October 30, 2003


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Forgive me, I’m about to rant.

But before I start, I want you to know that I planned a more pop-culture relevant rant about Newlyweds star Jessica Simpson and the other side of reality TV. I so wanted to debunk the ditzy, shallow, Rainbow-Louis-Vuitton-bag-toting Jessica we’ve come to know this season. But, as luck would have it, the reality of my own life impeded my want to interpret her’s.

It wasn’t until I began to commit my case to paper that I realized my baby was sick, and suddenly, Jessica wasn’t important anymore.

Yes, I’m the proud papa of Shelly, a two-month old Motorola T720 cellular telephone. I love Shelly, I even bought a nice leather case to shield her from the elements and her daddy’s clumsiness. After having lost another T720 prematurely, I resolved I would lovingly spoil my next child.

So when she began to cry, “beep, beep, beep.” I knew something wasn’t right.

“What’s wrong?” I asked. All she could muster was, “unable to charge.”

“What? The charger is in you, why can’t you charge,” I screamed. Oh, Shelly was too far gone to grasp my frustration. She’s too young to realize how much she means to me. Because of her, I’m able to connect with friends, family, and everything from which Ithaca keeps me. If I were to lose her, I just don’t know what I’d do.

Well, I panicked, Verizon was closed and customer service is always useless. So, I put her gently to bed, said a prayer for her speedy recovery, and cried myself to sleep.

We awoke early the next morning. I bundled Shelly, along with her car and home chargers, and we raced to the Route 13 Verizon store. Luckily, we were the first to arrive, and I was able to explain to Jason, the technician, Shelly’s malady.

“Jason,” I uttered, “she won’t charge.” He shook his head and carried Shelly to the infirmary where he began a routine exam. She was undressed, swabbed, and alcohol cleansed, but after all that, my baby still couldn’t get a charge.

I couldn’t watch. I wandered away admiring the happy and healthy model phones. Then, I hated myself for entertaining the thought of life without Shelly and with the comparably priced LG VX4400. As I admired its large, colorful Caller ID display, Jason returned with news that he would have to sodder Shelly. Worst of all, I could lose her. I had to risk her undergoing the surgery.

Grief-stricken, I ventured out for coffee and found comfort in Oprah’s wise words in O magazine. 20 minutes later, I was back at Verizon. Jason met me at the door, and I spied Shelly lying on his desk.

Naturally, I feared the worst. He placed her carefully in my hand and told me the procedure was a success. Shelly’s pins were loose in her charger slot and it happens all the time. There wouldn’t be a need to collect on her Verizon life insurance policy. Jason had given my dear daughter a new lease on life. I was incredibly relieved!

But am I as ditzy as Jessica Simpson for being so deeply attached to a cell phone? Probably. Good thing I’m not on TV.

Archived article by Justin Finch