I dropped my cell phone into the toilet. Not before, after. So just sit with that for a moment.
My rule is anything that gets dropped into the toilet gets the same, almost immediate psychological dismissal as an animal that runs in front of my car when I’m going 60: as long as they’re not large enough to total my car, my first thought is “Well, he’s toast…” followed quickly by “Okay, if I can brake and swerve without killing myself or anyone else, I’ll give it a try.”
Likewise went my thinking on the phone in the commode situation. I stood up, and heard a sickening “Ker-plunk!” Knowing there could be one thing, and one thing only, making that sound, my first thoughts were
“Well, that’s that. I hope it doesn’t back up the plumbing when I flush,” followed instantly by,
“Grab it you fool, it’s got a gazillion phone numbers that you need!” followed by
“Hell no I won’t. Got Ca-ca on it, yo…” while my not so scientific mind was, at the same time, running down the survival odds:
“It’s only been a few seconds, and it’s not totally underwater. You can dry it off…”
The mental tennis match continued, and my brain volleyed back with, “Dry it off, yes, but what about the… EEEYEW!!!” and almost simultaneously,
“There is no way I can get to the latex gloves in the kitchen, AND save this phone in time.”
Finally, I make the fatal decision to take the, a-hem, plunge, if you will. And so, like a fireman steeling himself for a run into a burning building, “I’m goin’ in there…” and, at the same time, I make a silent vow never to tell anyone about this.
Device retrieved, sanitized with a dozen Kleenex and some rubbing alcohol, battery removed, blow dryer on low applied. I re-assembled it about 20 minutes later, hit the power button and…nothing. It wouldn’t even turn on; none of the keys did anything.
“I’m very sorry, sir, but he didn’t make it…is there anyone you need to notify?” Not having time to grieve properly, I simply holstered the corpse and headed to work.
After arriving at work, I announced to the entire restaurant staff the news of my phone’s tragic demise (I was non-specific as to the details of its passing). I let them know not to call me, or text me tomorrow as I won’t be receiving anything. About three hours later, I’m running around the restaurant on a busy Friday night; and I feel a buzzing sensation from the recently deceased, still in its holster on my hip.
Now, I’ve had Phantom Cell Phone Buzz before. Like an amputee that is certain he feels shooting pain in a limb that is no longer attached, I have reached for my phone when I thought I felt a vibration and realized that it’s, in fact, in my car; or over there, on a table, and not in my pocket or in its little hip clip. So I ignored what I perceived to be my mind’s wishful thinking.
Then, about two minutes later, there it is again! Could it be true? Like Dr. Frankenstein, I’m ready to exclaim, “It’s ALIVE! A-LIVE!”
And it has, in fact, come back to life, but in an Evil Dead, Steven King-Pet Sematary kind of way. I pull it out of its case and look at the display. It is flashing madly, rotating through warning messages (“BATTERY! SEE OWNER’S MANUAL!”), my home page screen with the date and time, and a few random menus: “Adjust Earpiece Volume”, “Recent Calls”, and “Phone Settings” just to name a few. It is blinking, trying to make calls, ringing random phone numbers. Like in the final scenes of Terminator 2, when “Liquid Man” is thrashing around in the big vat of molten metal, frantically changing forms, trying to find a way to survive, my phone is having a similar freak-out. I push at the “End” button to just make it stop, and the screen changes to “Calling: Napa Police Department”. Yikes! I push another button on the keypad and the numbers 85858585888 appear in rapid succession, and now it’s “Calling: 858- 858-8588”. Oh Lord, no, I don’t even think that’s a real number, is it? So, like someone smothering a suffering patient with their pillow, I open the battery compartment and pull the plug.
A few hours later, refusing to believe my little friend is really gone, I give it one last final desperate try, and put the battery back in. I hit the On button, and it immediately starts dialing my wife’s phone; and it’s almost 2 am. I pull the battery out just as her phone starts to ring in the other room. Her phone goes quiet and I realize mine is now too evil to be allowed to survive.
The next day, she asks me “Why did you call me at 1:45 last night?”
Trying to find an explanation that didn’t include admitting I had put my hand into an unflushed toilet, I am at a loss.
“Uh, no reason…”