A $973 toothpick


Like so many folks, my entire life can be found inside my phone. Years of irreplaceable pictures (26,834 to date), videos, and, of course, passwords to everything are electronically locked away inside.

Therein lies the problem. If my phone somehow magically disappears or can’t be charged then life as I know it comes to a screeching halt until it reappears.

And it is only by magic that my phone would ever be missing — I could not have simply misplaced it. But a lost phone is not today’s problem – not being able to recharge it is. Unfortunately, the results are the same: life as I know it has now come to a screeching halt. So how does all of this create a $973 toothpick? Read on, Dear Reader. It’ll take awhile, but we’ll get there.

Almost depleted from the daily work of constantly checking emails, answering text messages, taking countless pictures of Little One and Sweet Caroline, our two granddaughters, and answering the occasional phone call or two, my cell phone is always plugged at bedtime into the electrical outlet to recharge overnight. Every morning, it’s fully charged and ready for another event filled day.

Except this day — this particular day the phone was unplugged and the display read only 5 percent battery life available. Seeing this, I immediately went into panic mode. Five percent! That wouldn’t even get us through breakfast. A truer emergency had never existed. How does this get us to the world’s most expensive toothpick? Hang on; we’re getting there.

I watched in horror as the display slowly counted down. Trying three different power cords didn’t work. Repeatedly jamming the cord into the phone didn’t work. Not one to cuss, I can tell you that cussing at a dying cell phone didn’t work.

When it got down to 1 percent charge, I started to pray. Praying didn’t work either. With a swirling red flickering display, the cell phone died. And along with it years of irreplaceable pictures (26,834 to date), videos, and, of course, passwords to everything locked away inside, never to be retrieved again. Or so I thought. Now enters The Wife, the hero of this story.

Seeing my panic, she suggested playing music on my new sound system. With a speaker strategically placed in every room and throughout our outdoor Oasis, soothing sounds of The Beatles would soon be filling the air. Or not.

The only way to control the sound system was also locked away in my phone. A day without listening to The Beatles is a really bad day, so I started to write this story. Writing always makes me feel better. Except I didn’t have an ending … that is, until The Wife researched a possible fix for my dead phone.

While I was writing this story, she was researching on her computer how to resolve my inability to charge the now paperweight of a phone. After only five minutes, she announced, “I know how to fix it.”

This announcement made me take a brief pause. When she left the room without any other statement, I stopped writing. Was she retrieving car keys? A new phone is an expense we can’t afford, but not being able to take daily pictures and videos of the granddaughters is something we can’t afford either. My curiosity was quickly answered when she returned and asked for my phone. She was not carrying car keys. In her hand, you guessed it, was a single toothpick.

Her computer search suggested using an ordinary toothpick to dig out any debris that may have gotten lodged into the power port on the bottom of the cell phone. I dug and dug and then dug some more. Finally, I carefully plugged in the phone and started to pray.

After what seemed like forever, my prayer was answered. The display flickered and then illuminated showing 1 percent, then 2 percent, and then 3 percent … the phone was charging!

That was enough to turn on music. With the ending of this story in sight, I was now back writing and listening to The Beatles’ “Good Day Sunshine.”

The Wife’s fix eventually fully charged my phone, saving me from purchasing a new one at a cost of $973 and making the toothpick one extremely valuable tool.

See? Told ya we’d eventually get here.

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001. To read more of Rick’s stories, visit his blog: storiesbyrick.wordpress.com.]