As much as it pains me to say this: I was around when the first commercial cellphone was introduced to the world in 1973-invented by Martin Cooper.
Now, the only “portability” of telephones that existed prior to that date was “car” phones. Car phones were hard-wired into your vehicle. Typically, the transceiver box was mounted in the trunk with power being connected to the ignition. The antenna was mounted at the rear of the car near the roof for best reception. The hand-set was mounted near the driver on the console or near the dash. And it was all brought together with wires that had to be hidden from view.
And if you want to go back even farther; Johnson Communications had a citizens’ band radio with a microphone that was shaped like a telephone. Anyone looking at the user while they drove in traffic would think that they were talking on a car phone. I had a little Italian buddy that actually had one mounted in his Cadillac and I felt pretty special when I would use it to say, “Breaker, breaker; how about that eastbound pick ‘em up truck, come on”!
The first, fully portable cell phone retailed for about four grand! Then, you got about 30 minutes of talk time before you had to charge it for 16 hours. But, you see there were only two functions of the first cellphone; TALK and LISTEN. There was no voice-mail, email, texting, web-browsing, games, music or CAMERAs. Yup; no app store or ringtones.
For several years, I did not have a personal cell phone, but had many company cell phones. I had to struggle with flip phones until about 2004, when I got my first Blackberry.
Hey; does anyone remember the Palm Pilots?
Anyway; we discovered along the way that every minute of our day is soooooo important. We have to be available every waking minute of each day. We don’t take time to read the morning paper. Dagwood Bumstead still does, but we have to check our phone to see what we had missed during the hours that we slept. As we pour our second cup of coffee, we make a call. We pour the remaining coffee from the pot into our favorite travel mug and it’s off we go to drive and make calls on our way into work. That is the first time that we got stupid with our cell phones. The second time was when we thought it would be smart to text message and drive.
Well, it has been Androids and iPhones since the early days of “smart phones”. And though the smart phones have gotten smarter, many of their users have reached a whole new level of stupid.
I don’t want to start a generational war, but when was the last time that you saw national fire service headlines read “Sixty-year-old, 35 year veteran takes picture of half-naked victim and posts it on Facebook”?
Baby-boomers; ah, God love them. They grew up around people with uncommon quantities of common sense. They grew up around integrity, trust, compassion, good reasoning, good decision-making and a good work ethic.
So, it only makes sense that, at a scene; while the young’uns are grabbing their phones for a round of selfies with the “Beast” or a headless corpse, the 35 year vet is busy working the scene, providing aid and comfort where they can.
It’s funny, but the old jake sees a problem with phones at the scene. Hell; he sees a problem with phones while on duty, except the phones that are assigned to the department. The young’uns will bust on him for being a dinosaur; for not being “with it”.
And then, along comes the SOG for use of personal cellphones while on duty.
You’re kidding! That’s a violation of my freedom of connectivity. It’s guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, man.
Fire departments across the nation started busting and booting firefighters left and right.
Because as it turns out, some people are too stupid to have a smart phone.
They are too stupid to realize that, when they are on duty, they are working and if they are working, they shouldn’t be using their personal cell phones.
They are too stupid to realize that, when the public needs our help; you can’t help if you are taking pictures for the photo montage that will go up at Instagram. Or they are too busy texting a message to their buddy at the neighboring department, telling him in graphic details of all of the blood and guts that are at the accident scene. His buddy, being the good buddy that he is, will instantly post it on Facebook, where it will get a thousand “likes” and 300 “shares”. You rock, dude! Tweet…Retweet!
Babies have their binkies and woobies.
We have our smartphones and Starbucks.
And if you’re stupid enough, you will be chatting on your phone when you spill your very hot Venti Red-Eye into your lap, causing you to half-assed stand up with your left foot on the floorboard and OH NO; your right foot standing on the accelerator.
You then fly over a retaining wall, spill what is left of your Starbucks and watch your phone fly out your window and shatter as it hits the only big rock in that city block.
Is it stupid to want a written test, ACT scores and a co-signer in order to get a smart phone?
I have a dream. I have a dream that someday, we will not be judged by the color of our cellphone, but by the content of our Cloud.
This article is protected under The Adventures of Jake and Vinnie© umbrella of intellectual projects of the author, Art Goodrich aka ChiefReason.