Counting Random Cell Phone Keyboards, Like A Boss

October 3, 2013 at 8:49 pm , by 

2 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack,

Some things in life just can’t be explained. For example, why are there over a dozen cell phone keyboards in the parking lot of your school?

Since a couple of weeks ago when we started parking next to your teachers’ Mustangs, we discovered a strange array of cell phone keyboards as we got out of my car.

It’s so strange…

There are no other cell phone parts anywhere else around. Just the keyboards.

Are cell phone keyboards hot on the black market right now?

Did a cell phone keyboard bandit run across your school’s parking lot, carrying hundreds of them over his shoulder in a giant sack, that happened to have a slit in it, causing many of them to fall onto the ground?

That’s the best explanation I can come up with.

Needless to say, you’re pretty fascinated by the mystery (and possible government conspiracy?) of these cell phone keyboards.

Our new daily tradition is that every time we now get out of or into our car in the school parking lot, you like to get down and count them.

Today when I picked you up from school, your teacher Ms. Lauren updated me on the funny thing you said to her this time:

“Ms. Lauren, there’s cell phones in the parking lot. I counted them. There’s 10 of them!”

You’re right. You indeed count 10 of them each time.

It is because of the cell phone keyboards that I now officially know you can count to 10. Because you do it at least once a day now.

Even without meaning to, you found a way to test out what you learn at school.

I think it’s safe to say that cell phone keyboards may be the most peculiar thing you will ever use in the process of learning to count.

As for the mystery of how they got there, I guess we’ll just have to ask God when we get to Heaven one day.

 

Love,

Daddy

dad from day one: The Benefits of Responsibility and the Inevitability of Learning from Mistakes

Thirty-three weeks.

Something I have learned in my adult life so far is that when I am offered more responsibility, it’s almost always the best decision to take it.  Sure, there is such a thing as wearing yourself too thin by agreeing to too many things, even (and especially) with church activities, but that’s a whole different story.  When the company I work for asks me on short notice to leave for a trade show which begins two days after returning from my vacation, or I realize I can save an errand and $20 by activating our new cell phones myself instead of going down to Verizon Wireless, I do it.  Responsibility is an important key in maturity.  And maturity is a key to quality of life.

Hence, parenthood.  Responsibility is almost always attached to loss of time, space, and freedom.  But there are certain life experiences that can never be known and certain character elements that can never be built until responsibility is tackled head on.  Of course, when any person adopts a new important role in their  life, it means they will consistently make mistakes while doing it (since new life experiences don’t usually come with a detailed user’s guide).  And those mistakes become the actual footnotes for every future reference.

I am prepared to lose my sense of freedom, my time, my space, and especially my sleep.  I am prepared to make mistakes constantly, yet learn from them.  I am prepared to become more responsible than I’ve ever been before.  Most importantly, I am prepared to be more blessed than I’ve ever been before, as well.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com

Leaving a Voicemail Vs. Text Messaging

It’s never been easier to communicate with people on the phone,  but it’s still as complicated as it’s always been when the person doesn’t pick up the phone.  Though it really doesn’t have to be…

Something I’m pretty horrible at is listening to and erasing voicemails.  At work, about once every week I get a message from Nick Burns, my company’s computer guy, saying I need to erase my messages- the average of my unlistened to and unerased messages is typically around 88.  And currently on my personal cell phone there are about four voicemails waiting to be listened to and erased.  I just don’t know when I’ll get around to it.  It’s homework.

Maybe I can blame it on my generation; I’m stuck in the middle of two of them.  I was born in April of 1981, the final year for Generation X (1961-1981).  Generation Y began nine months later (1982-1995).  I’m sure I inherited a shared amount of traits from both generations, but the tendency to put off what is irrelevant is linked to both generations.

This is how my mind processes communication regarding a cell phone: “If it’s important, they’ll text me.”  Which is different than what is typical with Baby Boomers (1946-1964) who think, “If it’s important, they will call and leave a voicemail if I’m not available”.

The easiest way to communicate with me is via text message.  I respond within 60 seconds because my phone is always right next to me.  As for a voicemail, I may not ever respond.  I strongly don’t believe in having a landline phone because it encourages people to leave voicemails and if a person really needed to talk to me they would reach me through my cell phone.  By texting.

Of course, there are times for actual conversations.  But when I see a missed call, I’m going to return the call anway.

Just as a reminder to those who haven’t yet realized why voicemails are so awful:

1)     To check them, you have to call your voicemail box.

2)     You have to punch in your password.

3)     You have to listen to the voicemail which is essentially someone telling you to call them back.

When I call someone and they don’t pick up, I just hang up.  Because obviously they will see on their phone that I tried to call.  Then I’ll instantly text them in abbreviated form what I needed to talk to them about.

There are so many minutes of our time that we’ll never get back, having been wasted on listening to not only the person I am calling explain to me on a recorded message that they’re unavailable right now but to leave a message and they’ll call me back, but then have to listen to the Verizon lady go through all the options, including  hearing her talk about leaving a “callback number”.

