Tuesday, February 02, 2010


I do not own a cell phone.

There! I said it (twice, if you count the title). I don’t own a cell phone (hey, it’s getting easier to say).

Before you jump to conclusions as to why I do not own a cell phone, let’s get a few things clear:

1. I am not a techno-phobe. In fact, I love and embrace technology. I have computers at home and at work, software to make my tasks easier, and enough rudimentary knowledge that I can figure out most applications.

2. I am not anti-social. I am on Twitter (TeacherTim) and MySpace and Facebook and CMConnect and a couple of others. The information superhighway has made it easier to network and connect with old friends and new alike. I enjoy and have been enriched by my online encounters.

3. I will likely own a cell phone in the future. I’m not against cell phones. Some of my best friends own cell phones (okay, all of my best friends own cell phones).

So now that we’ve eliminated the “scared and distrustful of cell phones” arguments, what are the real reasons why I’ve never gotten a cell phone:

1. Cost. Sorry, but price is a factor. Oh, sure, I know I can get a brand new phone for free or practically nothing if I sign up for a great plan. But plans are pricey. By the time I read through the fine print, I’m racking up money that could be better spent on a dinner out with the missus or an out-patient procedure. I don’t know how people with low or no income manage to have cell phones. It’s a budget-strainer for us.

2. Necessity. Confession time: I used to have a cell phone. I inherited a “pay-as-you-go” phone from someone who upgraded to a fancier unit with a great (read: “more expensive”) plan. And it was simple: all I had to do was “top it off” regularly.
During the six months I had the phone, I believe I made two phone calls and received one. Meanwhile, the money in my “top off” account slowly dwindled until I got an urgent message on my cell, email, and home phone reminding me to “top it off” again. So I topped it off. And over days and weeks of not using it, my phone balance would continue to fade into oblivion until I put more money into it.
The conclusion was simple: why keep throwing money into a phone that I never used? So I quit using it. The company eventually quit reminding me to “top it off.”

3. Necessity 2. Do I need to be accessible 24/7? I am a children’s pastor, true. But rarely has a need arisen in which I had to be tracked down instantaneously. I’m still as busy as ever, but those who need to get a hold of me know how to get a hold of me. And if I’m not there, just leave a message or drop me an email or dm me on Twitter. After all, if I was driving, in a theatre, or in a church service, you’d have to wait for me to retrieve a message anyway.

4. Inconvenience: I remember the days of television antennas that, through diverse contortions and configurations, had to be adjusted for the best picture. I’ve seen people in grocery stores go through similar gymnastics with the ubiquitous “Can you hear me now?” catchphrase echoing up and down the aisle. I don’t want to get to the good part of a conversation only to lose the connection.

As I mentioned above, I will likely own a cell phone one day. As my wife and I have discussed, there are some great reasons to own a cell phone:

1. Accessibility: True, I rarely need to be reached right away, but there are times when I’ve forgotten to put something on the shopping list and my mental telepathy to my wife doesn’t reach. It would be nice to simply call her up. Ditto with schedule changes or last minute visits.

2. Emergencies: The best reason for a cell phone is for the unexpected crises that come in our lives. No debate here.

3. Convenience: I was on my way to do a wedding at a residence, but I got lost. It would have been nice to be able to call the family and ask for directions.

4. Instant communication: As a computer-based Twitterer, I often have to wait until a break in my schedule or time at home in order to update my friends on what I’m doing at the moment. I have long admired my friends who write things like, “Stuck behind a rock waiting to shoot my paintball rifle” or “The speaker just made an incredible point.” Being able to update everyone in real time would be fun.

5. Camera: Not sure I need everything that the modern cell phone has to offer, but there are times I just want to take a picture, upload it, and write a funny caption like “Eating at a restaurant with BibleMan and the waiter can’t tell us apart LOL”

What do I want in a cell phone?

1. Good coverage so I don’t have to be one of those people in the hardware store who is always saying, “I’m losing you….wait….can you hear me now?…yeah, okay…wait….no, hold it, I’m losing you….”

2. Unlimited texting abilities with one of those normal looking keyboards.

3. Free calls to and from friends and family, since those are the only calls I make anyway.

4. Camera.

5. Something that doesn’t cost a lot of money to maintain

Recommendations? Rebuttals? Free offers?

Stay tuned for updates.


  1. I got dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century with the gift of a Straight Talk cellphone from Wal-Mart for Christmas! It's actually great-the kids gave me the $30.00pm plan which gives me 1000 minutes of talktime and 1000 text messages- and I'm talking up a storm! I've phoned friends I haven't spoken to in years and I phone the family all the time.

  2. [waiving my hand in a Jedi waive] you want an iPhone... (but you want one when they come with Verizon! The only thing I HATE about my iPhone is the AT&T, the coverage is terrible. They LIE in all their commercials, the coverage is TERRIBLE. Even in highly populated places like malls and airports!! The Verizon commercials are right on - AT&T has lousy coverage, and you will have dropped calls constantly. BUT the iPhone is amazing for everything else. So hang in there as long as you can, save your money, and as soon as the iPhone is on Verizon, get it on that network and I will hate you forever. (with Godly hatred of course!)

  3. US Cellular...Nuff said!

  4. My free iphone- I just get the slightly older model-from verizon has always served me well.