New cell requires complicated decisions

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

As if it happened through cosmic fate, my little-used cellular phone decided to stop functioning properly right when I was due a rebate for a new cell phone.

It is only through fate that I get a new cell phone, and yet one more affirmation that I hate getting new cell phones.

If you’re over the age of three you have a cell phone. Like me, you know the experiences of getting a new phone and how fun it isn’t to reprogram years’ worth of numbers into a device that will only ring at inappropriate times, like when the platonic friend calls me on the one night I have a date and have convinced my date that I am a faithful man. It wouldn’t be so bad, except “Jennifer” ends the call by saying, “I love you,” and puts me on the spot to properly respond in front of my date.

(I use quote marks to indicate “Jennifer” is a fake name I use to protect the identity of my friend Rachael, who has done this to me.)

Entering numbers is cumbersome, but I have phone paranoia and want to know who’s calling me before I answer. Thus, I create entries for any number I could possibly call, or any person who could possibly call me. Many of these entries are necessary to put in (like a boss’ cell phone number), but I have also created many entries I didn’t really want on my phone (like a boss’ cell phone number).

Still, I wonder how much effort I should put into my complicated phone, or the simple user guide that is 240 pages long — a mere 43 pages longer than Mitch Albom’s new novel, “For One More Day.”

Maybe I’ll use some of these features, such as the dialing code that lets me put in pauses for calls to such automated systems as my bank (or, ironically, my cell phone provider). But will I use other features, e.g., custom ringtones for particular groups and friends? What ringtone do I pick for coworkers, and is it overboard to use the Star Wars “Imperial March” song as a ringtone for supervisors?

Do I bother with a custom ringtone for friends who never call anyway? I did that once, wasting effort finding a Barry Manilow ringtone for Amanda, but she never called. Sometimes people find out their custom ring and they get offended — one of my friends was quite dismayed when I alluded to his two gorgeous platonic friends by giving him the “Three’s Company” theme as a ringtone.

Maybe I shouldn’t get any ringtones at all, and just keep the factory presets. After all, I don’t want to offend callers with my ringtones. I’d rather save the offending for the phone call itself.

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. He can be reached at 763-3431, ext. 313, or by e-mail:
kevin_wilson@link.freedom.com