Monday, May 14, 2012

Fairy Dusted

I'm really getting to adore this modern technology. I spent years trying to tell people that all they had to do in order to use email was get a computer, sign up for a dial up connection and they'd be in. I was always thrilled when I got something from one of my brothers or sisters. "Look," I'd say to Marilyn. "We got mail and best of all it's free." It didn't cost us a thing. Yeah, right.
Now I get my email both at home and on my not-so-smart phone. Every few minutes during the day I now get unbelievable deals right in my pocket, all kinds of new and different ways to save money on shoes and siding and furniture and the latest joke to be circling the globe.Just yesterday I was huffing and puffing while hoisting a sweep auger into a grain bin. Then it happened, I got an advertisement for a "spot cooler" on my phone. How did they know I was sweating?
I also received notification by the newspaper in Omaha that texting or sending a picture with your smart phone is not the best way to contact a 911 operator. Yes, I stared at the grain bin wall for a bit. A picture! How would you accomplish that feat? "Dear 911, in the attached photo please find the picture of my right hand and notice also that it is no longer attached to my right arm. Please send an ambulance." Later in the hospital you'll come to realize that it's a good thing you're left-handed or you couldn't have sent the text.
I was warned about even wading off into the dark and murky waters of smart phones. My sons use them but when I called and said, "Dan, Marilyn and I can buy one and get one free, what do you think?" After a long and awkward pause he said, "Uh, Dad, there's a pretty steep learning curve when you go to these phones. Are you sure you have the patience for this?" Then I yelled, no, spoke forcefully into the phone and said, "What the heck is that supposed to mean?" I'm not sure but I think he quietly said to himself, "precisely."
We've been inventing new words ever since we made the plunge. I will tell Marilyn, "Your phone just Droided you," alluding to the deep voiced "DROID" the phone makes when it needs to inform me that I have a text or an email from some place like "Mens Big and Tall." (No, I'm not tall.)
I had to change my notification sound to something besides Droid because I couldn't always hear it when a machine was running, so I experimented and settled on a tone with various tinkling sounds. The tone was titled "Fairy Dust." So, of course Marilyn will bring me my phone as she did just now and says, "Here, your phone just Fairy Dusted you." That better not have been a giggle I just heard as she walked away. It's also sort of embarrassing to be standing with a group of farmers at the elevator and have someone say with alarm, "What was that?" "Cliff, do you have Tinker Bell in your pocket." I tell them, "Look, at least I can hear it."
In my earliest recollections, I recall going with my parents who were born in 1905 and 1907 to visit some of their elderly friends. Otto and Lilly lived way back in the hills and were neighbors to my folks at one time. They fairly marveled at the new technology, just as I do today. Their new-fangled communication device hung on the wall and had a hand crank on the side. The crank was the "notification" device used to "Droid" the operator who may or may not be in bed depending on the time of day or night you lit her up.
The question is whether or not we're making progress. This coming from a guy who remembers a time when we all didn't need to carry a personal supply of high priced water with us at all times or a smart phone.
The progress is indeed questionable in societal terms. I now get phone calls from my sons at the Body Shop that goes like this. I say "Hello," and then a customer walks into their shop and the reply is, "I'll have to let you go Dad. I'll call you back." Calls like that are hard to explain to your wife. "That was Tom calling to say he doesn't have time to talk."
When I was a lad if someone was on the phone, it was important. "He'll be with you in a bit, he's on the phone, it's long distance." "Oh, long distance, I can come back another day."
Now everyone's on the phone, it's the reason we have nothing to talk about when we get home at night. "Yes dear, I know that, remember, you called me and you sent me a text about it."
This day is now complete; Marilyn just rushed out the door to go to work and texted me that she loves me. I was fairy dusted just as I heard the door slam shut.



If you have a DROID smartphone, the ringers are a bit quiet. So... a little FAIRY DUST never hurt anybody. I love this post. I hear you about the technology. I was sitting in a noisy restaurant, Sat. and got a text that my daughter needed to talk to me. She always does. I figured it was nothing important, so I asked her to text me about WHATEVER it was. The words I saw come back on that little screen were... they found LESIONS on my LUNGS and a MASS on my LIVER. I felt my heart drop into my stomach. She's NOT crying wolf this time around. If I had yesterday's technology, I wouldn't have known this news for hours. So??? Good or bad these new fangled contraptions are here to stay. Until, the next best thing comes along. take care.

Anonymous said...

I am Dr. Alan Hensley and am filming a segment for "Memory Keeper's Corner: The Unwritten History of Burt County" in Tekamah. I have been working with Bonnie, Connie, and Patty at the Museum, Lloyd Olsen, Kenny McGill, and Norman and Loretta Petersen to film a segment on Country Schools. I believe Margaret Morrow Hale, wife of Floyd Hale, was your ancestor. I believe she was also a teacher at #4 Morningside School in 1926, which was the school my wife, Donna Petersen, attended. I need more pictures and stories on her for our film if you have them. My email is and phone is (402)650-1101. Feel free to call, email, or ask Lloyd, Kenny, Susan@Right Next Door, Norman, or Loretta about me if you like. Thanks, Alan

Unknown said...

Our phones bloop and bedoop at us. Thing One has set her ringtone for me as the first line of Led Zeppelin's "Black Dog" (Hey, Hey mama...)

Granny Annie said...

Cliff, you have outdone yourself on this perfect post. Was this printed in your column?

Ron carries a plain vanilla cell phone. He uses it to call me from downstairs to bring him something. Otherwise he hates it. If it makes any kind of sound he will gently grip it with two fingers like it's a dog turd and hand it to me saying "Here". It's my job to work the magic of answering it or reading any text messages to him.

Ralph said...

I might need fairy dust. Every time my cell phone rings or I get a text message everyone starts acting like it the 80's and starts disco dancing.

JunieRose2005 said...

I only have a cell phone for when I go shopping and might need to call Charles if my car breaks down or something .. :) I DO NOT like phones-smart or not!!

Lanny said...

Wow! you can have a cell phone that works at your farm?! We do not get reception here. Well if I were standing in my Market Garden I might be able to, and if we purchased from a certain carrier we might be able to recieve a little in a few spots inside the house. A neighbor down the way just let Verizon put a tower up on his land, he is planning on moving. But I can barely get even the cordless phone to work well here at the farm. I would love to have fancy smarty pants phones, I would love to be able to access my calendar and to do files, I have a hard time remembering what I'm supposed to do once I get about five feet from the porch, by then I've seen about twenty things I could also be doing that I forgot about while making my list to do.

EV said...

I can't wait for your post when you get your google glasses. "Fairy Dust", really?

Peter said...

Umm Cliff do you really think fairy dust is for you? something a little more manly sounding perhaps??
I am thinking of going down the same path myself but having read this post maybe not!!!!!
I groaned a bit when I read about your epileptic fish.