My love/hate relationship with my new smartphone has been well documented across these pages over the past few months.
I don’t need to know the weather forecast for the planet Mars so, no, I don’t care if there’s an app for that. I don’t want Google to be tracking my physical location as I drive across the metropolitan Chicagoland area. I keep turning the GPS feature off and vendors from lumberyards to pizza places start whining they can’t easily alert me to their proximity from my current location. Get over it. Do you have an app for that?
Have you heard the one about the guy who goes storming into his local phone store with smartphone in hand, earphones in the other and fury on his face? The young lady across the counter doesn’t need a GPS feature to see Frustration marching towards her.
“Good Afternoon. May I help you?”
The guy tells her what he really thinks about the quality of their phone now sitting helplessly on the counter between them. He continues. “For hundreds of dollars, you’d think this Ferrari of a phone would have earphones that work.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. Would you show me and maybe I can help.”
“Phone”, he says, picking up the frightened device. “Earphones”, picking up the fancy-dancy bit of white wire and their designer ear buds. (and what in the name of all that’s holy is an ear bud? Sounds like a disease) Guy continues, “I put jack into phone – and there’s only one jack. I’ve read the book and I’ve looked. See? Nuthin.”
“May I call your number and watch what happens?”
Smugly, guy replies, “By all means” as he smiles to himself thinking this sales associate, however polite, is going down in 3, 2, 1. “See, I’m answering but I can’t hear a thing. Can you hear me?”
Without saying a word, she gently reaches over to the phone and pushes on the plug already in the jack. As she does, guy feels a tiny little click which apparently is there to tell you the jack is in place.
“Yes, sir. I can hear you now. Can you?”
Even against the deafening roar of blood rushing to his cheeks, the customer replied, “Yes, now I can hear you”.
Sales person smiles and with no hint of malice or exasperation, hands him the phone. “Will there be anything else?”
“No, that ought to about do it. Thank you…” Wanting to say more while wanting nothing less than being somewhere else – anywhere else, he backs towards the door and spends the rest of the day with earphones draped around his neck like a graduation day honor cord in case someone calls. They do. And he used the earphones with their sleek inline microphone and it was good. Bragging to others he is speaking to them through his smartphones earphone may have happened once or twice through the rest of the day. There is no app for that.
As you’ve no doubt deduced, the indignant phone user was me. I can’t remember being that embarrassed in quite a while. And adding insult to no injury other than my 21st century male ego, I envisioned a co-worker asking the woman who took care of me, “What was that all about?”
“Oh nothing…third one today.”
Apps are tools, elements designed to do things in conjunction with other components. But as interactive as they protest to be, they are inert. They need our participation to activate them. That’s phone store speak for, “Hey, marbles-for-brains. You got to plug it in for them to work”.
I may not always think so, but I believe I was born with everything I am ever going to need already loaded into the package. It doesn’t mean I know everything – or ever will. It does not mean I won’t benefit from plugging into the others all around me every day. And it does not mean I’m stupid or ‘less than’ if I can’t hear what the Cosmos is trying to tell me. Maybe you’re like me. Sometimes I need that last little push to get up just one more time before it all goes ‘click’.
Be persistent. I can wish nothing more for you this week that’s as big as that one little word. You could be so very close to having earphones that work and won’t even know it if you don’t push one more time. Who knows, you may well be amazed at the results. At which time, that’ll be me coming up from these pages asking, “Can you hear me now?”
Smiling, you say “yes”.
Be kind to each other this week and thanks for listening. I’m out.
And now a few musical bits of shorthand from my week:
Current Favorite Toe-Tapper for the Summertime:
paramour ~ ain’t it fun
And you remember my dying sound machine/radio? It came on all by itself the other night a half beat before this track began playing. The song finished and the radio went dark. It was the first popular song of mine my classically trained musician of a father told me he liked (circa mid-80’s). My jaw dropped. I never forgot. It was good of him to stop by. Thanks.
david benoit ~ freedom at midnight
And for the one I’m missing the most, a shared favorite from Celtic Thunder. Kuuipo.
celtic thunder ~ caledonia
Jimmy Yves Newman
(August 29, 1927 – June 21, 2014)
Better known as Jimmy C. Newman (the C stands for Cajun), he was an American singer and a long time star of the Grand Ole Opry. He was 86
Jimmy C. Newman was the first Cajun singer to be asked to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Ironically, the invitation, which came in 1956, was due to his country hits, like “Cry, Cry, Darling’,” “Daydreamin’,” “Blue Darlin’,” and “God Was So Good.” Jimmy C. —the “C,” he says, stands for “Cajun” — says that as a youngster his musical repertoire included as much music from Gene Autry as it did the Cajun music from his home state. He performed Cajun music with Chuck Guillory’s Rhythm Boys when he was still a teenager, recording his first records in 1946 in his native French patois. You can read more about him by jumping to: http://www.opry.com/artist/jimmy-c-newman
Other source material: http://www.tennessean.com/story/entertainment/music/2014/06/22/jimmy-c-newman-obituary/11232265/?from=global&sessionKey=&autologin=; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_C._Newman And article (with photo) by Billboard’s Chuck Dauphin | June 22, 2014 1:03 PM EDT: http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/the-615/6128715/grand-ole-opry-star-jimmy-c-newman-dies-at-86
Fun Fact: He was an important mentor to Hall, telling the future Country Music Hall of Famer that success is like a bird: If you hold it too tight, you’ll kill it. If you don’t hold it tight enough, it’ll fly away.” It was Newman who offered a boost to talented teenager Dolly Parton, allowing her to take part of his allotted “Friday Night Opry” stage time in 1959 so that she could make her debut on the show.
SOURCES, PHOTO CREDITS and ATTRIBUTIONS:
Banner Coastal Redwood Forest by Eric E Photography is used with permission.
Smartphone Frustration: http://www.megansweb.com.au/wordcamp-melbourne/mobile-first-james-banks-wordcamp-melbourne-2013/;
Frustrated Customer: http://blog.talkdesk.com/common-customer-support-frustrations-and-how-to-avoid-them; Light-bulb-—-plug-in-Creativityprocess-small: http://freewritingtips.wyliecomm.com/2010/10/funny-formulas/; 0407JP-APPI-NESS-articleLarge: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/07/fashion/appily-ever-after-the-smartphone-as-shrink.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
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