Cell Phones and Dumb Folks

7-4-2014 1-02-37 PMCell phones not only make me feel stupid, they are constantly buzzing, singing or speaking and destroying my peace and tranquility. Every time my phone buzzes, I jump. I think that a bumblebee is in my pants. My cell phone is one that you might purchase at a five and dime store if they were still around. Its black with a flip cover and all I have to do is say “hello” to answer. I’m still working on that. When I pull out my cell phone people giggle and point. “Dude, you carry that around?” It reminds me of when I was a kid and wearing overalls with my pant legs rolled up several turns. Kids would laugh at me. But there was logic behind my dress. I could wear the overalls the following year after I’d grown a few inches and more importantly, I could show off my new socks that Mama had bought for me. My phone does several tricks, but they are a mystery to me. One day, I was going to take a call and it took my picture. Sometimes it will ring and sometimes it won’t. I have to sit in a certain chair in my house to communicate. Sometimes I’ll be talking and later realize that I’ve been talking to myself the last five minutes.

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Then there is texting. I refuse to participate in such a mindless form of communication. It reminds me of passing notes in the 2nd grade. The only difference, back then we could actually spell “wrat” and “kat.” My daughter Shannon likes to text me. I never respond.

I spent many dull hours in Mrs. Grady Pepper’s English class at Athens High School, eyes glazed over and thinking about the attractive blonde in the next row, while she explained nouns and verbs. If you were ever called to the blackboard by Mrs. Pepper to diagram a sentence and didn’t know a subject from a verb, you’ll never forget it. It was embarrassing. Nowadays, spelling correctly is irrelevant, not to mention the proper use of nouns and verbs. If you have a finger, you can text. Later generations (if they haven’t all died in car accidents while texting) will lose the ability to speak and write the English language. Maybe it won’t matter since Spanish will have replaced English.

Then there are apps that people talk about breathlessly like it is a newborn baby. “Oh, my app tells me the weather, gives me directions and sends pictures.” Recently, my good friend (and sometimes redhead) Pat got an iPhone. Now instead of talking to me and telling me what a great hunk I am, she baby talks in single syllables to a computer generated female voice named Siri! “Ser—rie”—“call”— “Lee”—“Sha.”

“Lisa?” asked Siri.

“No — it’s Lee—Sha,” replies Pat. Sometimes I think that she believes that Siri is a real person. I love Siri’s voice. It’s real smoky and sexy like a gal I once met at the bar at Hoppers. I used to wonder if Siri is a blonde or brunette. One day while Pat was absent I picked up her iPhone and asked a simple question. “Siri, are you blonde or brunette?”

“Please repeat.“ Dumb answer. I figure she’s blonde.

It has been reported that overuse of cell phones can cause brain cancer. I don’t believe it. If true, most of my female acquaintances would be in the hospital or dead.
I have other complaints. Recently, I was talking with a friend about George Washington crossing the Delaware during the American Revolution. Instead of hearing me out, he immediately punched his smart phone and said, “Yeah, it was December 25 through 26, 1776.” I wanted to say, “If that smarty phone is so darn smart, ask it the PSI pressure, color and molecular structure of flatulence produced after a 300 pound man eats a twelve ounce can of pork and beans!” Answer me that, smarty-pants phone!

Why do we accept information acquired from the Internet as authoritative? Who are these faceless people who put information on the web? What are their credentials? Could they diagram a sentence in Mrs. Pepper’s English class?

Christmas before last, Pat gave me an electronic traffic map device that attaches to the dash of my Toyota pick-up. I thanked her, but I didn’t understand why anyone who can read a road map and highway signs needs such a gizmo.

“It has a compass and shows you directions,” she said. Folks, don’t ever get in a moving vehicle operated by a person who needs a compass to drive. I spoke to the device and a woman named Jean replied. We departed Acworth, Georgia bound for North Carolina, and were routed through subdivisions, back yards and alleyways. I dog cussed her.

“Turn- around- at- next- intersection,” Jean instructed.

“Shut up, ignoramus.”


I like Facebook. It offers everyone – rich or poor – the means of demonstrating their ignorance to the world, and at the same time communicating important information. Recently, I saw this: “my kat is sicplese pray.” I must confess, I’m guilty too. My new rule is never get on Facebook after cocktail hour.

While my daughter Shannon was visiting from Taos, New Mexico, she accompanied me to see my cardiologist. I was wound tighter than a five-string banjo. The thought that my heart could stop beating at any second was sobering. Just as I crossed the railroad tracks in Huntsville, a train whistle blew. “Oh my God! Train!” I stomped the accelerator and jumped the tracks. My heart was pounding like a snare drum. “Whew, that was close,” I said. Shannon burst out laughing. We had almost been hit by a freight and she was laughing. “What’s so darn funny?” I asked. “Dad, that was my cell phone.”

Like I said. Cell phones make me feel stupid.
By: Jerry Barksdale