For the times we must endure having to leave someone a voicemail, there should be a new official sound we hear that would soon become as universally recognizable as Mario dying when he falls in a hole in Super Mario Bros.  Just a two-second blip that we all know means “leave a message beginning right now”.

That’s the world that I want to live in.

For a related post by the same author, read TMTT (Too Much Trouble to Talk).

Adventures in Giving Someone a Hard Time When They Call Me with the Wrong Phone Number

I have an Alabama cell phone number.   The state only has two area codes.  My number is the same as a doctor’s office in Birmingham, only with the other area code.  Therefore, I sporadically get a voicemail (I never answer if I don’t know who it is) from a senior citizen.  The tone is angry and confused.  They’re always shouting:

“You never called me back.  I need my prescription refilled and you never called me back…”

The voicemail usually lasts about two minutes but seems much longer.  I admit I didn’t use to call them back, but my wife convinced me to be a good citizen.  So now I do the courteous thing and politely let them know they called the wrong number and that I’m not a doctor.  Typically, they don’t understand what I am telling them at first and insist that I refill their prescription.

But yesterday was a little bit different.

I got a call at work yesterday morning from an angry, loud, and older sound man:

“I told you not to send me this!  I said you could send me the sample but not the gallon!  And now you’re charging me $129 for it!  I don’t want it!  I told you…”

The funny thing is, the company I work for doesn’t sell or give away any products whatsoever.  He clearly had the wrong number.  So politely and professionally, I explained that to him.

He interrupted:  “No, no!  You sent me a whole gallon of this stuff and I don’t want it!…”

I ask him:  “Sir, what company do you think we are?”

He replies:  “What?  I don’t know the name of your company but this is the same phone number and I told you I only wanted a free sample…”

After multiple times and trying to help him understand reality, I gave up.  And gave in.  The plan: to annoy him until he hung up.

So then I ask the guy:  “Now, this stuff they sent you… is it lotion?”

“NO!  No, it’s not lotion!  It goes in a gas tank to get better fuel mileage.  And I don’t want it…”

I respond:  “Now, tell me, does it smell like oranges?  Is it made from oranges?”

“NO!  No, it doesn’t smell like oranges.  I don’t know what it’s made out of.  But I told that guy I didn’t want it…”

Click.  He hung up after just a few of my annoying questions.

I love annoying people who refuse to accept reality.


TMTT (Too Much Trouble to Talk)

According the September 19, 2008 issue of the New York Times, in America there are now more text messages transmitted through cell phones than actual calls. It almost seems hard to believe, but that’s probably because I am assuming it’s only me that’s texting more times a day than calling. But maybe for once, I’m normal…

For some reason, I like those black-and-white commercials for Sprint featuring personal messages from the CEO, Dan Hesse. In the commercial where he’s at the café, he tell us, “It’s amazing we still call these things ‘phones’, considering all they can do.” He’s right. That reminds me of Ernest (the one that goes to camp, jail, etc.) who one time talked about all the cool features his watch had: flashlight, can opener, calculator, etc. The only problem is, he couldn’t figure out how to make it tell time.

I’ve got the Samsung version of the i-Phone and yes, it does everything. But I mainly got it because of the full keyboard for texting. (I think as an English major, it’s hard for me to purposely misspell words even when texting- it feels sinful.)  It’s becoming pretty clear to me:  it’s just become too much trouble to talk.

For me, it all started with the fact I hate checking voicemails. It’s a lot of trouble: Go to your voicemail. Enter your password. Listen to old voicemails you haven’t erased. Listen to the actual new voicemail. Erase it. Call the person back. Yikes!

And leaving a voicemail isn’t much better because you have to listen to that annoying speech that’s not news to you: “The person you are calling is unavailable. If you would like to page this person, press 5. If you would like to leave a voicemail, press 1. If you would like to leave a call-back number, press 4…” Come on! Who actually pages someone on a cell phone? Instead I text them. They shouldn’t make me listen to that instructional message. It should just say, “Leave a message”. Then I could save 45 seconds.

I realize this all may be a little biased in that I’m a guy and I communicate like a man, not a woman. A man communicates to exchange facts. A woman communicates to strengthen her relationships with the people in her life. But still, texting helps both genders accomplish their goals in their communication needs.

Speaking of communication (unfortunate pun), I’ve noticed a definite pattern in online networking sites. Everybody thought MySpace was cool at first. Then came the creeps and the spam. And it was too hard to know who “The Big Kenny” or “Georgia Princess” is. So we all converted our allegiance to facebook. And yes, facebook is unbeatable. It’s very easy to find the “friends” and it keeps you posted on any news with your them. Why? So we don’t have to ask them ourselves…

Not only do I not need to call Alex Igou but I don’t really even have to send him a message on facebook. I can just look at his “info” and learn where he lives, where he went to college, and if he’s married now. And if there is any other important info I would need to know, like that he’s going back home to Fort Payne, AL this weekend, he will put that in the “Alex is” section and that’ll show up on my news feed.

It’s just too easy not to talk to people.   And I think for that very reason, now more than ever, I have this desire to actually spend time with people. There is a major amount of “catching up” with someone that I just can’t do through a phone call, text, or facebook transaction. Maybe with enough hang time, I can slowly learn to talk again.

texting