Things we used to take for granted now have to be replaced far too often. Phones are no exception, as demonstrated by my old flip phone which finally started to have issues after 12 years of use.
Your first thought is probably “why do I still have a flip phone”?
I’ve had a couple of newer smart phones in that time, but my flip was always my dependable backup. Despite my other phones being far more advanced, I still used the flip regularly for menial tasks such as a calculator and as an alarm clock each and every day during those 12 years. I even played games on it still.
It may not have been the most high tech device, but it served me well.
It was the first phone I ever had with a camera (I was a bit behind the times)
It was the first internet enabled phone I ever used (though very primitive).
It was the first phone I ever texted on.
It was a “dumb” phone by today’s standards, but it was pretty slick at the time!
Looking back, it’s almost embarrassing to admit I once thought this phone was “cool”, but it had that sci-fi chic to it. I remember playing with a Star Trek communicator toy when I was kid, thinking how fun it would be to have something like that for real, and there it was (it’s the little things in life that amuse me)!
I could never have imagined the things we could do today back in 2007.
But that’s not the point. The point is I am a thrifty man, and I expect things to last a long time. I feel 12 years is not nearly long enough for this piece of my personal history to last.
However, I look at my kids, other’s people’s kids and the public in general with regard to their phones. They go through them like they’re disposable items. I’ve seen kids with I-Phones worth $800 or more lose them or break them and just go “meh, whatever”.
Maybe it’s a sense of entitlement, or maybe they are disposable items to them, but not me. I just recently bought a new phone, replacing the one I had for barely 2 years. The one I had before that only lasted for like 2 years (and yes, I had the flip phone full time before that).
Why should I have to keep buying new phones???
Being the filthy cheapskate I am, I don’t think I paid more than $100 for either of the last two phones I had, but I want my stuff to last, even if I didn’t pay much. Regardless, I’m surprised they lasted as long as they did because things aren’t made to last anymore.
Our parents bought things that lasted forever…
Appliances, TV’s, stereos, tools, cars, furniture, clothes…
The stuff our parents owned had lasted for not just years, but decades.
Maybe they didn’t buy new stuff because they were just cheap like me, but you really can’t do that today because nothing is meant to last more than a year or two, even high dollar stuff.
When I bought my flip phone, I remember how mad I was.
I’d had my other phone since probably about 2003 and it was technologically behind. I was always dropping calls and needed a new phone so I could text without scrolling through the alphabet on each number key (if you’re under 30 you probably have NO clue what this means), so off to the phone store I went.
(Do you remember when we could only get cell phones in the phone store? Ugh.)
I kept telling the salesman I did NOT want a camera on my phone.
I said “I don’t care about all the gadgets. I just want a PHONE, but I was being shown all this new tech junk I didn’t want any part of…
I’m sorry sir, they don’t make “just” phones anymore”
After accepting that I wasn’t going to get what I wanted, I ended up with my new “phone”, which was also a camera, an MP3 player and a new thing called “applications”, which I knew I’d never use. Then there was the big selling point by the salesman: “you can get on the internet with this phone”.
The internet? Why would I need that on my phone?
I’m sure I sounded like a grumpy old man, but I was only in my 30’s. All I could think of was “why do I need this stuff” and “when will I ever use it”?
Oh millennials, if only you understood my pain.
I didn’t need MySpace Mobile and I didn’t need the ability to purchase ringtones.
All I wanted was a phone, in case I needed to use it for emergencies…
See, back then we weren’t tied to the internet, yet somehow the world still kept turning. There was even a time when there was no internet… And a time when we had phones attached to our walls in the house. And when we weren’t home, there were these things called PAY PHONES where you had to put money it in to make call.
But sometimes you didn’t always have change in your pocket, or you might not be near a pay phone, so a belt mounted cellular communication device (aka: phone) came in handy.
When I’ve told this story to some of the younger generation, I’m often asked how we communicated before text and instant messages. When I reply with a comment about this thing we used to do called TALKING TO EACH OTHER, it elicits strange looks and awkward comments.
But despite my dismay with all this undesired technology on my new flip phone, there WAS a feature that had me excited…
IT HAD A FULLY PLAYABLE VERSION OF TETRIS ON IT!
Keep in mind, the flip I had before this one only had the snake game on it. If you ever had the snake game, you totally understand what a big step up this was.
I didn’t care about all the other high-tech gadgetry, but oh boy did THAT make my day.
It is a bit weird to think in a not so distant past we couldn’t watch TV and movies on our phones. We couldn’t video chat, we couldn’t even send e-mails unless you were on a computer. For that matter, not much further back we couldn’t do anything because we didn’t have the internet and cell phones were a luxury.
While my old flip does power up still occasionally, it’s not consistent and it doesn’t stay on. The screen has become glitch filled and some of the buttons no longer work rendering it pretty much useless.
I’m forced to watch my old pal dying in front of me.
It’s a very sad time for me.
Like a wounded animal, I could put it down peacefully to end it’s suffering, or I could leave it alone to let nature take it’s course. Chances are, I’ll just leave it alone.
Like fashion, vinyl records and other novelties over the years, flip phones may one day make a comeback. When the technology exists to revive my little buddy, I’ll be ready.
In the meantime, I guess I’ll have to resort to using my smart phone.
First world problems…
I think I’ve held on to this relic because it reminds me of a simpler time.
Just imagine the memories our kids will have in the future of the technology they’re forced to live with now.
Marty is a freelance writer and entertainer based in Kansas City. If you like this article, feel free to hit the “like” button, leave a comment and be sure to subscribe to follow this blog for more fun articles about the crazy world we live in.
Did this article make you feel nostalgic?
Also check out “Were You Alive In 2001”