Life Out Loud: Please leave a message at the sound of the splash


At some point even the most wonderful convenience can become more of a hindrance than a help.

Mr. Wonderful has had a loathe/hate relationship with his cell phone for some time now. The phone was scratched, hard to dial, harder to hear, and just generally irritated him to no end. Picking up on his emotions (I think they can sense fear) the phone would retaliate by randomly refusing to ring at all.

Granted, that kept down the unwanted interruptions. It also kept down his ability to answer necessary calls (namely mine). I was sure he was screening me out until I realized his phone really was refusing to ring when I called.


It was as if that wacked-out computer from the cult classic movie 2001: A Space Odyssey had been reborn in palm-sized form. My marital communications were now being ruled by “Hal.” I was not amused.


Fortunately, fate intervened in the form of a happy accident involving a boat, a dock and a splash.

The events, as reconstructed for me, as I was not present to nag, go like this: He was leaning over the side of the boat, reaching for the dock when he heard the ominous “splash.”

The phone was 6 feet under. There is a reason no airline on earth has ever suggested that in the case of emergency your cell phone can be used as a flotation device. Those suckers sink like stones.

Never one to give up, he felt around in the mud and muck and actually retrieved the thoroughly waterlogged device. I can’t be sure but he seemed almost amused when he told me. There he stood, dripping wet, holding the remains of his phone in his palm.

I admit it WAS kind of cute the way the water swirled in waves behind the phone’s display screen. Pretty and pretty useless. Totally dead, in fact.

This is where well-meaning friends rushed to the rescue. If I heard it once, I heard it a dozen times, “put it in a bag of rice.”

The premise is that if an electronic device has gotten damp, the rice will act as a drying agent, soaking up all the moisture. It’s brilliant advice and often works. Should you ever have the misfortunate to drop your phone into a glass of iced tea or the kitchen sink, give it a try.

If, however, you fully submerge an electronic device underwater long enough that it becomes one with the fish, you might be asking a bit much of Uncle Ben.


Willing to give it the old college try, we dutifully laid his phone in a bag of rice. It was like a particularly unappetizing little electronic casserole.

No dice with the rice. The phone continued to “slosh.”

Released from any obligation to pretend to continue resuscitation efforts, Mr. Wonderful trotted right down to the phone store and purchased the new phone he had long had his eye on. It’s rugged and water resistant (not waterPROOF I might add) and apparently can be thrown against a wall without incident.

Now THERE’S a handy feature.

I know just the other day I was wishing I could do that with mine. Oh, it works just fine. I just think that when I get unsolicited “exciting offers on my credit card accounts!”

He’s happy as a clam (water pun) with his new phone. Being the warm and understanding spouse that I am, I tease him mercilessly.

A much hated nemesis meets an untimely end? Was it really an accident or was that phone pushed?

All suspicions aside, I can’t fault the guy for his relief in finally getting out from under a broken down “convenience” that it was anything but. Not to mention that I am the person who once knocked a camera off the countertop and into a sink of hot soapy water. I cannot judge.

Let she who is without sin cast the first phone.

Nonetheless, I admit it’s hard for me not to connect the dots. Mr. Wonderful dropped a long hated cell phone in the lake and finally got the new one he’d been wanting. If that’s how it works, I just need to find someone willing to help me shove a dryer into a pond.

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt thinks all phones should come with tiny airbags, lifejackets and snacks. She welcomes comments c/o; P.O. Box 38, Salem, Ohio 44460; or


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Kymberly Foster Seabolt lives in rural Appalachia with the always popular Mr. Wonderful, two small dogs, one large cat, two wandering goats, and a growing extended family.



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