Saturday, December 22, 2012

"iBought a New Phone"

By Jerry Zezima
The Stamford Advocate

With apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan, who are dead and can’t sue me, I’m the very model of the modern middle-age man. Except, unfortunately, when it comes to technology.

Until recently, I didn’t have an iPhone, an iPad, an iPod or iTunes, although I did have iTeeth.

At the urging of my wife, Sue, who got into the 21st century when it actually started, I exchanged my dumbphone for a smartphone.

And it cost me only 99 cents.

“What would you like your phone to do?” asked Syed, a nice and knowledgeable retail sales consultant at the AT&T store.

“I’d like it to pick the winning Powerball numbers,” I responded.

“If I could find a phone like that,” Syed said, “I wouldn’t be working here.”

“My old phone is no help,” I said, showing Syed the ancient Samsung I had been using -- or trying to use -- for the past several years.

“He doesn’t even know how to retrieve messages,” Sue told Syed.

“It doesn’t matter,” I said in my own defense. “Nobody wants to talk with me anyway.”

Then I explained that my original cellphone, which the Samsung replaced, came with a 134-page user guide.

“My daughters had to program it for me,” I said. “It used to be that all you had to know about the telephone was that you said ‘hello’ when you picked it up and ‘goodbye’ when you put it down.”

“Things have changed,” Syed said.

“Do you know when telephone technology was at its peak?” I asked him.

“When?” Syed wondered.

“The day Alexander Graham Bell invented it,” I said. “It’s been all downhill from there. Now the industry is defined by this phrase: ‘Can you hear me now?’ Even the phone makers don’t expect the stupid thing to work.”

Sue helpfully pointed out that I was, as usual, wrong.

“The phone works fine if you’re standing in the right place,” she said.

I used my phone to call hers. It didn’t ring.

“See what I mean?” I said. “I’m standing right next to you!”

It was the mission of Syed, a 22-year-old college student who grew up with technology, to modernize me, a 58-year-old geezer who not only hasn’t grown up but remembers when high-tech was an electric typewriter.

“Are you looking for an iPhone?” Syed asked.

“iGuess,” I replied.

“I would recommend the iPhone 4,” he said.

“What happened to the first three?” I inquired. “Didn’t they work, either?”

“They got upgraded,” said Syed. “That’s what I am going to do with you.”

“So I’ll be the iJerry 4?” I said. “It sounds like a rock group.”

Sue looked at me like I had rocks in my head.

Syed was too kind to agree, so he said, “I think I can help you. I have nothing better to do.”

When I told Syed that he has an excellent sense of humor, he replied, “I’m a hoot. The saddest thing about me is that I’m not around myself when I tell jokes.”

It’s a good thing he was around the store when Sue and I came in because he explained in layman’s terms (so even an idiot like me could understand) what the iPhone offered, including a feature that lets me write drivel like this without having to get on a computer. Or an electric typewriter.

“It’s perfect for your lifestyle,” Syed said.

“I really don’t have a life,” I explained.

“That means you’ll have more time to enjoy it,” he said.

“Now you can retrieve messages,” Sue said.

“Even though nobody wants to talk with you,” Syed chimed in.

The phone, which ordinarily costs $549, was only 99 cents with my contract.

“I appreciate the savings,” I said, “but I’d still like to win Powerball.”

“Sorry,” Syed told me. “That’s the one thing your new phone can’t do.”
Copyright 2012 by Jerry Zezima

Friday, December 7, 2012

"Christmas Letter 2012"

By Jerry Zezima
The Stamford Advocate

Since I am in the holiday spirit (and, having just consumed a mug of hot toddy, a glass of eggnog and a nip of cheer, the holiday spirits are in me), I have once again decided to follow in that great tradition of boring everyone silly by writing a Christmas letter.

That is why I am pleased as punch (which I also drank) to present the following chronicle of the Zezima family, which includes Jerry, the patriarch; Sue, the matriarch; Katie and Lauren, the childriarchs; and Dave and Guillaume, the sons-in-lawiarch. Happy reading!

Dear friend(s):

It sure has been an exciting 2012 for the Zezimas! The good news is that nobody in the family went to prison, though three of us had brushes with the law.

The first occurred when Jerry got a $100 parking ticket and had to go to court, where he stood before the judge and pleaded “clueless.” The judge refrained from having Jerry handcuffed and instead told him to talk over his case with a prosecutor, who informed him that he had a second ticket that went back several years and would cost hundreds of dollars. It was all a misunderstanding and Jerry got away with only a $40 fine for the first ticket and a warning from the judge that “clueless is not an option.”

Jerry was back in court when he had to report for jury duty on a mob trial. A man with a ridiculous nickname was charged with extortion and murder. Jerry made the first cut and had to go back for the final round of jury selection but fortunately was not chosen, perhaps because word got out in the legal community that he was clueless. At least he is not sleeping with the fishes.

Sue and Katie had contact with the police when they got into fender benders, though not with each other. No one was hurt and, for the purposes of this Christmas letter, they were not at fault.

Sue got a shopping excursion off on the right foot when she took Jerry to buy two pairs of shoes. They originally cost $250 combined, but with the sale price on each, the return of another pair of shoes and the coupons Sue brought with her, the total came to $1.45. Then Sue took Jerry to buy a pair of sneakers. Jerry wanted LeBron X’s, which cost $300, but Sue got him another pair that cost only $49.99. No wonder Sue is Jerry’s sole mate.

Jerry learned other valuable lessons when he had an archery lesson (an arrow escape), piano lessons (he won’t be playing Carnegie Hall) and a horseback riding lesson (he resembled the back end of the animal).

Jerry got physical -- and not in a good way -- when he threw his back out (the garbageman wouldn’t take it) and got an infected finger (no, not that one). Then he started getting brochures in the mail from a funeral home. It ended up being a dead issue.

Superstorm Sandy knocked out Sue and Jerry’s power for nine days, proving that she (he?) had even more hot air than Jerry. The air turned cold in the house, so Sue and Jerry spent three days and nights with Lauren and Guillaume, who also hosted a wonderful Thanksgiving Day that included Katie and Dave. The six of us had a great time.

Actually, six and a half. The best news of 2012 is that there is going to be an addition to the family (Lauren is expecting!), meaning Sue and Jerry will be grandparents. Sue said there will be a lot of toys under next year’s Christmas tree. Jerry thinks the baby should get some, too.

Merry Christmas with love and laughter from the Zezimas.
Copyright 2012 by Jerry Zezima