We Really Need a Cell Phone Tooth Brush?

By Curtis K. Shelburne: Local columnist

I admit it: I’m a nerd. I love technology mainly because I love techno-gadgets.

I know. Sometimes you’ve got to wonder about the practicality of some of the gadgets. Just because it’s possible to make a cell phone that doubles as a tooth brush, should we? Do we really have a need for such? What we do need very badly are not just folks who know how to make stuff but folks who know how to ask why. Math and science are wonderful disciplines, but before we consign all the history and English, arts and humanities, majors to museums where they can be viewed in glass cases as oddities from the distant past, it might be good to keep a few around just in case someone ever wants to ask about where we’ve been and why we might want to think about where we’re heading.

Take text messaging, for example. Even though I tend to like cool new stuff, I’ve been slow to admit that “texting” is really cool or new. We’ve had stuff like Morse Code for a long time, and people could be trained to be really proficient and fast at it. For most of us, most of the time, hunching over a list of the Morse dots and dashes and tap, tap, tapping just seemed tedious. What if somebody invented something really cool that you could use to actually talk over? Oh, hey, they did! The telephone

Sorry, but my first reaction when I learned about “texting” was, “Fine. We can do it. Big deal. What’s the point?” I thought two empty Campbell’s soup cans tied together with a string would be more of a genuine advancement in technology

But I’m coming along a bit.

I still find texting tedious, but when I saw our kids able to “thumb” out one message announcing the birth of each of my granddaughters and send it to everyone on their “address books,” I saw some sense in it. That would have taken lots of cans and a good bit of fiber. Not optics. String

Speaking of granddaughters, one of the little beauties was heading our way recently. I’d been working in the yard but I was getting impatient. So I sent this text message to my son, her father: “The estate is mowed. I wish to see my oldest granddaughter. Bring her I bid thee.” (I wished to see the youngest one, too! But she was busy getting ready for her “one year” birthday party.

A few minutes later, I sent another text with news: “Live bunny nest found under purple plum. Bunnies want to see Brylan.” And then I got this reply: “She’s on her way. Be patient, old man.” Like most text messages, this one was deficient in capitalization and punctuation, though I’ve fixed it here. I understand that (even as an English major). Thumb-typing is tedious. But I got the message. “OLD” man?! Yeah, I got that one, too. Makes you wonder why you sired such Cretans. Grandchildren. That’s why

When God wanted to send the best message of all, He sent it in Person. His Son.

Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at