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My daughters give me the cell phone blues

Commentary

February 24, 2013
Scott Franco (sfranco@altoonamirror.com) , The Altoona Mirror

I can't imagine there's a parent out there who doesn't revel in proving one of their children wrong. I am no exception to that rule.

Last month, my wife lost my cellphone, which wasn't too alarming to me because she has one, as do my two daughters. That offers enough safety for me and gives me peace of mind as well. And to let you know, that was back on Jan. 12. We are now looking at Feb. 24, and I have yet to purchase a new one.

We looked for it, retraced our steps, interviewed people J. Edgar Hoover would have been proud. We simply couldn't find it anywhere. Finally, I called and canceled it. I paid the final bill and moved on. But now my daughters, ages 17 and 14, are horrified.

"How can you not have a cellphone?" They ask. Easy ... by not buying one. That's how.

"What if you want to call someone?" They ask. Easy ... I'll wait until I get home and use that thing on the wall. It's called a telephone.

You should see them out in public. They are embarrassed that I don't have a cellphone anymore. And God forbid if I bring it up while they are among others in their group. I might as well say I just got out of the joint after doing a dime in upstate New York.

They never liked my cellphone anyway, mostly because it was a relic, purchased months before my wife, Ann Marie, gave birth to our twin sons, Dominic and Vincent, back in 2003. They didn't like that my phone didn't take photos. They didn't like that it was anti-app. They didn't like that surfing the Net was virtually impossible. They

didn't like that my ring tone was just ... a ringing sound.

I liked it because it called people, and allowed people to call me. Imagine that!

They laughed because it wasn't a flip phone, or one of those hot-off-the-Japanese assembly line gadgets. It was so small there was no need to flip it open. It was always open.

It had charm. I loved the way the bright screen had dimmed over time. And over the years, the decorative duct tape that held the battery in place made it quite the conversation piece, unless the conversation was among my daughters, to which they shut up rather quickly.

If I wanted to get their attention in public, and I didn't care for their attitude, all I had to do was take my cellphone out of my pocket and show it to their friends. It was my wooden cross to their Dracula-n attitude.

I still can't figure out why they'd rather text their friends than actually talk to them and hear words instead of misspelling them. I told them they have my blessing to go ahead and mispronounce the words if they'd like, but I just get that smirk.

So for now ... knock on wood, there has been no need for me to buy a cellphone. People still get a hold of me. Food is still put on the dinner table. Bills still get paid. My daughters still get things brought to their school because they forgot to take stuff with them in the morning on the bus.

"Daddy, could you bring my saxophone to school before third period?"

I guess I can fax her my reply.

Scott Franco, a father of four, works in the sports department of the Mirror.

 
 

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