My stepdad is a retired commercial airline pilot. My sisters and I call him “The Cap’n.”
This man flew 747’s. He served in the military. He raised several children. He’s a grandfather. He knows how to play bridge, wallop my mom at Scrabble, read and comprehend an astonishing number of books in short order, and he recently reported that his golf game is “really getting there.” The Cap’n is clearly a capable person, which makes it all the funnier than he can’t seem to not lose his wallet, keys, cell phone, checkbook, etc., at least once a day. He’s done this for decades. I say it’s funny, but of course it’s not funny to him when he needs his checkbook, or to my mother, when she needs to turn on the car and go someplace.
This mostly harmless absentmindedness produced a big problem for my stepdad, however, with the arrival of the cell phone. (I understand that was awhile ago.) The Cap’n dutifully got a cell phone and over the ensuing years proceeded to lose it, replace it, forget about it entirely, get angry because it would ring at inopportune times and not ring when he needed it to, lose charge, get broken, become obsolete, etc., etc. When he eventually got an iPhone, he downloaded and printed the entire operator’s manual from the Internet so he could best use the new tool everyone was so nuts about. This is why I love him.
One fine day last week, The Cap’n took his iPhone out to the garage and smashed it with a hammer.
“I’m done with it,” he told my mother. “Done with the whole mess.”
He smashed his iPhone! With a hammer!
“What?!” I cried, when Mom told me. I was instantly mixed with feelings of shock and feelings of a deep, inexplicable happiness.
“He just hates having a cell phone,” Mom said. “He never liked having one. It really stressed him out. He’s much happier now.”
I spluttered, “But what about for travel, like when he’s in the car?” (Cell-phone manufacturers and mobile service providers surely have that question etched into the walls of their castles.)
“Oh, I suppose he’ll manage.”
Indeed, he will. We all will. We all did. Bravo, Cap’n. I am really proud of you. You took your happiness into your own hands. You fought the law and the law lost, big time. The whole Apple industrial complex was felled in one hammer blow and I adore you for it. You’ve got one less thing to lose, one less thing to manage, and you will never, ever have to turn your ringer on or off, ever again.