What a Difference a ‘Y’ Makes

Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury

Google gets the last laugh, probably far more often than we know. Include one letter more than needed to “Google” and a subject turns research to clabber quicker than political candidates can call their opponents liars. (Seems like mere decades ago that such comments were tenderized, usually beginning with sentences like, “My worthy opponent deals loosely with the facts,” or maybe, “He is known to spend much of his time in the company of ‘terminological inexactitudes’.”)

Dr. Don Newbury

   I digress.  Principal players in this piece are retired, eager to take to the road–any highway will do–after choosing for several months to “play it safe” in self-quarantine for whatever might loom as menacing beyond home and hearth.

   Now retired–after serving three terms in the Texas Legislature and three presidential roles (Wayland, Hardin-Simmons and Howard Payne Universities)–Dr. Lanny Hall and wife Carol now like to “traipse about,” as my old mother used to say of educated people. Ordinary people like her she described as “gadabouts,” usually limiting their “traipses” to nearby destinations.

When “cabin fever” peaked recently, the Halls decided to drive to scenic Colorado, where foliage is so rich in color that some artists make impromptu stops, set up canvases, grab easels and flourish paint brushes.

Now married 52 years, the Halls finish each other’s sentences and know which sing-along tunes come next. Give one of ‘em a first name, and the spouse rattles off the last name.

Motoring home, they quickly agreed that sandwiches from the ever-popular Slaton Bakery would be a wonderful end-of-trip treat.  Lanny suggested that she “Google” to get the bakery’s phone number, then place an order for a ham and cheese sandwich, and her favorite, a Slaton Bakery hamburger. They’d arrive in Slaton in some 30 minutes.

Seconds later, she was greeted by a friendly voice at the bakery who indicated the order would be ready upon their arrival.

Best-laid plans panned out; they were parked in front of the bakery exactly 30 minutes later.

Bummer, they thought upon discovering the front door was locked. Back in the car, Lanny suggested that Carol hit re-dial. The same man answered, assuring her that the order was ready. But why was their front door locked?

Further, she indicated they were parked immediately in front of the bakery. “Ma’am, I just came through the front door, and there’s no car in front,” said the baker.

In the meantime, steps were re-traced, beginning with Lanny’s insistence that the West Texas town in Texas is spelled “S-l-a-t-o-n.” Because she had Googled “S-l-a-y-t-o-n Bakery,” she had gotten the phone number of the Slayton Bakery in Slayton, Minnesota, more than a thousand miles away.

Suffice it to say that at end of day, the baker up north had a couple of extra sandwiches to eat, one way or another. (Halls’ note-to-selves: The Slaton Bakery they know and love is closed Mondays.)

Some people embrace advancing technology. Others act as if they think it’ll go away if avoided long enough.

My friend Ronnie Caram is in the “others” group. And he was more than a little upset recently upon losing his beloved flip phone.

He was sure that wife Linda–longest-tenured AT&T employee in Texas with more than a half-century of service–could find a “new” flip phone somewhere out there.

She claimed to give it the “old college try,” but there were none to be had. She found an archaic model, only a few “baby steps” ahead of the flip phone. He growled, “I’m going to throw it into the first body of water I see.”

Their 44-year marriage was “saved by the bell,” the one ringing on Linda’s smartphone. One persistent store manager luckily found ONE flip phone in the storeroom.

Linda heaped praise, thanking the manager for his diligence. He “struck a nerve,” though, when he responded, “Anything for Ma Bell.”

 Dr. Newbury is a former educator who writes weekly and is a longtime public speaker. Comments/speaking inquiries to: newbury@speakerdoc.com. Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: www.speakerdoc.com Twitter: @donnewbury. Facebook: don newbury    

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