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Ode To LG


The author celebrates four glorious years with his cell phone.


I never thought this moment would come. But in a rare, stunning display of technological longevity, my cell phone and I have reached a milestone: Our four-year anniversary. Four years! Where do I begin?

I remember when we first met. I was nervous. Young. Probably a little stupid. The Verizon (VZ) guy kept talking about things like "two-year contracts" and "penalties" for "opting out." This worried me. I told the salesman I had a fear of commitment. Couldn't we agree on something a little more… Open ended? Let's start with a year and then see where we're at. No, he said. If I wanted the phone, I'd need to sign here. I'd need to take the plunge.

So I did. And you know what? I've never been happier.

The old axiom's true: Relationships only get better with time. Four years later, my LG and I have a wonderful partnership. We share an intimate understanding of each other's wants, needs and idiosyncrasies. For example, its "4" button sticks a little bit, so I need to press it harder than other numbers. In return, my LG has learned a whole new text message vocabulary specific to my needs.

We complement each other in every way. LG wakes me up in the morning. I plug it in at night. It doesn't judge me. I never resent it. And while this is a little embarrassing to admit, my relationship with LG has actually outlived two real, human relationships. It even helped me end one of them.

But most importantly, my cell phone has taught me a great deal about myself. My fear of commitment has always had a lot to do with my fear of getting bored. But you know what? I learn new things about my LG all the time. Like when it comes to voice recognition, for some reason it understands me better if I speak with a British accent. And just last week I discovered a new function that shows me how many calls I've made. 11,023. Or 520 hours, 16 minutes and 34 seconds. Where did the time go?

Let's face it: Four years is a long time to be married to one gadget. In four years I've already had two iPods - and I'm itching for a third. My first iPod's battery burnt out after a year. Apple (AAPL) said it would cost more to replace the battery than to just get a new one. I didn't buy the company's equivalent of life insurance -- the Apple Protection Plan -- so after a long, painful discussion with an Apple genius, we decided it was best to pull the plug.

I was sad, but we didn't know each other that well. My second iPod and I started out great. It was slimmer, brighter and could play videos. But the honeymoon hardly lasted. After a year and a half, its click wheel has become totally ineffectual. I've come to resent it. In fact, I hate it. Between you and me, I've even hit it. A few times. I guess it's time to buy a third. I mean. Ugh. Who cares?

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What else. Remote controls? I've had four. USB cables? At least three. Operating systems? Two.

And don't even get me started on earphones. When I think about how many different pairs I've had plugged in my ears I feel sick to my stomach. I'm the Don Juan of earphones. Apple? Bose? Panasonic? I don't care. Sony (SNE)? Microsoft (MSFT)? Shure? Sure. I've been with earphones whose names I never knew. I'm not proud of it. But, hey, this is life in the 21st century. You take what you can get for as long as you can have it.

Which brings me back to my LG. You know, the world moves fast and technology moves faster. Apple's going to unveil its latest iPhone. Google's (GOOG) going to do the same. