'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
WIRELESS GIZMOS AND PHANTOM PHONE CALLS
Recently I’ve been having some rather strange conversations. Someone will say, “How are you doing?” and instinctively I’ll reply, “Fine, how are you?”
Then when I look to see who it is I’m talking to, I realize the other person is indeed talking, but he’s not talking to me. He is standing there talking…to thin air.
When I look a bit closer, I see the culprit: one of those little Star Trek devices stuck in his ear. (Do you remember Lt. Uhura on the show? She had what appeared to be a car cigarette lighter stuck in her ear, but it allowed her to converse with the entire universe.)
It turns out the other guy is actually having a cell phone conversation using a wireless hands-free gizmo. I believe “gizmo” is the official technical term adopted by the high-tech communications industry. Either that or “do-hicky.”
Occasionally, before I have a chance to walk away embarrassed, the other person says, “Hang on a minute, Fred.” Then he turns toward me and says, “What’s your problem, pal? Haven’t you ever seen someone talking on the phone?”
“Yes,” I answer, “but usually when I see someone talking on the phone, I can actually SEE A PHONE!”
At that point, our brief encounter concludes as we walk in opposite directions and mutter in unison, “Jerk.”
I remember the first time I ever had one of these phantom conversations. It was almost a decade ago, when cell phones were just becoming commonplace. I went into a men’s room at a highway rest area, and as I sat in one of the stalls, the person in the other stall—the only other person in the men’s room, by the way—suddenly said, “Hi, I’ve been wanting to talk to you.”
Immediately I broke out in a cold sweat. All bodily functions in progress stopped instantly. I was too stunned to say anything in reply.
Then the other person gave a little laugh and said, “Well, I’ve got something very interesting I’d like to show you.”
I wanted to jump up and flee, but I wasn’t quite ready to move—if you get my drift. A thousand panicky thoughts raced through my mind. Should I yell for help? What if he has a weapon? Will I be able to defend myself with a ballpoint pen and car keys?
Just as I was ready to shout, “Please mister, leave me alone!” I heard the man speak again. He said, “Yeah, Dave, it’s a spreadsheet with our monthly sales figures. It simplifies the whole process. You’re gonna love it.”
Then it dawned on me: Cell phone! He’s not a homicidal pervert, he’s just an obnoxious businessman! I let out such a sigh of relief it sounded like a moan, and probably caused the other guy to think I was suffering from severe intestinal distress. (Which, come to think of it, I was. It’s not healthy when abject terror causes certain bodily functions to halt suddenly.)
So now it’s not uncommon for people seemingly to talk to themselves, something I’ve been doing, by the way, since long before the invention of cell phones.
Now when someone observes me having an animated conversation with no one around, they don’t think I’m weird—that is, until they notice there is no gizmo in my ear. And it probably doesn’t help any when I say out loud to myself, “Hang on a minute, Bill,” and then turn toward the other person and say, “What’s your problem, pal? Haven’t you ever seen someone talking to himself?”
I pay no attention when he mutters, “Jerk.”
|Home||Current Faith||Current Funnies||Faith Archive||Funnies Archive||Contact Bill|