It came first thing Wednesday morning—wrapped tightly, protected.
Gingerly opening the box, rushing for that first look…there it was— just as I’d pictured it! Nestled within a sea of plastic bubbles, sleek, beautiful….aching to be held in the palm of my hand: it was my new cell phone!

Four days I went without. Four long, silent days. No texting. No emails. No calls—My kids live out of town—it’s always on…24/7/365 with rings, bells, whistles and notices and now——Notta.

“Went missing” Saturday—late. Oh, sure, friends helped me search, but clearly I was destroyed. She was gone.

The call to my I.T. guy, Michael, was placed Sunday.
“You better call Verizon, Dad.”
“OK, but I don’t want to lose my number.”
“Don’t worry Dad. I’ll call.” (And as we Skyped, he did). (And as he did, they pulled the plug). Fartik!

My phone,—my first beautiful Blackberry….the one with Rooney’s wedding on the cover—with Haley, Harold and Helen in the memory…the bank to a myriad of phone numbers and email addresses…Gone.

It wasn’t the end of the world, of course. Indeed, a part of me enjoyed the respite, reveled in the peace. As such, Sunday was wondrous. Serene.
No calls meant no interruptions. Alas, a day of rest.

Close friends, of course, have counseled me over time: they think I’m too close to my phone. The bond, (they accuse), is unbalanced. Further, they cite nature, not nurture.

My brother Hal, for example, who grew up in the same home as me, has a totally different relationship with his cell, (and they’re not even “exclusive”)—indeed, he has a ground line as well. Many a dinner on Aldersgate I’ve heard the phone ring and watched him totally ignore it.
So go figure—we’re from the same family.

Growing up there was one of three adults in the house: Dad, Sam, and Mom.

It’s well-chronicled that our father hated the phone. H and I still have, cemented in our psyches, memories of dinnertime calls:

“They don’t let you live!’ Al would glare, angered by the ring of a probable bill collector. (Indeed, even after debt-dodging days, rejecting Call Waiting, he’d assert: “If it’s important, they’ll call back.” Too bad, though, that he didn’t live long enough for Caller ID—he would have dubbed it “the greatest thing since sliced bread”).

After Dad, our Mom wed Sam. He was gentle and easy and we—we were teenaged boys. He didn’t have a chance.

“Let it go boys, we’re eating now.” (He’d ASK).
We’d keep moving, and our Mom would chime in:
“Sam, tell the boys NOT NOW—we’re eating.”
The poor guy just wasn’t equipped for teenage boys…. We always picked it up.

Yeah, the phone would ring and Al would bark, Sam would submit, and our Mother? Truth is…she couldn’t hear it.

No one, of course, has demonstrated more sustained respect for this invention than Helen Bogart. She did and does worship at its shrine.

To this day if you tell her you’ll be calling her on (let’s say) a Thursday…she’ll abstain from bathing or even going down for the mail, lest she miss it. To be sure, if our aunt awaits an INCOMING call, she won’t make an OUTGOING call. God forbid, (she points out), someone is trying to reach her that very moment. More than once I’ve been admonished for failing to call her as promised, and thus, for ruining her day:

“Bruce, you said you’d call this morning. It’s now afternoon. Why do you do this to me?”

My father ducked calls in his simpler world; our aunt stalks them in hers. Me? I’m a work-in-progress, afraid to miss the call, the text, the…WAIT a second! I’m beginning to sound more like my aunt than my Dad!

This is not a good sign. This cannot be good for the Jews.

Time to look in the mirror, I guess. Take a step back, if I can.
Time to call my I.T. man again….(“Michael, it’s your Dad. I got the new phone….How do you turn it off?”)

Time for perhaps another four days of….silence?


  1. Stacy Bohrer says:

    I just called to say I love you…and it was off!! urgh

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