Would anyone buy something called a stupidphone?

September 20, 2011

We’ve all had those embarrassing moments. Heck, even the Queen of England has her share. It’s not uncommon to be caught laughing with a mouth full of food, except if you are a royal.

Everyone has breached some form of etiquette at some time. OK, maybe I’ve had my share too. Who hasn’t left the house wearing two different kinds of shoes? I should have noticed the furtive glances from my co-workers, but I just thought it was the usual Monday morning warnings over the usual picky stuff, like teeth marks on the petty cash box and complaints of plagiarism.

But, we all kind of expect it. Most of the time, the episode has some link from an incident during those childhood years. Now that we are adults, hopefully we’ve gotten past that experience; unfortunately our brains are programmed to remind us of this episode about every five seconds we are out in public. It never ends, like that telephone voice that tells you to hold and a representative will be with you momentarily.

So, I really wasn’t thinking I was causing an embarrassing stir when I answered my cellphone recently. The sight of a phone that was just a phone, nothing else, was enough for my daughter to call around to sanitariums, whispering about cost plans and pretending she was speaking with caterers over the price of chicken parmesan.

My grandchildren were the kindest of all, gasping in curiosity and excitement. In fact, quite a fight broke out to see who got to examine the cellphone first.

“You mean this device is just a phone?” their friends asked, wanting to clarify the purpose of the device. They handled it like it was a live hand grenade they found on the beach.

The ring tone especially was a shock to everyone. Actually I had chosen a quiet, melodic tune, thinking it wouldn’t be offensive. I don’t think it was necessary for them to play it over and over, though. Some of them couldn’t get up off the floor, holding their abdomens and wiping tears from their eyes. In my defense I should say, it was either a version of “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree” or the sound of a train bearing down on you; honestly they were the only ring tone choices at the time.

So I decided to check out what is called a smartphone - why would anyone buy something called a stupidphone? I also looked at others or at least some version of this, like the Droid or Blackberry. Yeah, these are names I am comfortable with, and I’m a crew member of the Starship Enterprise too.

See, the problem with these phones is they have a lot of knowledge; knowledge that I will never obtain.

To me they are like cats and you know I love cats, but I also am afraid of them because they know things about me. I can tell they are judging me just by the disdain on their face when I enter a room.

You know they act all haughty and everything, arching their back and putting their noses up in the air. The cats like to gossip; that’s why I’m a marked man in front of them. I really do like them, honest.

So I went to one of these phone stores. The salesperson was very sympathetic, almost in tears when she saw my cell phone. We went through the various devices. Apparently they can do everything including changing your clothes, wiping your nose and feeding you once you don a plastic bib with a drawing of a lobster on it.

These things are not only phones, but friends, best pals, so to speak. I simply breathed on the display model and it informed me my reservation on an airline with two first-class tickets to Acapulco was confirmed.

Yeah, eventually I caved and am going to join the masses and get one of these devices. In the meantime, I always carry my fake iPhone; it does have a screen photo of Alfred E. Neuman though, which might be a giveaway.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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