Are you smarter than the average smart phone?

By John Toth
Bulletin Publisher

I bought a new smart phone. Now, I feel like a dummy.

The phone is great. It’s the operator who is learning to crawl after years of using an older model and knowing by heart how it worked.

I knew this would happen – that I would have a learning curve, and that once I got into it, I would stay up half the night trying to mastering this new-fangled device.

Which brings to question: What did we do before cell phones? I’d like to call that period “B.C.”

Remember pagers? I hated those things. Every time I received a page on the road, I had to rush to a pay phone. The first one was occupied. The second one had too much ear wax. The third one was completely ripped out.

Then, some bulky, awkward cell phones started appearing. I was working for a major metropolitan newspaper in the ‘80s, and they finally broke down and issued us cell phones. I had a choice between the bag phone and the Motorola brick phone.

I already had a bag, so I chose the brick phone.

But there was a glitch in the phone. I never got around to telling my editors. Sometimes, when they tried to call me on a Friday afternoon, I couldn’t get a signal ... inside the bar.

Some weeks I couldn’t even get a signal on a Thursday afternoon. It must have been the metal roof.

The brick phone was multi-functional, however. It didn’t have anything fancy like a calendar, the Internet, or texting. But one time, when I couldn’t find a hammer and had to fix my fence, it came in handy. Then I got a phone call, and hit myself in the head.

This thing was heavy, too. The battery weighed a ton. I had to hold it with two hands and drive with my knees.
Cell phones today are much more complicated and fragile. The hammer substitution definitely is out. And, instead of ringing when someone calls, they sing songs.

I was in the mall recently, when a young man in his 20s was walking with a cell phone stuck in his back pocket. Then he got a call and some rap song began playing really loud. All these curse words were coming right out of his butt.

I thought about asking him to turn down his butt, but didn’t want to get involved. I was hoping that he would just answer the phone. Why do rap songs have cursing, anyway? That’s another column.
Back to cell phones and singing butts.

I just have a regular ring on this fancy new smart phone because I have not figured out how to set one of the songs I like as my ring tone. These are disturbing problems that must be overcome each time I get a new phone (which is not all that often).

Being a typical guy, I have a perfect way to try to solve these starting gate obstacles. I just push buttons until I hit it lucky. Reading the instructions would be just too simple.

There are a lot of buttons on this thing, but I think I got it. The Internet is active, texting, calendar, music, and all the apps are in place. Great, I’m done.

It’s ringing. Now, how do I pick it up? It’s locked. How do you talk on this thing?