Seeing that I work hard (OK, long) hours, I occasionally (OK, often) treat myself to an ice cream from the local Dairy Queen There's not much I like better than a cone of chocolate-dipped soft ice cream.
Medium, please., but they knew that already.
As difficult as it is to fathom, even that luscious ice cream has its downside. I really get irritated when I get near the end and, while removing the piece paper that allegedly keeps other people's germs off my cone, a sliver of paper stays where some machine had placed a spot of glue.
Now what? Do I discard the rest of the cone and its contents — more soft, cold, delicious ice cream? Do I surgically remove the paper and glue and hope the cone stays together? Or do I call it fiber and eat away. What a conundrum.
And who knows what's in that glue?
Everyone knows that last bite is the best bite of all, with half-melted ice cream soaking into the sugary cone. Oh no. I'll be back soon.
(30 minutes later) I know what your thinking: "Is this all he's got to worry about?"
Well, no, but this space is not where I want to air my dirty laundry. I've got (stand by for seguay) Facebook for that!
Remember life before Facebook? How about before cell phones? Barely. I mean, how did we record all that history without phone cams?
I am a card-carrying technology fool. I have an iPhone, an iPad, an iMac and an i ... dang, I forgot what that last "i" does. If I leave home without my cell, I will go back and get it. Every time. No matter what. It's bad.
My first cell phone, in the 90s, was a Nokia.. It was some 6 inches long., but at the time it was super compact and high-tech. It didn't weigh a pound like those "brick" phones. My calling plan included 30 minutes of talk time! I tried to convince myself that I'd never use all 30 minutes in a month. Little did I realize that you could burn up a minute just by dialing a wrong number, or even a busy number.. Don't know what "busy" means? We'll get to that later.
The first month, I exceeded my allotted time by several minutes. Those over-limit minutes were priced like gold bullion.
Fast-forward to unlimited talk time. Now THAT'S progress. We just don't realize or care that the companies are getting their money up front. Now there's unlimited texting and data packages. Who in 1975 knew we'd be able to surf the Internet? on our phones? Who in 1975 even knew there would be an Internet?
Sometimes I long for the days when one could "get away" from the phone; when if someone called, we could answer it, or not. I think people today expect us to be reachable 24/7, and why not? We are, aren't we?
Glossary of out-of-date communications terms:
1. Busy: That irritating beeping sound I usually heard when I tried to call home when my sisters were home. They could tie up the line for hours. My calls were always more important. Like, "What's for dinner?"
2. Rotary dial: Ancient numbering system developed by the Myans to connect two phones. This was a technology wonder that would eventually replace telephone operators.
3. Telephone operators: Those nasally voiced ladies (why were they all ladies?) who connected us manually and then listened to our conversations..
4. Coiled handset cord: When extended, this telephone umbilical could wrap around several small appliances and snake through three doors, all in the name of privacy, which, coincidentally, could never be achieved when one had four siblings.
5. Party line: Certainly not what you're thinking if you're under age 45. On a party line, one shared their phone wires with one or more neighbors — usually a relative who would also listen in on all of your conversations.
6. Extension line: A second (or third, if you were really rich) phone in the home. It always had a 75-foot cord (see No. 4) and was blue, for some reason. It was like a party line at home, so your little brother could listen to you and your girlfriend chat, or you could listen to your older brother and his girlfriend. Funny how we thought if we picked it up very slowly, the other people wouldn't hear the electronic click sound it always made.
7. Dial tone: That odd noise that cleared the way for you to dial you girlfriend's number. Who came up with that sound anyway?
8. Courtesy: Meaning you don't answer the phone (or text message) at the dinner table, or you let it ring while you have company on the front porch.
9. Front porch: The secret place I hide from the world and can be technology free, if I choose to be. It's also a very good place to enjoy an ice cream cone.
Writer James Mulcahy
spent 35 years as a newspaper journalist at small and large papers. He is currently a freelance photographer/writer/graphics designer, and he drives a school bus.