The American phone company, T-Mobile, commissioned a survey and discovered that 59% of people would roll up their sleeves and retrieve their smartphone from the toilet.
Of course, the intriguing aspect of that statistic is this: Four out of ten people would walk away and leave it there, twinkling like a sovereign in the Trevi fountain. A quarter of the respondents in the survey said they would fight a thief to get their phone back and 17% admitted they would run blindly, like Wile E. Coyote, into a dark train tunnel for the same purpose. Clearly, some phones are smarter than their owners.
In the 1970's, when you wanted to bring your phone to the pub, it involved a thousand yards of cable, two hundred traffic cones, A JCB and a man with a red flag. If you were going on a pub crawl, you could quadruple that. The plus side of this early technology was that the average telephone was too big to fit down a toilet. In fact, if five or six friends were sitting around a pub table, once they got their phones out, there was hardly ever enough room for the drink. And what about the telephone directories? We had to haul them around as well. Suitcases full of them.
"Jim, did you bring the 045 book with you?"
No, I picked up the 051 by mistake".
"You're a gobshite. Who do we know in Waterford?"
"Keep calling me names and you can walk home."
"I'll get a taxi".
"HaHa! You will not. I'm the one with the Golden Pages. Who's the gobshite now?"
The old big black phone was also a handy defensive weapon; many the head was cracked with a three kilo handset. There was a wicked irony in the fact that the implement used to assault you, was sometimes used to call the ambulance.
And what about dating? You'd ask a woman for her number and then you'd have to walk around all night remembering it. You wouldn't be able to do anything else. People would try to engage you in conversation.
"Stop!" You'd say, "I have a girl in my head and I don't want her to escape."
Your mates would be having great fun and you'd just be standing there, your lips continuously moving in a numeric mumble. Of course, you'd invariably get the number all jumbled and when you'd phone the next day, you'd get the wrong woman and before you knew what was happening, the two of you were married with children.
They were simpler times, if you don't consider the thousand yards of cable that had to be rolled up every night; the traffic cones that had to be collected, the wages for the JCB driver and the man with the red flag...