In one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite sitcoms, "The Big Bang Theory," the quirky cast is seated in Leonard and Sheldon's apartment, gobbling up take-out food and all finagling with their cell phones in some way.
Perhaps the sanest of the group, Amy Farrah Fowler (what a great name for a trivia competition team, incidentally), finally has enough.
"Can we maybe put the phones down and have an actual human conversation?" she asks.
Sheldon, of course, is quick to respond.
"We can," he deadpans, "but thanks to Steve Jobs, we don't have to."
Yes, it's painfully obvious we have become slaves to our cell phones. And now a device few of us could afford to squeeze into our budgets 20 years ago, exists as essential as most body parts.
Heard a talking TV head say the other day that the average American checks his or her cell phone 150 times a day. And the average cell phone user sends 40 texts a day, many sending many more than that (this is where you all say "duh").
Since I love such inexact science and studies like that, those numbers and notions stuck in my head.
So when I accidentally left my phone plugged into the charger at the BG office one Friday night as I adjourned for dinner with my peeps at Putnam Inn, a wave of panic came over me. I would be out of touch for the better part of two hours. Out of contact with the office. No way for anyone to get ahold of me on a moment's notice.
The panic passed and I smiled to myself.
Aaaah, freedom. I cherished the notion. After all, if something dire was occurring, everyone else had their phone and I was literally two blocks from the office.
Flush with that knowledge, I nonetheless caved into the immediacy issue the next day as I set out to mow my yard (or the yard of the people who now own my old house to be exact).
Throwing on an old Dixie Chopper T-shirt and some cargo shorts, I was about to venture out to the garage when I succumbed to taking my phone with me since I was expecting a fairly important call. True, my Dixie Silver Eagle can dispense with my mowing chores in 30 minutes, but I decided I'd better keep my phone close. You know the old logic: Keep your friends close and your enemies closer and keep your cell phones within arm's reach.
So bowing to the convenience of wardrobe and the need for instant cell service, I called on my innermost James Dean.
Holding my iPhone against my shoulder, I wrapped the sleeve of my T-shirt around it, just like Dean and the broodingly cool guys used to do with their Luckies back in the day.
Of course, Dean could drive a convertible off a cliff and never even crimp a cigarette but I made two laps of my backyard and my sleeve unraveled and my phone plopped to the turf like a wounded duck.
Naturally, the right side rear tire, didn't miss it, squishing the phone face-down into the soft sod beneath the pine tree out back.
Talk about your lucky strikes. The Dualtek impact protection case I bought for the phone paid off as other than having to dig mud out of the corners of the screen, nothing else was any worse for the wear.
Wiping it as clean as I could, I tucked the phone into the pocket of my cargo shorts for belated sake keeping...
But not before I checked my messages, answered a text or two and tweeted my take on the Mizzou football season.
Thank you, Steve Jobs.