• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Here's Johnny - Losing my beans

Dear Readers know I'm skeptical of the Smart Phone Set; people who seem so attached to them that I want to holler, "Why don't you two get a room!" While driving, they text and email and put themselves and others (like me) at risk. While walking the busy streets of Versailles, Midway and Millville, they gaze down at their phones and risk qualifying for the annual Darwin Awards. Not me, and not just because I'm cheap. I don't presently feel the need to be aware of such important events as an old high school chum spraining an ankle, or my Aunt Millie's new cake recipe, or the Kardashians' mating habits. I have a dumb phone with a monthly fee less than half of what your typical smart phone user pays. It can make calls and receive them and send texts (slowly - as I must press the "2" button three times for a "C," for instance) and receive them. That's quite enough for me, as I'm usually near a computer at work or at home. So when the display of my dumb phone began to flicker, then died, I thought I could handle it. I was wrong. It still works, sort of. I can make calls by pressing all ten digits. I don't mind the workout, but I do mind not being able to access my contacts list, the vast majority of which I never committed to memory. More problematic, I can't tell who's calling me. As I'm still receiving debt collector-type calls aimed at a person who possessed my cell phone number several years ago, this is a bother. Other times - no offense - I'd just rather not answer. I have things to do. Like taking naps. Without a display, if I miss a call, I can't tell who's called me unless they leave a message. To access my messages, I must first ensure the phone's turned on, then press "1" for three seconds and cross my fingers. I'm also unsure of the volume setting - a real problem for a nap-taker - so I occasionally turn the darn thing off or leave it in the car. While I hold true to my belief that we've become a dumber, shallower world because of the overuse of smart phones, I no longer feel quite so superior about my inferior phone. Fact is, expecting a call from someone with whom I very much wanted to speak, I've sorta lost my beans a time or two. I've no idea how many people I've offended in the last week by not answering or returning calls. If you're one of them, please forgive me, and be patient - my new dumb phone should be here by the time this column is published. In the meantime, consider this morning's breakfast to be breast of crow, medium well, lightly seasoned. And now for something . Those of us whose minds were permanently warped (especially folks like me for whom the journey was a short one) by the Monty Python Flying Circus television show aired on KET in the 1970s will remember John Cleese's television anchor. If the writer-performers of the brilliant British comedy had trouble figuring out how to segue from one sketch to another, they'd stick Cleese behind a news desk most anywhere and have him say, "And now for something completely different." In television, everywhere I anchored the news, from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Lexington, Ky., I found a way to utter that phrase between stories at least once. I've not done so in print, where my stops included the Navigator at the Naval Training Center in Orlando, Fla., the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer and the Woodford Sun. Until today. Thank you for your patience. That is all.

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