I was walking the 2 blocks home from Wray’s Supermarket when I first saw IT…..a friend of mine had IT on his arm. He was talking into IT as he approached and IT seemed to make a crackling sound between his verbal commands. This mimicked sound was an early introduction into the world of deception of which time, experience and lost innocence make us ever so aware. IT really didn’t crackle as my regular radio often did at night when I couldn’t quite get the dial exactly on the station. Without this dialing precision I couldn’t listen to the St. Louis Cardinals on clear channel KMOX, some 7oo miles away as I lay in my bed with my ear touching the radio speaker. My deceptive but imaginative friend made the crackling sound himself. Oh yes…”IT“…was the Dick Tracy Wrist Radio! My friend told me he could talk to his friends and if I got one, we could talk to each other from blocks….even miles away. I believed him…but it didn’t matter, I couldn’t afford IT anyway. Anyhow, I was saving up to get a baseball bat pencil for $1.25, postage included, and the radio-watch was $2.95….too much! But I was fascinated with the thought of talking to someone over a phone buckled to my arm…with no wires…unbelievable! I was fascinated by it then and I still am today.
Chester Gould gave comic strip birth to super detective Dick Tracy in October of 1931. The wrist radio I saw in 1950 was soon followed by a wrist television, and later a wrist computer with voice recognition capabilities…..pretty cool stuff for over a half a century ago, I’m sure you’ll agree. Well, Ole Chester was either clairvoyant or had a great imagination, take your pick. I do know that he was right and he also underestimated the technological genius of the super geeks of today, headed up by Apple’s Steve Jobs…or more correctly, Steve Jobs’ Apple.
Well, I have decided to indulge my childhood fantasy, 21st Century style. I, just today, closed my eyes and took the “gee whiz” plunge by getting the new and second generation iPhone. Me, the quintessential technological hack with the cynical but well earned nickname, “Crash”? Go figure! In case you haven’t scoped it out let me, “Mr. Techno Dunce”, introduce you to its features. First it is a phone of exceptional clarity….no surprise here. It will also show me who is calling in case my visual acuity is better than my memory of names. It also has an integrated GPS (Global Positioning System) built in to tell me where I am. At my age this is a great feature. It will also tell me the location of the nearest Starbucks…information as desirable as a root canal.….or Steak and Shake or Chick-fil-A, information no culinary connoisseur should ever be without. I can e-mail and text message, assuming these sausage fingers can touch only one letter at a time. The weather feature will enable me to tell if it is raining outside without ever leaving my recliner…ya gotta love that! It will allow me to listen to my favorite music anytime and anywhere. I must reveal here that my musical tastes include bluegrass…the twangier the better, folk, 50’s-60’s style, not that weird modern stuff, traditional hymns and spiritual songs……not too broad of a lyrical appetite I agree……but it suits me. I just learned that I can also get the entire Bible in multiple translations. Oh yes, I can get baseball scores…with video highlights…and real-time stock quotes. I’m all over that, but my wife is none too happy! I’m sure that’s no surprise.
Chester Gould died in 1985, so he missed the cell phone and more recently the iPhone revolution. Something tells me that he had an inkling of some of the things that were coming. At any rate, he gave us old codgers a look into what was out there over the technological horizon.
I wonder if this new contraption can help me make my VCR quit flashing 12!