Bluetooth

By John Toth

I’m waiting in line at the bank and talking on my Bluetooth.

I try to keep it to a minimum, but I need to say a few words. It’s important. I’m talking to a friend.

O.K., I don’t know about what, but it had to be important.

A woman turns around and asks if I am talking to her.

No, I’m on the phone. It’s not like I’m in the movies or some place where I would disturb people.

I’m keeping my voice low because it’s quiet in the bank. I’m trying to be considerate and still converse with the friend.

I would never do this in a movie theater or restaurant – well, maybe in a restaurant, but not so that I would disturb other diners.

I was having dinner at a restaurant a while back, and the woman in front of me was on her cellphone during the entire meal. I didn’t want to be rude and tried to ignore her.

I talked to the person to my right and left, but right in front of me was this loudmouth, annoying everyone.

Another time, a woman in a Colorado restaurant was discussing some pretty personal topics with a member of her family. I was sitting at the other end of the place and heard all of it. I didn’t really mind that time because it was interesting. Her family was truly messed up. I ate slowly to hear the whole story.

The Bluetooth would have made these women look silly. They would have looked like they were talking to a plate of food.

That’s one of the awkward side-effects of using a Bluetooth. You have to look somewhere when you talk. I don’t know what to do with my hands. There is no phone to hold.

One time, a big, heavy-set guy thought I was talking to him, and started getting upset.

“What did you say?” he asked.

“Nothing. I’m on the phone with someone. I wouldn’t talk to you like that. You’re big.”

You are probably wondering by now how the Bluetooth got its name. I am.

He’ll never know - because he’s been dead for a long time - but the Bluetooth was named after Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson, King of Denmark and Norway, circa 958-970.

He was a decent enough guy who united dissident Danish tribes into a single kingdom and converted the people to Christianity.

Unfortunately, his son, Sweyn Forkbeard, overthrew him, but that’s another story.

Jim Kardach came along a thousand or so years later and invented a protocol that allows communication between a cellphone and a computer. Then he read the novel “The Long Ships” about Vikings and King Harald Bluetooth.

That’s what my device does, he thought. It unites all of these different protocols into a universal standard. So, he named his system the Bluetooth.

That’s why that thing hanging out of my ear today is called a Bluetooth.

This one lets me stream and plays music also. I’d bet the King Bluetooth would give half his kingdom for one of these back then. Oh, I forgot, he didn’t have a kingdom. Sweyn took it.