penetrated the fascinating world of “Blue Tooth”
technology recently with the purchase of a little
instrument that sticks in your ear and allows
“hands-free” use of a cell phone.
I waited until the marvelous little gimmick became
available for 10 bucks –after the obligatory
“mail-in” rebate, of course – a practice that I
always find hard to follow through on. Manufacturers
count on folks like me to provide a profitable
“breakage” as the MBA types term it.
I was first introduced to the Blue Tooth idea
several years ago by a son who announced that he had
just acquired a “Blue Tooth.” My heart sank
because I assumed a blue tooth was some sort of dental
malady. My thoughts quickly reverted to the fourth
grade when my little classmate, Sammy, showed up one
morning with an actual blue tooth.
His big brother had shot him in the mouth with a BB
air rifle during a make-believe war-game. His
“battlefield” injury had left little Sammy with a
dead tooth that had turned a ghostly pale, bluish
white. Sammy acquired an appropriate nickname and was
ever afterwards known simply as, “Blue Tooth.”
My son quickly allayed my fears that he had somehow
attained a real blue tooth by explaining that the term
in modern parlance referred to the technology that
allows users of cell phones a hands-free telephone
experience. I was told the technology had other
adaptations but I left well enough alone because I
have great difficulty understanding technology beyond
small doses. (I wonder if the plural of “blue
tooth” is “blue teeth” or “blue tooths.”)
For the uninitiated, let me offer a brief
explanation of how blue tooth technology works. The
short answer is, “I don’t have the foggiest
idea.” But, the extended answer is that all I know
about it is that you can talk on a cell phone via an
instrument that sticks in your ear without a wire of
some sort connecting the two instruments. The
expression, “Stick it in your ear” now has a
completely new dimension. That’s exactly what you
do. You stick this thing in your ear and you can talk
and hear via your cell phone even though the phone
remains in your pocket -- unopened.
When I first learned of this marvelous technology a
year of more ago, previous mysteries began to clarify.
For instance, I now know that those folks tooling down
the highway are not really talking to themselves.
Once, my wife came in from the Piggly Wiggly and
announced that she had seen and heard a woman talking
to the green beans. It now became clear that she was
speaking through her “blue tooth” to someone on
the other end of a cell phone conversation.
And, it also cleared up another mystery I
experienced once at a rest stop along Interstate 95. I
had gone into the men’s side of the “comfort”
station and was utilizing the utility hanging on the
wall for its intended purpose when the guy next to me
started what I thought was a conversation directed at
I felt a bit uncomfortable speaking with him under
the circumstance, but I answered his seemingly
senseless questions. Somehow, his subsequent questions
never seemed to match the answers I had given.
I was a little uncomfortable but the guy didn’t
look like a US senator, so I continued to uphold my
end of the conversation. It was only as the turned to
wash his hands that the mystery cleared up. I noticed
this little instrument in his ear. I was somewhat
embarrassed – especially when he gave me that
disgusted look as he walked away. Do you suppose that
he thought I was a US Senator?
I figured at the time that he had a really big
hearing aid. I had not yet been enlightened regarding
the Blue-Tooth” miracle.
Subsequently, I have learned that there are many
other modern technologies that I have no comprehension
of. My lack of technological understanding can be
blamed on my pre-space-age education. I am handicapped
in today’s advanced world because my science classes
revolved around hooking a dry-cell battery to a little
homemade motor. We marveled at the “flow” of
electricity as we turned the “juice” on and off
with a little switch. This brand of technological
knowledge doesn’t even get you into Kindergarten in
today’s post moon-walk environment.
My grandson knew more technology after the first
grade than I knew after six years or more of college.
In fact, I have to count heavily on my three sons and
grandson to keep my household electronics in working
order. Since they all live distantly, I worry that
they might not enjoy visits with my wife and me
because I always have some technology problem for them
to solve when they come. Oh well, perhaps they owe me.
After all, how can you possibly equate hooking up a
television cable box with changing a diaper? I figure
they still owe me --- big time? I’m not certain that
they (or anybody else, for that matter) agree with my
comparative point of view. But I surely changed a lot
of diapers. Even that task isn’t what it used to be
with disposable diapers and such.
After unwrapping my “mail-in rebate” purchase
containing my very own personal Blue Tooth instrument,
I learned that it had to be “recognized” by my
particular brand of cell phone. Once again, I did not
posses the foggiest notion as to how this was to be
Thank the Lord, again, for tech savvy sons and
grandson. I can now walk around with my cell phone in
my pocket and my Blue Tooth in my ear.
If you come upon me and I am seemingly speaking to
open space, just remember, I ain’t talking to you.
Copyright John Brock
* * * * *
John Brock is a retired professor and newspaper
editor/publisher who lives in Georgetown County,
SC. He can be reached by mail at this newspaper or
via Email: [email protected]
His website is: www.SouthernObserver.com