Monday, January 22, 2018
News Roundup

Death of a Cellphone becomes a recurring tale

It's about 10 minutes into the drying cycle when I hear the dreadful sound of good money being tossed after bad. The rhythmic racket came from modern technology bouncing off the rotating, stainless steel dryer drum.

Death of a Cellphone — Part VI.

Likely cause of death: drowning in the wash cycle, with evidence of post-mortem trauma that likely occurred when the phone was purged from the working man's pants pocket during the drying cycle.

Not only is the thing soaked, the screen's cracked, too.

Lovely.

So here's where I slap myself in the forehead for not going through the old man's pockets, something he neglected to do before tossing his pants in the hamper, breaking a house rule laid down after we pulled the second drenched phone in a week's time from our front-loader.

That's right, two phones washed in a week's time.

And I suppose I should have followed the advice of others who told us to pony up for the replacement insurance — especially since this last phone was "free," save for the two-year contract extension and the $35 activation fee, plus tax and shipping.

Thankfully our latest casualty is not an expensive model. Not smart at all. No bells and whistles. It's just your basic flipphone that's lousy for texting, suitable for talking and maybe taking a grainy picture of yourselves at the beach to send to friends up north who text back wanting to know, "Why are you sending me blurry pictures of the Loch Ness Monster?"

Indeed, the main benefits of this model are the big numbers on the keyboard that can be more easily read by the old man's failing eyes.

But money is money and there's this thing I have about giving it one last shot. So I'm left to try my luck at cellphone triage. I know the drill. Don't even have to get on the Internet for instructions this time. Take the battery out. Smother the thing in a bowl of rice. Then wait for it to dry — maybe a day or two. Then snap it back together and turn it on — fingers crossed.

Simple fix if it works. But in that timespan there could be some unforeseen emergency and all hell could break loose.

Oh my. How to survive?

It's a fair question for those who find themselves tethered to mobile devices that make it a cinch to make a call when in need or on a whim.

No doubt it's handy for that roadside emergency or when you're wanting the old man to pick up some necessary sundry on his way home. And it sure helps ease a parent's mind when your newly licensed teenager heads out on the road.

"Text me when you get there," is a common command in our house.

Even so, the accessibility of the cell has its drawbacks. Just ask anyone who's been on either end of a late-night drunk dial.

Awkward.

And addicting, as evidenced by throngs of pedestrians texting, surfing the Internet or carrying on conversations while sauntering down the street or through store parking lots. There's the faceless driver you would be best to get in front of, who's pushing buttons while splitting lanes on the highway. And the not-so-nice woman I recently encountered in the checkout line who halted her conversation for a brief moment to tersely announce, "I'm on the phone!" when the sales clerk tried to point out a flaw in an item she was about to purchase.

I grew up in the days of having to hike to the nearest pay phone when your car broke down or your bicycle got a flat during that 5-mile trek to the beach. But now I have to admit to a feeling of vulnerability when I'm out without my cell, sort of like putting the car in gear without fastening your seat belt first.

Yes, it's come to that.

I don't have much hope as I push the "on" button on the flipphone after plucking it from the bowl of rice and reassembling it close to 24 hours later. But to my surprise, there are signs of life this time around and the familiar whooshing sound as the phone starts up. It's a short-lived resurrection though, with an intermittent flashing of light across the cracked screen that is eerily reminiscent of one of those scary movies where a poltergeist takes over the household appliances.

The cellphone is surely possessed, I'm thinking as I shut the thing off and get to surfing the Internet in search of a replacement.

And so are we.

Michele Miller can be reached at [email protected] or at (813) 435-7307.

Comments
Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning shut out Blackhawks

Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning shut out Blackhawks

CHICAGO — Turns out, Andrei Vasilevskiy is all right.And, believe it or not, so is the Lightning’s penalty kill, which was the unlikely hero in Monday’s streak-snapping 2-0 win over the Blackhawks at the United Center.Vasilevskiy, 23, played like the...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Back to work: Government shutdown ending as Dems relent

Back to work: Government shutdown ending as Dems relent

New York TimesWASHINGTON — Congress brought an end to a three-day government shutdown on Monday as Senate Democrats buckled under pressure to adopt a short-term spending bill to fund government operations without first addressing the fate of young un...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Male bicyclist struck, killed by vehicle in Pinellas Park

PINELLAS PARK — A male bicyclist was struck and killed by a vehicle on U.S. 19 on Monday night, according to Pinellas Park police.The incident took place at about 8:30 p.m. along the 8000 block of U.S. 19 N, near the Walmart Supercenter.The driver wa...
Updated: 1 hour ago

High school scoreboard for Jan. 22

Monday’s scoreboardBoys soccerPalm Harbor U. 3, Clearwater 0Boca Ciega 3, Indian Rocks Christian 1Girls soccerClass 4A, District 10: Countryside 7, Clearwater 0; Dixie Hollins 2, East Lake 0Class 3A, District 10: Osceola 14, Gibbs 0...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Mon., Jan. 22, midday:49 851 5049e_SRit11446Mon., Jan. 22, evening:05 733 5365e_SRit06330Fantasy 5Mon., Jan. 22...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Glass art shines at St. Petersburg’s new Imagine Museum

Glass art shines at St. Petersburg’s new Imagine Museum

ST. PETERSBURGThe bay area’s thriving glass art scene adds another member to its ranks today when the Imagine Museum officially opens in downtown St. Petersburg.Dedicated to the movement of studio glass, the museum is the brainchild of benefactor Tri...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Facebook vows progress in halting election meddling

Facebook said Monday that it fell short in preventing the social media network from being used for foreign meddling in the U.S. presidential election.New blog posts written by Facebook executives appear to be the most critical self-assessment yet of ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Judge: Victims of sports doc are ‘sister survivor warriors’

Judge: Victims of sports doc are ‘sister survivor warriors’

Associated PressLANSING, Mich. — The judge overseeing the sentencing of disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar said Monday that more than 120 girls and women who had given statements so far at the five-day hearing were "sister survivor warriors....
Updated: 3 hours ago
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri severs contract with CareerSource Pinellas

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri severs contract with CareerSource Pinellas

Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri severed his agency’s contract with CareerSource Pinellas on Monday after learning that the jobs center told the state it helped 624 sheriff’s employees get hired since 2014.The sheriff said he has no record of CareerSou...
Updated: 3 hours ago

TexasVoter-fraud panel targeted Hispanics, documents showPresident Donald Trump’s voter-fraud commission specifically asked for records identifying all Texas voters with Hispanic surnames, according to newly released documents. Records made public by...
Updated: 3 hours ago