Cords are the new keys


By Marla Boone - Contributing columnist



Remember when toy manufacturers used to remind parents at Christmas time to have plenty of batteries on hand? Man, that was the life. Just stick about a half dozen batteries into a new toy, let the kid play with it for an hour or so, take out the dead batteries, throw them into a landfill, pollute the earth with the decaying battery, and repeat. People had it so easy in the olden days.

With advances in battery technology, we now have rechargeable batteries: A, AA, AAA, 9 volt, everything. So now we can stick a half dozen batteries into a new toy, let the kid play with it for an hour or so, take out the dead batteries, recharge them for half a day, let the kid play a little more, throw the batteries into a landfill along with the charger, pollute the earth with the decaying battery, and repeat.

But this is the age of convenience. We have cell phones for our convenience. We have iPads, too, and iPods. We have tablets and headphones and computers, all of which are geared towards our convenience. We have e-commerce, e-books, e-banking, and e-nough. I have just about all the convenience I can stand. The wonderful news is, each one of those devices has some sort of miracle battery that lasts for days and recharges in a very short time. The less-than-wonderful news is, each one of those devices has a different charging cable.

So it has come to pass that almost every household that is not currently sheltering a Luddite has a drawer like the one we have: the drawer that is full—-full—-of cables. We are better off than most folks. Even though they are dinosaurs by almost any standard, Steve and I have the same model cell phone. The same cable works for both of them, so we can share right up until the time someone who shall remain nameless uses the phone recharging cable and does not put it back into the drawer.

Our iPods use the same charger, too, which is a huge stroke of luck. We each used to have our own charger. Then one of the chargers, not the cable part but the white block part, crapped out. (For you techies, the proper term for this is “crapped out.”) Now we have to share an iPod charger, too.

Cables are the new keys. Referring again to the olden days, doors and cars used to have keys. Now door and cars are equipped with electronic pads into which your very own personal opening code is entered for access. I know two people who were trapped inside their cars because the electronic opening system failed (a.k.a. crapped out). To quote the movie “Westworld,” nothing can go wrong go wrong go wrong.

Unfortunately, you don’t own keys. Keys own you. In a semi-scary parallel, every house, even those with Luddites, has a drawer full of keys. Many keys. More keys than we have currently or have ever had doors or cars or even hairs on our heads. We have no idea what the majority of these keys open, just like we have no idea what the majority of the cables in the cable drawer charge. But, and here’s the thing, we can’t throw any of them away. If we do, next week or tomorrow or yet this afternoon, we are going to encounter a locked door behind which is the secret of the universe or an electronic device on which are the winning numbers to the lottery which we, naturally, would love to know except the battery is dead. We HAD the key to this door and we HAD the charging cable to the device. We know we did. We saw them just last week. When we threw them out.

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By Marla Boone

Contributing columnist

The writer resides in Covington.

The writer resides in Covington.