I guess that there is no bigger sign that you are a true GEEZER than when someone in the now (use your own definition of “now”) generation sees you pull out your flip phone and make a call. A few people might snicker when they see you do this, but most just subconsciously write you off as just a brain-dead old fart (I’ll admit to all of this except the “dead” part [at least the last time I checked]). But by this time in life, it is difficult for me to care what anyone thinks about anything and, if what I do annoys someone, usually that’s a definite bonus. I use a flip phone and landline for five reasons: a) it’s cheaper (a lot cheaper), b) I can hear the speaker much clearer on the landline, c) it’s my personal stand against a totally corporate scam, d) philosophical reasons, e) they make a good watch/clock.

Cost is a no brainer. The cost of my landline phone is intermixed with my cable TV and Internet hookup charges in what is called a “bundled” amount that does not separate what they charge for the phone. If I don’t include the phone in the package, I lose a $30 discount. Overall, I figure the phone costs about $20 per month.

My cell phone cost me $100 per year for I believe is eight hours of time (I never use all the time allotted within a year so this limitation means little to me)—double that amount to include my wife’s phone.

So the total cost for my current phone service is approximately $440 per year. Of the programs I have seen for the fancy, smart (as compared to what?) cell phones, the cheapest cost available seems to be about $100 per month for a total of $1200 per year for whatever 3GBs of data is equivalent to. How much the phones actually cost is somewhere between free and $500, but let’s say approximately $100 per year for each of us.

When I compare my system to the cell phone companies, I see a savings of nearly $1,000 per year. In the ten years that smartphones have been available, that is a savings  to me of $10,000. When you add in the fact that I have seven more years to live (more about that another time), I will have saved $17,000 in my lifetime. When this savings is coupled with my annual cost of living increases the Feds give me (which last year was a net loss of $4 per month [pay increase minus health insurance increase]), this means I should be able to continue eating for the next five years (so you see the problem here—7 minus 5 is a lot of days of Top Ramen and dog food [Trump’s new gourmet Meals on Wheels).

My wife and I have flip phones mainly so we can communicate between each other (if walkie-talkies transmitted a further distance, we wouldn’t even need phones). The phones allow me to find her when she disappears in the mall or large box store and allows her to call me to pick up things every time I am out and about. If the call is not from my wife it is either a scammer (including salesmen) or it is bad news (one of my daughters wanting me to do something I would rather not).

We have the landline because it is dependable, has plenty of time for my wife’s two hour marathon calls, can be used to find lost cell phones, and, like I said, the voice of any caller is much clearer (even if they are on a cell phone).

As far as this being a corporate scam, well everything is a “corporate scam” these days, but this one is a beaut. There is no way the plan, cost, hidden fees, data allotments, coverage, or the actual phones of one company can be compared to another. There is also no way to know when charges will increase (pretty much daily) and what individual services (including new ones that are made up each year) will cost from year to year. A contract (of if no contract, you just double all costs and sign your house over to them) for a cell phone is absolutely a “pig in a poke” or a “mysterious money sink,” take your pick.

Now we come to the my philosophical stand against “smart phones.” If God had meant for us to be smart, he would have made our brains bigger, not given us little electronic computers—just kidding. In my lifetime I have seen people go from only being available when they were near a landline (or remember pay phones?) to being connected every second of every day. Some of us don’t want to be connected to anything 24-hours a day.

Here’s what I get a kick out of:

• People sending gibberish as texts.
• People speaking gibberish just because they can get someone to answer a phone.
• People tethering themselves to their work so they can work, and work, and work and do it faster and faster so they can work some more.
• People calling people to ask their spouse what brand of dog food to buy.
• People sending out photos of what they just had for a meal,
• Ten-year-old kids who send out 5,000 texts in a month and cost their parents a fortune and then the parent’s sad lament that it was the phone company’s fault.
• Idiots who get in trouble in the backcountry and call for help like it was room service.
• GPS directions that send people down a road to “Deliverance.”
• Keeping your life in photos on a phone that suddenly goes completely and totally defunct.
• People who consider their phone their best (and possibly only) friend.
• People who can’t pay the rent, but have the latest model phone.
• People who check up on what Rover is doing at home for fun.
• Kids so young they can’t count to 10, but have a cell phone.
• People who think surviving a trip to a place with “no bars” is the equivalent of being on the first expedition to the North Pole.
• Drunken people taking selfies.

Oh, and a few things that may someday result in my being jailed:

• People who drive while talking or texting (pretty much the dumbest thing people can do in today’s world [in the old days it was sticking a fork into an electrical outlet]).
• People who use a phone in a theater while the movie is playing (these people should be drug out of their seat and roughed up in the restroom).
• A person talking into a cell phone in a loud, booming voice in a restaurant or any public place as if they are the only person in the world (these people should also be beaten soundly and then a large letter “A”—for asshole—branded onto their forehead).

I realize that cell phones can be used in emergencies, to provide immediate information, book motel rooms, pay bills, monitor your house from around the world, as well as do a hundred (probably thousands) other things that supposedly make your life better—but is anyone’s life really better? I stay as far from the hustle and bustle as possible and still, in today’s world, my head is ready to explode most of the time. Staying in constant contact with the insanity is not something I wish to do and, no, I do not wish to be buried with my phone.

Hello, Hello, Damn It, Hello?
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3 thoughts on “Hello, Hello, Damn It, Hello?

  • April 22, 2017 at 10:33

    I just read this on my phone…….
    Just sayin’

  • March 18, 2017 at 10:33

    I have a flip phone too and wouldn’t use anything else. But where do you get service for $100 a year? I have Verizon that’s $26 month with all the taxes…
    I do have an iPad and I’m somewhat addicted to it like others are to their phones, but at least when I’m out, it stays home.

    • March 18, 2017 at 10:33

      Mary, I’m not sure what program I have with Verizon, but what I asked for at their store was the most inexpensive program they had. At the time (a few years ago) the plan that included the phone was $150. From that time forward, I have to pay $100 annually to keep the plan in place. This gave me another 8 hours of service on top of whatever was left in time from the year before. I not sure if this an offer you can find today and I have found from past experience that if you have to get a new phone (they don’t go through the wash cycle well) or if you want to make any other changes, immediately all bets are off and suddenly all your options cost more. Still, I’d look around a little more next time you are ready to rephone (probably not a word) although the companies make if very hard to figure out what exactly you are buying. It probably won’t be long before they do away with flip phones altogether for no other reason than they can charge more for the smart phones.


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