Friday Report: Scrubbed data
June 14, 2013
My wife called me on a landline and said, "You didn't take your cellphone."
I patted my pocket, "Right you are. Keep an eye on the slippery little thing and I'll be home soon."
"I washed it."
"You washed it. You mean you cleaned the screen?"
"No, I mean I washed it like a pair of underwear. Then it banged around like a rock in the dryer for a few minutes before I fished it out."
Guys know that the wrong response could be costly. For instance, upon hearing this news, you could roar like a pirate, "Aaarrgh, wench, how could ye be so careless?"
While tempting, this response has three significant flaws. First, it's a little demeaning, secondly she might have a cutlass and finally, she'll only throw back at you, "Remember when you _______________(fill in the blank)?"
The next natural guy response is to ask some dumb question, "Why did you wash my phone?" for instance, is simply begging for some sharp reply because nobody in their right mind would deliberately wash their phone unless they were a former Qwest employee.
"Jeepers," I finally said after several deep and controlled breaths, "That's a bummer. What were you thin . . ." I almost blurted before catching myself.
She beat me to the punch, "What were you thinking, carrying your phone around in your pajamas? Especially when I told you I was doing laundry today."
Whenever I am faced with life's imponderables, I turn to Google where I flagged down 17,481,726 passersby in less than a tenth of a second. Half of them wanted to sell me a male enhancement product, the other half wanted me to pull out the battery and bury the phone in rice for several days to draw out the moisture. I guess the rice thing is because if your phone dies, you drop off the face of the earth and you'll probably lose your job, but at least you'll have a month's worth of side dishes.
So I went out like a newly-arrived Chinese immigrant clutching my little bag of rice with my phone inside. After carrying it around for a week, I shook away all the little rice grains, plugged the battery in and pressed the 'on' button. Half of the phone worked perfectly. Half did not, remaining dark and lifeless.
"You plugged it in too soon," my wife announced smugly, happy to blame me for the waterlogged condition. On to new Verizons.
Things started poorly at Verizon. "I don't want a smart phone because I like to assume an air of superiority over my appliances," I said, staring at the pimple in the middle of the clerk's adolescent forehead.
His eyes widened, "But what will you stare at endlessly to avoid all human contact? What would you do without a touch-screen in front of your nose? Is there life without YouTube? Don't you understand that without a smart phone, you might find yourself unable to avoid a real conversation with another person? What would you do with something that wasn't a smart phone?"
"I would make phone calls," I said.
He stared for a few seconds as if appraising his first Pilgrim, "Uh, I think we still have one. I'll rummage through the back and see if I can find it."
"Make that a waterproof model, if you have it."