Opinion Columns & Blogs

HARMON: When a good friend croaks

I lost really good friend the other day. His name was iPod and he either drowned or had a stroke because although he still lights up when I come into the room, he no longer talks. Singing is out of the question. He hasn’t sung a song in two days and I believe it’s because he was in my pocket when I took a dip in the gulf.

This was my first and only iPod and he’s got some really great music on him so I’m feeling a loss similar to that of death. They say there are three things that can cause depression: a loss, a disappointment and failure to manage one’s stress and I’m living the theory. I’ve lost a good friend. I’m disappointed in my lack of intelligence and stressed out about the whole thing.

I’ve had similar problems with cellphones as my current phone is No. 2. The first one couldn’t handle a really quick dip in vegetable soup and croaked on the lunchroom table. He was an LG slide model, and he slid right out of my hand and into the soup. He deserved a better fate. If I had been more careful about not getting soup all over the handle of the spoon where it found its way into my hand, he would still be here. Hard to believe the last thing he probably saw was brown sludge or maybe a carrot heading for his battery.

I went to the store to get a new and improved “smartphone” and the wife made me take it back. Seems I wasn’t smart enough to use it and the vegetable soup fiasco was something she just couldn’t help but mention. With iPod I got smart and went to YouTube to find a remedy. Somebody had posted a really useless demo of drying an iPod in Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice (why the rice had to be converted I have no idea) so I gave it a try. The good news was I was relieved to find another person who had been dumb enough to drown one of those things. The bad news was the rice turned out to be just rice and didn’t work.

I had left him in there all day, returning to find a bowl of Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice and an iPod that looked totally out of place. I feel like getting another one but it seems like such a betrayal. Is there a “home” for old, worn out, damaged iPods, or do we simply put them in the wastebasket? After all, he still lights up and the thought of him peering up and out of the wastebasket with that accusatory light flickering that says, “You did this. I had many good years left until you stuck me in that bathing suit” is not comforting. Maybe he just needs a day in the sun.

We may be getting too close to these things and that includes the ear “roach.” When you see someone with one of those things they appear to be talking to themselves and have abandoned the concepts of good manners and phone etiquette, displaying their personal business for anyone who either cannot help but hear or can’t get far enough away to avoid listening. Who walks around talking to themselves anyway? You then become sucked into someone’s personal garbageola (a word I just created) when you would rather not be involved.

We usually have enough of that in our own lives and I would rather not hear about Aunt Millie’s migraine or Uncle Henry’s hemorrhoids when I’m eating. At least it’s impossible to take a “selfie” with a “roach.”

I will miss the iPod but will make an effort to replace him with the sound of waves rolling in or children’s laughter. Then there’s the possibility of hearing someone say, “Good morning” or “hello” in passing. I haven’t heard that in a while, what with B.B. King playing “Lucille” in my ear all day. Yes, we’ve gotten too close to our “toys,” preferring them over people as they take us into a world we create -- a world of music, movies and “friends” we never see unless invited. I think I’ll go out and take a walk or maybe sit in the sun and find out what I’ve been missing.

Sonny Harmon is a professor emeritus at Georgia Military College. Visit his blog at http://sharmon09.blogspot.com.