Opinion: Smashing tale of a lost cellphone


On my way to pickleball last Saturday, I realized I didn’t have my cellphone with me. I panicked, but as I admitted in a previous column, my phone is never really lost, it is simply — to coin a new application for a perfectly good word — “unfounded.”

I knew when I arrived home it would be exactly where I left it, which is usually where you find things.

I remembered loading the car with my stuff: gym bag, sunglasses, hat, paddle, and … the phone. It must be in the car, I thought. I pulled over, got out, and looked between the seats, under the seats and in all the side compartments.

I got back in the car and headed for the gym.

At the first stoplight, I activated the “Find My Phone” app on my Apple Watch. It said the phone was at 96th and Lantern Road. So was I! When I turned west, the watch said the cell was at 96th and Gray Road. Me, too! A few minutes later, we were both at 106th and Westfield.  Obviously, the phone was in my car. But where?

The last time I checked the app, it said the phone was at 111th and Westfield. I played my pickleball games and bee-lined back to that address afterward. Sure enough, there was my phone — smack dab in the middle of the street, and except for the protective case, it was completely smashed to smithereens. I retrieved it and went home, clueless as to how this had all happened.

My wife’s analysis: “Loading the car with your hands full, you placed the phone (which has a magnet on the back of the case) on the car’s roof and sped away. Your watch tracked the phone as you drove. The phone remained secure until you hit a pothole at 111th and Westfield. In a nanosecond, it was dislodged and bounced into the street.”

After I thanked Sherlock, I left to buy a new phone.

I showed the destroyed phone to the salesman.

“Isn’t the protective case guaranteed?” I said.

“Yes, 100 percent guaranteed.”

“But the phone is smashed.”

“Sir, we guaranteed the case, not the phone.”

I explained how embarrassed I was.

“Oh, don’t be,” he said. “I’ve had several customers who drove over their phones.”

I said, “I did not run over my own phone. Someone else did it for me.”

The tech guys shared other cellphone misadventures.

“Years ago, I had a customer,” said one employee, “who forgot he had set his phone in the freezer while he needed both hands to retrieve a stuck ice cream container from the back.”

That made everyone laugh. Except me. It was a very painful memory.  I searched for hours to find that cellphone. And my screen was frozen the rest of the day.

(check my Facebook page for photo of my phone).