Hang up camera … err, texter, and just talk

The evolution of the telephone is very well documented.

Everyone knows that in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell made history when he used his new invention to summons his assistant, Thomas Watson, to his side from another location in the house where they’d been working on the world’s first telephone with the words, “Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you.”

There is some slight controversy over whether he actually said “I want to see you,” as Bell told the story, or if he uttered, “I want you,” as Watson recalled it. Man, good help must have ALWAYS been hard to find. I digress.

Although the morphing of the phone included its new rotary design with an attached receiver cradle in the 1930s to the mid-1960s’ trim line model, which was the first to include button digits (still my favorite to this day).

By the 1980s, phones lost their long, curly cords and began to rest on bases where they could rest and recharge. Too bad humans can’t do that. Ooh, more digression.

Not long after that, the first flip phone was born and then, 10 years ago — bom-bom-BOM — the first iPhone. And boy, the wheels really came off after that, no? Because in the decade since Steve Jobs introduced that little wonder to the world, the phone, as Alexander Graham Bell original created it and we came to know it, no longer existed.

But something so much better — and a little worse — replaced it.

Sure, phones have become alarm clocks and cameras and video recorders / playback machines. They have become phonographs (that’s what I said) and radios and the JCPenney’s Christmas catalog. Only, every day. And not just for Penney’s. They are sort of replacing trips to the department store, the grocery store, the shoe store, the drug store.

They are bumping out Rand McNally as the go-to guy for directions.

They are edging your television right off its stand, people. You can stream almost any program or research up-to-the-second information on news, sports, weather, recipes, exercise, pest removal or pesto growing. Or pretty much anything else under the sun. Or moon. Or stars.

In fact, some shows aren’t even available on your old TV set. You must watch them from your phone or other tablet or computer-based device.

Many people can literally work from their phones. And some of us do a little too often, yo.

Sigh.

Other than needing a hospital or urgent care center in the instance of medical or emergency, pretty soon, the only office, store, station or entity we’re all going to need to physically visit is the cellphone store for an upgrade or repair.

Some folks view the interruption of their cell service as an emergency already. An emergency? Man, how much power and control have we handed over to our cellphones, people?

Anyway, I think one of the most disheartening things I have recently realized the “phone” monopoly has sucked into its mega-vortex of power is therapy.

That’s right. I saw a commercial last night encouraging people to spend, I don’t know, like $100 a month, texting some faceless therapist who could really just be some really clever teenager looking for video gaming money by running this little scam in his basement. I mean, his mom’s basement.

It’s one step above the psychic lines. Which begs the question, if they’re really clairvoyant and all, wouldn’t they be calling you in the first place?

Look, I’m all for technology and how quickly and easily we can access information, locate and reach out to our loved ones and just generally find stuff with today’s version of the telephone.

But when we are encouraging people to skip over the most important part of a therapy session — i.e., HUMAN INTERACTION WITH A QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL — I’m sayin’ toss the phone, peeps. But only after you use it to find a real flesh-and-bones therapist and call him or her to make an appointment to see this person face to face.

Remember, your phone is your phone, not your friend. You need an actual earthling to fill that role. Every now again, gently set the phone down on the table and back away slowly. Go out into the world and face time — for reals.

Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist who loves the Find Your Phone app but sometimes wishes she could drop her little phone off a very high mountaintop. But you can still use yours to visit her daily blog www.patriciakimerer.com.

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