Stupid People, Stupid Phones

This incident actually happened several months ago, but I haven’t had an ‘opening’ between stories of the Run A Muck Ranch kids to put fingers to keyboard about it.    A recent rash of attempted texts to my cell phone has me wondering if perhaps now is a good time to relay the tale:

One morning, on my way to work, 2 dogs ran across the road.  Because I would hope someone would do the same for me if any of my kids got loose, I immediately pulled over.  Dogs love trucks, so all I needed to do to catch the wayward critters was simply open the passenger door and whistle.

Problem was, I didn’t have my phone with me to call the number on the dogs’ tags.  Fortunately, there was a construction crew in a front yard, not far away, so I drove over and asked if I could borrow a phone.


Before we go further, let me explain some things:

1.  My work in landscape maintenance means I WILL destroy phones on a regular basis.  Insurance only pays for 1 replacement phone a year, and I usually need several replacements.  Therefore, I buy disposable phones for less than $20 and simply trade out their SIM card for mine.

2.  I don’t understand the concept of texting:  Rather than type and send, which seems eerily similar to e-mailing if you ask me, I find it more logical, if one is trying to communicate with a PHONE, to simply call and speak.


3.  We do not have services other than voice with our phones.  We can not send or receive texts, pictures, etc. and we can’t take pictures or videos.

So there you have it:  I use, and have always used, a simple phone.

The construction worker, in response to my request to borrow a phone, handed me a Smart Phone, and then proceeded to turn away to resume his conversation with some of the other people standing around:

I didn’t know how to turn the darned thing on.

I turned the phone over and over, looking for a switch, but found none.

I poked the screen in several places with no result.

I slid my finger across the screen in several directions.  Nothing happened.

I shook the phone.  Again, nothing happened.

Obviously there was no physical way to turn this phone on, so I switched to verbal methods – it was a Smart Phone after all:

I held the phone in front of my mouth and said “On”.  That didn’t work, so I tried other activating type words and phrases such as “Power On”, “Activate”, “Call Out”, “Make Call”, “Engage” and “Dial”.

None of the phrases worked.


There HAD to be a way to get the phone to turn on, and absent any obvious physical action, or standard verbal cue, I decided perhaps since the phones worked off cell towers, maybe, just maybe, the verbal cue could only be understood if I was facing the direction of the nearest cell tower, so I changed my tactic:

I re-tried the verbal cues, eventually adding a few that involved profanities, while I turned in the various cardinal directions, hoping my voice would be captured by a nearby tower, thereby turning the infernal phone on.

As I was spinning, gesticulating and doing everything else I could think of that might turn the phone on, I happened to notice the conversation that was occurring several feet away had stopped.  I looked over and saw:

2 guys staring at me, jaws dropped in amazement and a 3rd guy, shaking his head and laughing silently – as he video taped me on HIS Smart Phone.

The owner of the phone was kind enough to place the call to the dogs’ people for me, and arrangements were made to re-unite them.

For his part, the lender of the phone patted me on the shoulder and thanked me for making his day.

Crabby searched You Tube for weeks, looking for the video of the clueless lady trying to get a Smart Phone to turn on but never found one.


For those of you too young to know, this is a phone:


In the old days, we used these devices, which were kept in our homes.  A wire connected this phone and a jack in the wall, which in turn was connected to a box outside the home.  The numbers on the phone were large enough to see without reading glasses.   We could call out and receive calls, as long as we were home, and believe it or not, the world still turned when this was our primary communication device.



9 thoughts on “Stupid People, Stupid Phones

    1. Ummm… BOL? Is that text lingo? Please enlighten me as I don’t know letter speak very well. Yup, I’m but a relic!

  1. Ah yes – I remember it well. I remember the days before we had caller ID and we kids had great fun on the phone. Local calls were free and our was black.

    1. So you also remember the shock and awe we all felt when the push button phones came out, and the ability to mount the phone on the wall. Old or new, we could only move as far away from the phone as the chord would allow.

      Kids these days have no idea!

      1. For a while I had a mental block and the only thing I could remember – when someone asked me – was that my sister was #3 on the push phone. I had no idea what her actual telephone number was.

      2. Yup, as part of our dummying down as a species, we no longer have to train ourselves to remember complicated numbers such as phone numbers 🙂 No clue what anyone’s real number is other than mine and Crabby’s. Everyone else is in my contact list. Of course I’m not intelligent enough to figure out how to program speed dial, so I have to hunt alphabetically.

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