About 10 years ago, well into the age of cellphones, I read about a local woman who was finally getting rid of her party line. (If you’re a teenager who doesn’t know what a party line is, let me just say, it’s probably not what you’re thinking.) There hadn’t been another party on her line for years; she had been the last one using it. She wanted to keep it because it was amazingly inexpensive but her phone carrier wouldn’t hear of it. They dragged her kicking and screaming into, oh, the 1950s. And charged her more for it.
Me, I like the new stuff. The printer I talked about earlier is wireless. That doesn’t mean it has no wires, it just means it has one less wire -- the one to the computer. It still has a power cord and it has to be plugged into a phone jack to use the fax. Maybe wireless is a little optimistic. The term should really be “wirefewer” as in “her party line was wireless compared to my wirefewer printer.” I like that my smartphone can take pictures and let me read my email. Yet I know that when I reread this story in two or three years, I’ll say, “Wireless? Really? That went out ages ago. A smartphone? When is the dude going to catch up and get a phone chip implanted in his forehead like everyone else? He probably has one of those, what do you call them? Fax machines.”
Jim Mullen is the author of “It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life,” “Baby’s First Tattoo” and “Now in Paperback.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.