I am Taking that Intellivision Off the Hook!

Land Line Telephone Cord

Flipping through an old children’s book at story time we came across a picture of a phone.  To me it was a very familiar object, to him it could have been can opener.  He looked at it curiously and asked “what’s that?” I told him it was a phone to which he promptly replied “No, no that’s not mama’s phone”.  It suddenly dawned on me that just like I had never used an old fashioned hand crank phone, he will likely never use a corded telephone like the one that I spent so many hours on as a child. The kind that I would become tangled in while being lost in a conversation with some boy. The one who’s cord I would twirl in my fingers and spiral around my ring finger.

We had the longest cord  available and I would still stretch that cord until it frayed just so I was able to walk all the way down our stairs, through our living room and out the front door to sit on our porch and talk. But most nights I would  stay tucked under the covers in my room whispering into the receiver. But she always knew, my mom always knew everything. Promptly at 10:00 pm she would start yelling up the stairs to my bedroom and tell me it was time “to get off the phone, go to bed,  you have school in the morning” I would of course refuse and the next stream of threats would come. She would pick up the other receiver “You wont have phone privileges tomorrow”, “You are in big trouble”, and the final threat “Hang up now or I am unplugging the cord and leaving the phone off the hook for the next three days” and that was all it took. The sheer idea of not having a phone, of being disconnected from my friends for three whole days, I would certainly die. I mean that was my only means of communication with the outside world. How would my friends know which boy I liked over those three days, how would I know where the next party spot  would be.  I think of all of the mischievous ways I used that phone back then. I would use it as a sort of morse code type of texting in which we would call friends and let it ring one, twice or three times before hanging up to signal that I could sneak out or that it was safe to sneak in.

At that time if someone would have said one day you will have the phone roughly the size of an Intellivision controller that you can carry around and talk on anywhere, send letters on it that people will read in the same day,  play music from it,  take pictures that develop immediately, map driving directions based on geo-coordinates, and even create and watch home movies, I would have would have thought they were crazy or some futuristic whack job.

But here we are today and all that is possible and so much more.  Mobile technology is literally off the hook and continues to grow and improve at tremendous speeds.  I mean I am only 33 and already I have seen the rotary phone, the touch tone phone, the cordless phone, the mobile phone, and the smart phone. In recent years this technology has been advancing at a much faster pace than the historic progression of land line phones and there is no slowdown in the foreseeable future. Mobile Smart Phones  tablets, such as iPads, and cloud computing are truly the technologies that have the power to make us completely autonomous from our homes and from our work places.

I look down at my children and wonder what the next steps in communication will be for them. What will the landscape of education institutes and workplaces look like?  Will everything be telecommuting? Will our world turn into a scene out of Wall-E? What will be important to my children and most importantly what mischievous technology fueled schemes do they have in store for me?

I had to work to pull the wool over and hide things from my parent’s eyes. They are going to have it so much easier.  They are going to grow up knowing only mobile communications and social media and I won’t be able to unplug the cord or leave it off the hook for three days.  By the time they are teenagers I will be lucky if I am not dealing with teleportation or same day space travel. Hey at this point I am not ruling anything out.

It is going to be a challenge to raise them in this world of social media bombardment, but hey I am up for that challenge. I plan to encourage them to soak it up, expands their minds and use it for the greater good. If you want to be rich in the future I suggest you take every crazy communication idea you have ever thought of put it in a blender mush it up real good and invent it because if you don’t, my kids will!

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