Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Mysteries of Cellular Telephonic Devices

Last week, at the height of iPhone 5 mania, I got an iPhone 4s. It wasn’t that I was being a savvy shopper—or a cheap bastard, depending upon your perspective—but rather, I was given this phone at work when they replaced all of our Blackberries.

I’ve had my phone for five days now and I’m still not quite sure how to operate it. Basic things are going wrong. I must have done something early on to turn off the ringer and now I don’t know how to turn it back on. I read the instruction manual cover to cover, but the instruction manual seems to have been written for someone who already has a working knowledge of cellphones. That would not be me.

About a year-and-a-half ago, when I first got my Blackberry, I had similar problems. No clue how to use the thing. A few days after I got that phone I had it in my pants pocket and bent over to pick something up. This motion apparently triggered something on the phone, because I heard a beep followed by a soothing woman’s voice saying, “You may now leave your voicemail greeting.” I quickly took the phone out of my pocket and left my voicemail greeting. I was thankful for this stroke of luck because I had been trying to figure out how to do that since I had gotten the phone.

I have been trying to use this same technique to turn the ringer back on my iPhone 4s. I keep on putting the phone in my pocket, bending in unusual ways, and then calling myself from my landline to see if I reactivated the ringer. So far no luck, but at least the constant bending is making me more limber than usual.

I’m not quite sure what makes me so cellphone-challenged. I was talking to a friend of mine who is similarly challenged and he attributed it to our age. I don’t really buy that argument. At 43, there are plenty of people my age and older who handle a cellphone as efficiently and effectively as Eddie Van Halen handles a guitar. No, I think my ineptitude in this realm must come from something else.

Stupidity perhaps? Perhaps. But I’ve seen those people swerving in and out of lanes on the freeway while using one hand to text and the other to slug back their Starbucks Iced Mocha Strawberry Latte Orange Frappuccino, and I think to myself, “I’ve got to be smarter than that yutz.”

What then? The only thing I can think of is that I have some sort of genetic mutation. I know it would be odd for there to be a gene specific to cellphone usage, but the human genome is a mysterious thing. Some scientists have said that there is lots of “junk DNA” that doesn’t seem to have a specific use. Other scientists have said that there is no “junk DNA,” just DNA that we haven’t figured out what they do yet. So I’m urging geneticists to look into the possibility of a cellphone usage gene. Perhaps if they discover the gene they would be able to develop a technique to activate it for people like myself. That would probably be a lot faster than me figuring out how to activate my ringer.