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Posted by on Feb 4, 2018 in Gary Chalk, Humor, humour, Retirement humor, Retirement Humour, Retirement Living, Uncategorized |



Living Retired #224

Satire by Gary Chalk

February 5, 2018



The following contains disturbing graphic scenes: a middle-aged married couple trying to setup their new cell phones. Enough said.

For the life of me I don’t know what got into Jan. But right out of the clear blue she piped up, “Gary, lets set up the new his and hers iPhones we bought.”  

So, I did what was natural. I gathered myself; took a deep breath. Then screamed, “ARE YOU FRIGGIN” NUTS?”

Don’t get me wrong. Like other married couples Jan and I have worked alongside each other…

There was the time we set up our big screen television with wireless surround sound speakers. That is when we also decided to get rid of the old television remotes we had gathered—so I had a dumpster delivered to our driveway.

Anyway, after my outburst at Jan’s suggestion that we set up our cell phones, she immediately did what wives are supposed to do when they face a challenge: “Gary, I’ll go open a bottle of wine. You get the box the phones are in.”

Then it began…

As I opened the box I started to get the shakes. I was sweating profusely—just like Chief Justice John Roberts when he swore in Donald Trump as President!

Inside the box was a pamphlet with bold letters ‘ACTIVATING YOUR DEVICE’ and a photograph of a happy couple holding their new cell phone. I knew right away it wasn’t going to be pretty.

The smiling couple on the box looked like those couples you see in the pharmaceutical commercials on television—suffering from bloating, excessive gas and adult onset flatulence hiking through the Muir Woods National Forest. And they come across another happy couple. And these people are also suffering—from advanced toenail fungus. You can’t tell—its television—but I’m sure they’re all wearing adult diapers. Everyone looks happy, happy. Makes me want to puke.

There was a very brief moment of silence—about the same amount of time between Trump tweets—that Jan and I held our cell phones, an assortment of thick manuals, a couple of earbuds, and rechargers. We looked at each other. Then we looked at the photograph of the happy couple on the box. Jan’s face was overcome with admiration. I gagged.

The first step to activate a cell phone is to install the SIM card—which is about the size of a gnat. Using the official teensy-weensy thingamajig that came with the cell phones—that resembles a paper clip suffering a permanent physical disability—I tried to insert the SIM card. Its got to be easy-peazy—right?


Guess what? SIM stands for ‘Self-Inflicted Mutiny’—which is the outcome following a prolonged session legally known as a ‘brouhaha’ which pits spouses against each other; both taking turns screaming, “Give me that damn thing. Let me try!”

Of course, it didn’t work. So, Jan rolled her eyes—and escaped to the kitchen for more wine. I comforted her by saying, “Dear, when I get these smart phones working I’ll download the AA app for you.”

Then Jan had a brainwave: “That’s it. I’m calling Dr. Ruth to come over!”

No not THAT Dr. Ruth! This Dr. Ruth is our friend who is as smart as a seven-year old—which means she is technically brilliant with cellphones, computers, iPads, and is an expert at blowing a soft drink out of her nose at a birthday party. Ruth knows her way around a smart phone like your grandchildren know how to get you to feed them more Goldfish crackers.

Ruth said she would come over. She also suggested bringing her husband Rick. You know ‘Rick The Handyman Who Still Has All of His Fingers’—and drinks beer with me when we complete projects around the house. Rick agreed, saying, “Gary, you have beer, right?”

Ruth arrived in a flash because she knows the pressures on middle-aged couples activating their devices—so as soon as she walked in the door she poured a glass of wine and sat down with Jan looking at pictures of a Swedish woman’s budget-friendly bathroom makeover on Houzz.   

Rick and I sat down to read the ‘TERMS of SERVICE & OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION’—all 28 pages!

As best Rick and I could tell—after a few craft beers—is that the ‘TERMS of SERVICE & OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION’ is a document that tells you everything you need to know about the company—heretofore known as the ‘provider.’ The ‘provider’ charges customers—heretofore known heretofore as the ‘users’ a monthly fee. To do this the ‘users’ hand over their credit card number, agreeing to allow the ‘provider’ to automatically abscond with what’s in your bank account every month for the length of the contract—known heretofore as ‘YOU CAN’T GET OUT OF IT!’  

Remind me why these devices are called smart phones?



Gary Chalk, a retired Canadian baby boomer has written for the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop blog and is a member of Humor Writers of America. Each week over 3,000 people across North America read Living Retired. To book Gary’s keynote address ‘I Don’t Have Wrinkles, I Have Laugh Lines’ visit




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