Wednesday 07 Dec 2016

Forlorn Phone
Jennifer Flaten

Who would want a cell phone that only makes call? Me, that’s who, well, okay, not for me, for my daughters. In typical hypocritical parent fashion, I have a smart phone, but I want a “dumb” phone for my kids.

Good luck finding one it is nearly impossible to find a cell phone that is nothing more than a phone. Most phones are now capable of landing a 747 from the ground, in addition to making calls. The bells and whistles are neat, but all the girls really need is a phone to call the tax; I mean me.

I found a relatively cheap “dumb” phone. Actually, it would be quite affordable if I didn’t have to buy two phones. I admit for one brief moment I considered buying one and then I came to my senses. Two girls using one phone, can you imagine. Come on that is like a cage match waiting to happen.

The phones didn’t cement my place in the Evil Parent Hall of Fame. No, it was that I put them on a pay as you go plan. The pay as you go plan is necessary from both a financial standpoint-I am cheap, remember-and from a time stand point.

If I didn’t find a way to limit, in a meaningful way, how much they use the phone, I would give them the phone and never see them again. Furthermore, they must make the paltry amount I am putting on each phone last the entire month. It’s as if a million pre-teen girls cried out as one.

Yep, the phone is truly only for emergencies. Trust me; my kids are not at all pleased with my decision. If I was a dictator-which I am not despite the propaganda circulated by my children, I would be wary of an upcoming coup.

Though I’ve won the affection of the girl faction, I have alienated the boy faction. I had to tell the brother that he was too young for a phone. He was not amused and retreated to planet Lego to plot his revenge.

It all worked out. Once I presented the girls with their phones, it didn’t matter that the phones were paperweights that made calls, they finally had honest-to-gawd phones of their very own.

Just as I predicted after much squealing and jumping up and down, the girls ran off to their rooms to “customize” their phones. They also used up almost half of their monthly budget calling and texting various friends to let them know “they have a phone.”

For the first month after they got the phones, they would take the phone everywhere with them. One kid would even leave it on the bathroom counter when she took a shower. Who knows, maybe she was expecting an urgent call from the President.

Gradually, their excitement wore off. Forgotten, the phone left in the locker at school or buried under a ton of debris in a purse. Now it’s to the point, where I have to remind them to take their phones to school in case they do need to call me.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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