Saturday, July 17, 2010

Baptizing A Cell Phone

Over the course of three decades I’ve done scores of baptisms, which, for a Baptist minister, means dunking a person under the water. All the way under. But yesterday was a first. I baptized my phone. All the way under.

I know you’re dying to hear the rest of this story.

Yesterday afternoon, following the funeral service for my son-in-law’s grandparents, who had been married over 70 years and who died within 36 hours of one another (this is a story in itself), I took off, at my daughter, Kara’s, request, to pick up her 2-year-old, Lucy, who had been staying at her aunt Laura’s house. Leaving the church in Kara’s suv, I tried my hand at multitasking. Nothing major, mind you. Simply adjusting the air conditioning while holding my Blackberry and driving. Big mistake. Next thing I know, my Blackberry is at the bottom of a large cup of water – totally submerged.

With my catlike reflexes, I grabbed the phone and immediately held it in front of the air conditioning vent. Within seconds the screen fogged over. I knew it was a life-or-death situation.

As soon as I could I pulled over and removed the battery, then, turning up the temp on the passenger side, I held the open back side of the phone in front of the vent for the remainder of the 15 minute ride to Laura’s.

After retrieving Lucy, we headed back to the church to join the rest of the family for a meal that the church had prepared. Not wanting to ignore my granddaughter in the car seat behind me, I decided to forget about my phone and engage her in conversation. We talked about cows, trucks (a word she mispronounces), clouds, and the fact that we’d be to where Mommie is in just a minute.

At this point, I had given up on trying to revive my phone. I was resigned to having to undergo the painful process of visiting the cell phone store and going through the agony of waiting on being served, then having to endure a sales pitch for a new phone, knowing full well that the salesperson would be determined to put me into the latest model of smart phone after they assured me that my old phone was beyond help.

A couple of hours later, after Mary Beth and I returned home, I decided to make one more valiant effort to revive my phone. First I took a hairdryer to it, only to learn later that doing this could have fried all the circuits and melted the wiring.

Mary Beth said, “Have you thought about putting it in rice? I read somewhere on the internet that this works.” Upon which she googled several sites that mentioned this means of resuscitating a dead phone, including one Wikipedia article that said that the rice method was a waste of time.

Waste of time or not, I decided to give it a go. Following the directions in one of the articles, I dug out a Tuppermaid or Rubberware dish with lid, set my phone, the battery, and the back in the bottom of the dish, and poured in the Uncle Ben’s. Saying a little prayer, I put the lid in place.

The instructions said to leave the phone in the rice for a couple of days, assuring me that the rice would absorb all the remaining moisture deep within the phones inner workings. However, within a few hours, unable to bear the suspense, I dug the phone out of the rice, blew it off, put the battery in place, attached the back, and hit the red button. The screen flashed white, and the hourglass began to turn its flips, indicating that the phone was booting up. I was pumped. The rice remedy had worked. Then, as soon as it lit up, it turned dark again. I found myself rehearsing the conversation I was going to have with the zealous cell phone sales person.

Now, I’m not sure if what motivated me to try the rice again was a never-say-die attitude, or just the desire to avoid a visit to the cell store. But back into the bed of Uncle Ben’s the phone went, with the battery alongside. After I covered them with a cozy cover of rice, I snapped the lid back into place, burped it (You ladies will understand what I mean. Guys, ask your wife or SO.) and turned in for the night.

This morning I tiptoed into the kitchen, almost afraid of what I might find when I dug out the phone again. As I pried off the lid, all the while praying, “Lord, please make it work,” I noticed that the phone was still cozily buried in rice. I dug it out, blew it off, and put the battery in place. Even before I got the back replaced, the red light was on, indicating that there was, indeed, life. As I held my breath, I pushed the red button to power it on. The screen turned white. Then the little hourglass appeared and began to flip. I was encouraged. No, I was elated. As I watched with sweaty palms and an accelerated heart rate, the phone began to come alive. But the test would come when I tried texting and pulling up emails and tweets.

I felt like exclaiming, like the lady in the parable who found the lost coin, “Rejoice with me!”

Now, several hours later, it appears the phone is alive and well. Tonight it will sleep on the nightstand beside me. And I will sleep, peaceful in the knowledge that I’ve avoided the cell phone store.

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