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En route to cordless bliss

This week I wanted to bring to your attention an extremely grave situation that in the near future could affect every last one of us. However, I couldn't find such an issue, so I'm going to talk about the time I went to buy a new cordless phone. (I know, it's random. But whatcha' gonna do?)

Reading my account of striving for cordless bliss may spawn fond memories of your own cordless phone, in which case, you're clinically insane.

This past summer I began having problems with the telephone in my room. These problems began when the 2 button on the number-pad malfunctioned. I solved this problem by only calling people without any two's in their phone number. However, the sickness spread like a cancer, and soon the 4 and 5 buttons too succumbed to this vice. Chemotherapy proved unsuccessful, so I broke down and went to buy a new phone.

I decided to purchase a cordless phone so that I could talk on it while up to three feet away from the base. (Can you feel the excitement?) The first salesperson I talked to quickly demonstrated his ability to sound extremely informative while still basically saying, "I don't know." I then found another salesperson who was having some sort of seizure. However, the third employee I spoke to finally helped me make my purchase.

Once I got home, I started reading the instructions for my new phone. I was reassured that the instructions for screwing in the antenna came complete with a diagram of which way is clockwise. If you don't know which way clockwise is, should you really be allowed to operate a telephone?

Next I had to select a location for my phone. To my surprise, (I'm not making this up) the instructions suggested that the phone be placed away from electrical machinery (such as a cappuccino machine), electrical appliances (such as a cappuccino machine), metal walls or filing cabinets, wireless intercoms, Toyota Camrys and professional soccer teams (I made those last two up). Then it said the phone should not be near (I swear this is true) other cordless phones. Otherwise, I guess territorial disputes would break out.

The instructions then read, "Note: You must not connect your phone to any coin-operated systems." This particularly upset me because I was planning on hooking my phone up to a vending machine in hopes that I would be able to communicate with the Ho-Hos. The instructions also told me to try several different locations and "see which provides the best performance." I hate to break it to the Harvard scientists who wrote the instruction booklet, but I'm going to put my phone where I'm going to be making phone calls. I just can't see doing otherwise.

"Hey Lee, can I use your phone?"

"Yeah, sure, it's downstairs under the fold-out sofa. Excellent reception."

Another note in the instructions said that if my phone line was not a modular jack, the wiring needed to be updated. It said I could update the wiring myself. Two paragraphs previous the directions were showing me which way is clockwise, and now they expected me to update the phone wiring? However, knowing a little something about electronics, I carefully took a fork and jabbed it into the phone jack! After several volts passed through my body, I realized the phone jack was actually the thermostat, and it turned out that I already had a modular outlet.

Next I read the part about setting the volume. It said, "adjust the Volume to control the volume of the sound you hear through the handset." This surprised me because up until that point I thought that the Volume dial controlled the volume of everybody standing around me.

There was also a section called "Testing Stored Emergency Numbers." The instructions told me that when testing an emergency number I should, "remain on the line to explain the reason for [my] call." It was lucky they told me that because I was just going to call and shout, "Man with gun! Dear God!" and hang up. I didn't know that was frowned upon.

There was also a section of warnings about the phone. It said, "Use and store the phone only in normal temperature environments." I realized that meant I had to stop using the phone while I was in my freezer. It also meant I had to leave my phone at home whenever I travel to the oven-like planet of Venus.

Despite the ingenious instructions, my phone works perfectly. Whenever I'm home, I bask in my cordless bliss. I just lay there talking on the phone and laughing at the base, whose restraints I have cast aside. I am free now, free as an eagle - one that's locked in a 16-foot cage with its wings clipped and only gets fed soggy broccoli.


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