adamant in favor of texting as I am against it…. a little flexibility now and then makes for a few more smiles… now and then 🙂 I wonder if I can set it up to receive only GOOD NEWS! ?


  2. Your column has been the highlight of my day so far, Bruce! Keeping up with technology is becoming more and more difficult. So far we’ve resisted getting a data plan. I’ve stopped resisting texting although Mike’s holding out on that point. A lot of my colleagues text so I felt I had to get some kind of plan so it wouldn’t cost me an arm and a leg when they send me texts. Tell Neva to text me sometime!!


    1. Dianne,

      I’m glad to hear that my column at least helped somebody today, although I’m not sure I really want to know what all you got into today either. Tell Mike to hold the line, and I’ll tell Neva to next you.




  3. I’m really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it�s rare to see a nice blog like this one today..


    1. Alex,

      Thank you so much for your nice words. I am glad you like the blog. The blog template that I use is Pilcrow. However, I do the sizing and placement of the pics in the blog text, and the header shot is always mine, too. Thanks, again.



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