Thursday, March 25, 2010

FOR ONLY $19.95...

My son, Jared, bought his wife, Dayna, an I Touch for her birthday today. They were over here trying to get it figured out this afternoon. Nothing is more annoying than a new toy you don't know how to play with yet. All the gizmos these days have so many options, almost no one has them all mastered. Give me a basic cell phone with the texting option, calendaring option and an alarm option and I'm good to go. Two or three years ago I held my breath and cancelled the home phone. It was hard to let it go (what if we missed an important call??), but it dawned on us that for months the only calls we got were telemarketers or wrong numbers. Kyle had a cell phone by then, so no longer did we need to make the mad dash to the phone to hear: "Is Kyle there?"

If my phone rings at night, I know it'll be a dire emergency, but kid's phones and texts are beeping all the time. I've actually heard Kyle's phone beep...he twitches and reaches out in his sleep, responds to it, and rolls back over without even hitting consciousness. Nik cannot get enough options on his phone. He can tell who is calling and texting without moving a muscle, because he's assigned and recognizes 200 different tunes he's downloaded. There is a setting where it goes on silence while you know you'll be at Church or in a meeting, then it comes back on automatically, almost psychic-like. The craziest thing is, he used to set an alarm to go off about 9 p.m. each day...just so he would know it was 9 p.m. The only reason I'd ever want a home phone any more is to call my cell phone when I've mislaid it. (Now THERE is an option I'd pay for.) I was raised with a party-line system. You and three other people in town shared one phone line. Mrs. Powell was 4 rings, ours was 3, Grandma Rice's was 2, and Someone-I-Forget was the single ring. If you picked it up and someone was talking, you just had to wait. It was considered bad form, even rude, to call someone just to "chat."

Last year I qualified for a new phone and picked out a cute red one. Nik was excited because it had a "qwerty" keyboard. I got rid of it after a couple of weeks, because who wants a keyboard with the letters all in a different place and keys so small you have to use a q-tip to type on them? And the fonts! Do they think no one over 50 uses these things? My current phone is set to a "large" font and I all but have to carry a magnifying glass around in my back pocket. As for being able to download a movie to watch on your phone, are you kidding? (Remember those pin's heads that had the entire Lord's Prayer etched on them?) If I want to watch a movie, a 32" screen suits me way better than a 1 1/2 inch one. There aren't enough pixels in the world, nor enough high def, to make that a fun idea. (I can hear that on the farm: "I'm borrrred. I'm going to download a movie on my phone." Response: "If you have time to be bored, there's a field out there thick with thistles. Here's a shovel!"

And speaking about gizmos, how about those tv ads? For $19.95!!, YOU can have in your own little fat hand: 1-a magical pen in a kit that will remove scratches from your car INSTANTLY; 2-a tool that holds an egg and has a prong that will reach down inside the egg BEFORE you crack it and scramble the yoke so you don't have to waste time doing that in a pan; 3-a pet brush/tool that will magically remove ALL loose hair, "like the professionals use", and as an added extra, a pad that will make your cat want to scratch his own claws off! 4-a kitchen knife that will cut through bones like BUTTER then slice through a fresh tomato, cut through a steel bolt and a one-inch rubber shoe! Does that not scare you out of your mind? What if you accidently dropped this thing on your toe or forgot to remove your finger in time while chopping the salad? Keep it away from me! BUT, you will have to admit that for 20 seconds you know you need each of these items and ought to order it before they rescind the offer. To seal the deal, the voice says "BUT if you order within the next 20 minutes, you will get not just one, but TWO of these wonderful items you cannot live without!" Let me run and find a pen and right back.

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