What happens if I push this button?

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Column by Jim Clark

There are little things in life than can have a major effect on your concentration, your thought process, your lifestyle.
Last week, my cell phone died.
I won’t tell you the brand, but this cell phone could do more things than just be a “phone.” Still, you had to maneuver around the screen with a little button, then press that button to make your phone do anything. If you wanted to type something, the keyboard was so small that a kindergartener probably would have been frustrated.
It was probably just a battery, but somehow I remembered that years ago, when I got into the plan I was on, I was told that after two years I was entitled to a new phone if I signed up again for two years. Since those first two years had long since passed, I decided to find out what benefits awaited me.
So I went to my provider’s store, and it turns out that I would get a credit toward a new phone. Phones cost so much now that they couldn’t keep giving them away, I guess.
So I took the plunge. I got a new phone, and I paid very, very little for it, which is good.
I must say, it’s only been a few days, but so far I’ve learned how to turn it on, turn it off, make a call and receive a call. How’s that for just a few days?
This is one of those phones that you just touch the screen and it performs whatever function you touch. I haven’t figured out how to lock the screen yet, so I don’t accidentally touch something, but I will. Honest.
I found out that I can browse the Internet, send and receive e-mail, use it as a GPS so I can find out where I am (hey, I’m a man, I never ask for directions), listen to music and do all sorts of fun things with games.
And now, I can even (gasp!) text.
To get to the keyboard, you slide it out from under the screen and turn your phone sideways. In an amazing bit of technology, whatever is on your screen also turns sideways, saving you from a stiff neck. Sheer genius.
Then there are “apps.” I’m assuming that is short for “applications,” but you know what they say about people who assume things. I found several apps on my phone, but I’m still learning how to use them. On The Weather Channel on Saturday morning, Stephanie Abrams was in Key West getting ready for the hurricane, and she talked to someone from the Red Cross about an app that they had available. Trouble is, for dunces like me, she never said how to get that app. Doesn’t she know that people like me need lots of step-by-step guidance?
The people at the store were very nice. They downloaded all my contacts from my old phone. They even transferred my ringtone, which is music from 50 years ago. It’s a song called “Meet the Mets.” Those who know me probably already guessed that.
So I’m going through the abbreviated owner’s manual, which most companies evidently now expect you to read online, and trying to learn a lot of things. But I have to cut this short. My phone is ringing … I think.
Jim Clark is the editor of the South Marion Citizen and West Marion Messenger.

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