DSL dilemma and rock communication

Rick Ryckeley's picture

It was once said by someone much smarter than me, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make any noise?”

I have a modern version of that old saying. If the phone rings, but the phone line to your house is disconnected, does anyone hear it ringing?

For communication to take place, there must first be a sender of the information and then a receiver. If no one hears what you’re saying, it’s like talking to yourself — or a teenager.

In either case, you really don’t expect an answer. Maybe some mumbling, but no tangible answer. Kinda like when we got back home the other day and I tried to make a phone call, finding myself once again talking to no one.

To save money, The Wife and I have bundled all of our services. Nope, it’s not what you think. Bundled services means the phone line is connected to the cable line, cable line is connected to the DSL line and as I look out the window, everything is now connected to the fast rotating spindle on that ditch-digging machine in the neighbor’s front yard.

That would be the machine that just dug up the cable going to our house as it was burying the cable next door.

What an extremely efficient machine: it tears up something just so it has something to fix. Kinda like politicians.

The last time my communication lines got so tangled was back on Flamingo Street, and I was in Old Ms. Crabtree’s third-grade class.

Before text messaging, cell phones, and even pagers, us kids still had a way to communicate with each other: colored rocks. Like most great inventions, using colored rocks to communicate evolved by accident, or more accurately, from one heck of a beating.

Down the Street Bully Brad jumped around the old magnolia tree in front of Candi’s house after school and preceded to pound my face against his fists. This was a common occurrence, so much so that the giant magnolia was commonly referred to as the fighting tree.

I’m not sure, but I think the ensuing beating had something to do with the spitball incident that morning in the library of Mount Olive Elementary school. He must’ve discovered that it was me who ratted him out. A day’s suspension from school sure does make for one really mad bully.

As the kids from school made an impenetrable circle around us, there was no way to escape his fury. Afterwards, he was gone and I lay there bleeding on the rocky ground. From that day forward, whenever any of us saw Bully Brad and his gang lurking around Flamingo Street looking for a fight, we’d place a red rock on top of our mailbox post.

As time passed, we started to use additional colored rocks to disseminate important information. A green rock meant Preston Weston, the rich kid over on the Duke of Gloucester, just got his allowance. We might be able to bum a couple of quarters for a Mister Misty-lime-green-ice cream float from the Seven-Eleven up the street.

Blue meant the Thomas’s pool was opened once again for the summer. A black rock was the sign that the kid at the other end of the driveway was really sick and in bed. A pink rock on the mailbox post meant it was Candi’s house, the most popular and best looking girl on Flamingo Street. No one else had a pink rock but her.

Almost as important as the red rock was the white rock. It signaled that one of us was in trouble with our parents, and if no one intervened, a whooping would happen as soon as the dad got home. We learned early on that if we had company, Dad wouldn’t whoop us. Guess he didn’t want any witnesses.

After a long day of work, an hour listening to not only his kids but two or three additional kids from the neighborhood running around playing in the house, an adult beverage or two, he forgot all about whatever incident mom told him about on the phone.

To say that communication with rocks worked would be an understatement. That is, until we had so many different colored rocks we couldn’t keep them all straight.

With a deadline for the newspaper looming and no DSL, four frantic calls by cell phone later, another machine came and finally fixed the cable that the first machine chewed up. Everything’s back to normal now; in fact, it’s better than ever. Why the first machine couldn’t fix what it destroyed, I don’t know.

In a little more than two months, a new machine will take control of the government. I just hope it can fix all that’s been torn up over the years and make things better than ever. Otherwise I’m gonna put a black rock on my mailbox post, get into bed, and stay there for four years.

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