Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

Can You Hear Me Now?

Jackie K. Cooper

A few days ago my cell phone died on me. I mean it went to sleep and never woke up - no pulse, no dial tone, no nothing. This morning I took it to the place where I bought it and the lady confirmed my diagnosis. As she said, "This phone is D-E-D, dead!"

She said she thought some liquid had gotten into it. She showed me how the battery looked a little wet and also said the points of contact were corroded. She seemed confused as to how that happened. I told her my son had used my phone and that is probably when whatever happened, happened. This was a lie. Neither of my sons had been anywhere near my phone. I just didn't want to tell her what had really happened.

On Saturday night I was supposed to have an interview with Deborah Roberts, one of the reporters on "20/20." Deborah is from Perry, Georgia where I live, and I had been trying to get the interview set up for ages. We had finally settled on Saturday afternoon.

I had told her I had a meeting in Atlanta that day but should be back in Perry by four in the afternoon. The problem was that on the way home the Department of Transportation had four out of five lanes on I-75 South blocked for roadwork. It took me forever to get home. So I was late calling Deborah and I was late getting the place set up for where we would meet.

After I finally reached her we agreed to meet at a local restaurant for dinner and the interview. I was already starving but I knew it would be awhile before we ate. So I poured myself a glass of tomato juice and grabbed some peanut butter and cheese crackers to eat on the way to the restaurant. This is my very favorite snack.

In the car I sat the glass of tomato juice in the holder and grabbed my cell phone to make a quick call to a friend of mine about some information I needed. Somehow the phone slipped out of my hand and landed in the glass of tomato juice. I mean, how could that happen! It was like it was drawn like a magnet to the spot where the juice was.

I quickly fished it out and tried to wipe it clean. Tomato Juice was everywhere. It was a mess. And when I tried to turn the phone back on - nothing happened! I could just see that tomato acid eating up the inside of my phone.

My cell phone is one of my prized possessions. I love the convenience of it and the accessibility it gives me. My wife and I have one of those plans where we can call all over the country and talk and talk and talk. She talks to her sister every day and I talk with my brother at least every other day. We won't even go into how often we talk with the kids and grandkids. So as you can see I am lost when my cell phone doesn't work.

So this morning I got a new phone, and luckily they now let you keep the old number you had. I won't miss any calls, but I will have to reset my directory.

So now I feel better. I have confessed my sins. I shouldn't have blamed my sons, but I at least didn't say which one had done it. I protected them that little bit. And I have learned a lesson. Cell phones and tomato juice - two of my favorite things - don't mix!


Jackie K. Cooper was born in South Carolina and now lives in Georgia. He is familiar to people living in the middle Georgia area as the "entertainment man" since his entertainment reviews run in newspapers and are shown on television there. His short stories have been used as commentary on Georgia Public Radio. He also keeps active appearing as an after dinner speaker for various events.

Cooper has lived an exceptionally interesting life and portions of it are contained in his first book Journey of a Gentle Southern Man. The journey continued in Chances and Choices.

Jackie's first two books, Journey of a Gentle Southern Man and Chances and Choices, were reprinted and published by Mercer University Press in July 2004. His third book Halfway Home was published by Mercer University Press in October 2004.

Cooper is currently at work on his fourth book, The Book Binder, which will be published in the fall of 2006.

Visit his website, or email Jackie.

© Jackie K. Cooper

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2012