You already know how excited I am (not) to give you this cell phone. For several years my response to your continual badgering has been, “You can get a phone when your dad and I need you to have one.”
Good news and bad news, Son. We need you to have one. This is good news because you will think your greatest longing and wish has been fulfilled.
But it’s bad news, because we’ve essentially put a power tool in the hands of a baby. In my mind it conjures up images of a toddler wielding a chainsaw.
I know. That’s so insulting because you’re not a baby. I know. That’s why you’re getting a phone.
But it’s not just a phone. You are getting a power tool. And despite the fact that you are taller and arguably stronger than me, you are still very young. Too young, in fact, to use a power tool without instruction.
As with all power tools, your phone comes with a long list of disclaimers that seem to insult your intelligence and say things that should go without saying.
Regretfully, the owner’s manual that came with your phone left some of those things out. So, for your convenience (and mine) I have listed them below.
WARNING: Read, understand and follow all instructions. Failure to do so may result in removal of phone privileges.
WORK AREA: Do not operate phone in explosive atmospheres such as in the car, while driving
Keep bystanders, children and visitors away while operating cell phone. Distractions can cause you to lose control, or speak rudely to bystanders or the person on the other end of the phone.
ELECTRICAL SAFETY: Water entering a phone will increase the risk of electrical shock and will likely damage the device beyond what a baggie full of dry rice can repair. Plus we did not buy the insurance, so replacement is up to you.
Do not abuse the cord. Never use the cord to pull the plug from an outlet. Keep it away from heat, sharp edges and slamming car doors. Replacing damaged cords is also your responsibility.
PERSONAL SAFETY: Stay alert. Do not use it while tired or under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or coercive peers. In fact, do not use drugs, alcohol or be friendly with coercive peers. Ever. Also, do not be a coercive peer.
Avoid accidental starting. Accidental starting may result in an embarrassing episode of butt dialing someone you do not wish to call.
USE and CARE: Keep idle phone out of reach of children and other untrained persons. This includes but is not limited to toddlers who can disable your phone for 2.5 million minutes and brothers or friends who would try prank call unknown contacts. A password reset, or social damage control will be your responsibility.
STORAGE: Plug in phone to charge on kitchen counter before bedtime.
And with a nod to the Hippocratic oath, the overriding principle to govern your cell phone usage should be to “do no harm.”
Do not harm yourself by viewing inappropriate material.
Do not harm others (including your brothers) with hurtful words, or embarrassing videos or photos, unless you have express permission to take and distribute said videos and photos.
Do not harm your relationship with your parents by misusing this power tool.
In the unlikely event that you do abuse the power tool or harm someone, the warranty of free usage is nil and void.
However, your father and I both did stupid, careless things when we were your age. And since the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, unfortunately, you will too. There will be consequences for misuse which may be unpleasant for all of us. But please know, we love you.
Though you may not like our methods, we will help you get up when you fall, review the proper use of this power tool, and let you try again.
Because that is how we learn to properly care for power tools, cell phones, and people.
With high hopes for your adherence to these instructions,