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Ferry, Dick

Why Should I fear that Carol will be left alone in the tundra’s frozen wasteland of total dysfunctional society? She won’t even touch the cell phone, tap the keyboard of the computer or use the telephone intercom.

I’ve never figured out all the apps for my cell phone, which comes in handy to call if I’m later than Carol thinks I’ll be in getting home. Only recently, a sales guy in the kiosk setup at a mega discount sales store showed me how to do everything but dispense steaming hot cocoa and raisin bagels.

Did I mention I’m riding a motorized cart while listening to this techie salesperson?

He’s showing me how to snap photos; how to delete photos; how to make messages come in louder; how to make messages come in softer; how to read messages; how to delete messages.

There’s more: how to receive a call be a vibration; how to delete the vibration; how to get lots of lively, different jingles ringing; how to delete lots of lively different jingles ringing; and how to send and receive typed messages. I need to know how to find my way out of this mega discount sales store.

He was showing me all this on an updated free phone he wanted me to sign up for with no commitment, he said.

“Show me how to do all these things on my ancient cell phone,” I said. He ran through all the things mentioned above so quickly that I couldn’t remember what to push for what.

And all these apps have been hibernating, sleeping and latent on a free cell phone I’ve been carting around forever. I’ve been acting as if I’m a fully functional 21st century “with it” guy who is only 13 years away from being a century old.

My motorized cart just bumped the salesman tech’s knee. He ignores it.

I back up and decide I better call home and let Carol know I’ll be late.

The guy really is trying hard to get me to sign up for the upgraded phone. At the same time he’s just taken me on a speed trip as if I’m skiing on an Olympian slope, while showing me what I’ve been missing on the outdated one.

I have him dial Carol so I can tell her I’ll be even later. Lunch is ready.

This guy is a great salesman except for the fact he doesn’t realize he’s dealing with a “no-signing-up” customer. Maybe he just wants to practice his sales pitch. I turn off my motorized cart and listen for more amazing things I can do if I sign up for an updated version.

I ask him if he “moonlights” hoping he’ll come by the house and teach me slowly how to use the cell phone I already have. He doesn’t know what “moonlight” means. He doesn’t “moonlight.”

I asked him to call Carol for me. I can feel the frozen tundra wasteland in her voice as she says she warmed up my lunch for the last time.

I turn my electric cart back on and ask him to point to which way I go to get out of the mega discount store. I hope my prolonged visit doesn’t mar his record with his sales manager.

When I get home, both Carol and my lunch are as cold as the winds on the frozen tundra wasteland of dysfunctional technology.

Dick Ferry is a professor emeritus of education at Millikin University.

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