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Cell Hell Phone Fun

Or, How I finally caved in.

12:00 AM, Sep 15, 2006 • By LARRY MILLER
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But I kept forgetting to get one. (Or resisting.) Then, last Friday, I was getting ready to go to Toronto for a few days, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, when someone I'm married to and someone I work with both called within the same 10 minutes to tell me I just plain had to get a cell phone before leaving, to not even dare to think about arguing, and how, come to think of it, it would probably be best to do it "that day, that morning, that minute. In fact, now. Get up now." It was like an intervention. "Larry, we love you, but this can't go on."

Well, you know the old saying: If ten men tell you you need a cell phone, you'd better lie down. I stopped off at the local store, where they're always puzzled to see me, but never shocked, and when the guy (David, a very smart and polite young man) said, "Do you have any idea the kind of--", I cut him off with a smile and a raised hand and said, "Which one do you carry?" He went in the back, grabbed all the stuff, pulled up my record, changed what needed to be changed, and I was on my way. He even set up the voicemail, too, which I'd never even bothered to do on the others. (Guess who told me to make sure I did that.)

David and I even got to share a guy thing at the counter, and both followed a shatteringly well-made debutante out with our eyes as she deliberately sashayed through the store swaying her new phone. She and David were about the same age, and he muttered, "Wow," and I said, "I wonder what her roaming charges are?" He looked back at me nervously to see if the moment we had was okay, and I smiled and said, "Hey, I'm out of the game, but I still coach."

I had enough time to go home and wait for everyone while I packed, and then looked at all the phone attachments in the bag on the bed.

And the strangest thing happened.

I liked it. I took it out, held it in my hand, and liked it. I liked the heft of it, and I liked the look of it. I liked the lights when I opened it. Even the volume seemed about right. Even the goofy music as it turned on made me smile. Not too long, not too loud, not too anything. Hey. Whaddya know. I even called my wife for the first call. She was coming up the block, in fact, right then, even as we spoke, and would be walking in the front door with the kids in just a couple of minutes, so I said, okay, honey, well, 'bye, I'll see you in . . . a couple of minutes. (Another essential use of these stupid things, by the way, but let's not start that again.)

And that's not all I liked. David threw in a leather-like case with plastic windows that are easy to press. And I really dug it! I put it on (myself!) in two shakes of a lamb's tail and hefted it again. (Without the instructions, by the way. I just slipped it right on, the first time, and no mistakes. How about that? Okay, there were no instructions to begin with, since even a macaque would be able to do it. But still.)

And wait, there's more! There was another product, a plastic holster for the phone. The leather-ish case had a hard, round knob on the back that slides into the holster with a click, and the whole thing fastens right over your belt. And it can turn 360, but I don't think I need that. I was so thrilled I quickly called The Divine Mrs. M. back--even though she was less than 50 feet from the house--to tell her. A case and a holster, honey, and it snaps right onto your belt!

I started to say goodbye again, but she said, "Wait, a what? A case? Your belt? Oh, uh, you don't need to do that. Just, you know, carry it." But I said, "No, that's what I hate, I don't want to carry it, it's too much trouble. This way, you can walk around everywhere and have it, and not worry about it, and never lose it. Hands free. It's always right there!" I heard the garage door opening, so I signed off after saying, "Let's take the kids out for dinner!" I think she started to say something else, but I wasn't sure.

I had just enough time to snap it back on, and admire myself in the mirror, when she came into the room apprehensively. I turned around, fully, slowly, arms held out with a giant grin, and faced her and said, "What do you think?"

"You look like a Xerox salesman." She was distressed, but I was too far gone to notice.

"I know," I said, "Isn't it great?"

WE WENT TO OUR FAVORITE PIZZA PLACE, and someone we both know from work was just leaving with her kids, and she said hello, and then said, "So, Larry, I heard you're going to Toronto. That'll be cool, huh?"

And I said, "Yeah, yeah, hey, check this out. I got a new phone. And look, it goes right on your belt." Her smile froze and she glanced at The Divine Mrs. M., who just shook her head and said, "I'll call you tomorrow."