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SAVAGE: My phone is in the toilet, and other calamities

• Jul 11, 2017 at 3:00 PM

We've all laughed at someone who has dropped their phone in the toilet and wondered, “How stupid can you be?”

I have been that someone. Three times.

My all-time favorite, The Perfect Phone, took a swim in the little pool because I was so in love with it, so enamored of its beauty and dazzling array of features, that I couldn't put it down at the needed moment. My mind can only handle so much urgent business at once.

They say that good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions. So I should have been a sage when, the next day, I brought home my identical replacement phone. As it turns out, not so much. Within the hour, son of Perfect Phone was deep-sixed in the same commode.

Fast-forward five years of cheap but serviceable phones, responsibly kept away from the bathroom.

When my husband was still The Boyfriend, I grabbed my cell on the way out of the house and flipped it into my back pocket. Let me explain that my jeans are a little snug and do not easily yield the contents of their pockets. Basically, they’re a fortress.

Stopping for nature’s call, I heard a noise upon flushing that under no circumstances belongs in that room. A banging sound, the noise of something a little too durable going down the drain. Yes, I'm a writer working from home, so occasionally I have a nibble of something I shouldn’t. Like a pint of Cherry Garcia or an entire box of reduced-fat pastries. But never, ever anything that would clang on its way to the biosphere.

My pockets were empty and my phone was in the great beyond.

Concerned about the emotional well-being of my pipes, I gave the toilet a test flush. As the prodigal phone floated up to greet me, my two teenage daughters ran into the room, squealing with delight, "Mom's got a floater! Mom's got a floater!"

So proud of myself, I excitedly ran to the house phone to tell The Boyfriend the news. "Honey, I've got a floater! I'm in the bathroom right now. I reached in and fished it out."

Dead silence. Apparently, I'm the only person in the United States who doesn't know that a floater is a — well, you know.

"It's soaking wet, but I'm going to disinfect it thoroughly and dry it out in a bag of rice."

Still, silence.

"Isn't that great news? It may just be crap, but at least I don't have to worry about it clogging the plumbing."

"I'll cancel dinner tonight and we can go when you're feeling better."

“Really, it's fine! I'll bring it to the restaurant so you can take a look and tell me what you think."

"I'm calling the doctor."

Science has yet to explain what makes men like him love girls like me.

The phone was dead as a smelt. As it turns out, Wal-Mart has a plethora of phones under $50 that work with my service provider — who I won't name, but their initials are AT&T — unless you're already an AT&T customer, in which case they punish you and the phones are $449.

The phone had about a week left on the warranty, so I did what any conscientious consumer would do. I headed for the AT&T store and tried to lie my way out of the situation.

"What seems to be the problem?"

"My phone just stopped working. Yep, no warning, just died."

Jessica, a joyless girl who looked like she’d been eating too much cheese, proceeded to take off the back like she was shucking an oyster which, it occurred to me, might have been her only other career option.

"This phone has been exposed to moisture,” she said triumphantly, as if she'd been waiting for a live one and I was her big catch.

As it turns out, there’s a moisture indicator inside the phone, and it turns pink if the phone ever gets wet. Who knew? Mine wasn't barely pink, or gee-I-wonder-if-the stick-turned-color-and-I'm-pregnant pink. It was bright Pepto-Bismol-meets-the-Energizer-bunny pink.

Furthermore, they take this gizmo seriously, and it has the final say every time, some omnipotent moisture-indicator goddess who must never be questioned.

Frankly, I was surprised water didn't just come pouring out of it, but I kept my game face. "No, that's not possible. The phone hasn't been near any water. Nope. Not at all. I don't even drink water — really, I had bourbon for breakfast.”

So humorless cheese girl calls over the technician Phuong, who gave me a bored look that said he'd seen it all: he knew, and I knew he knew.

We stood silently sizing each other up, like a scene from “High Noon.” He had the phone and the moisture indicator. I had my sweet “church lady” face and the dignity of senior citizenhood.

Basically, I had deluded myself into thinking I held some decent cards.

He drew first: "Whatever you’re thinking, lady, forget it. This phone is toast and the moisture indicator doesn’t lie. You need us.”

Beaten badly and publicly, I slinked out to my car. But it wasn’t all bad: My new Wal-Mart phone, like me, is pink and sparkly. And it has a waterproof case with a three-year toilet-drop warranty.

— By Shari Savage, Tribune community columnist

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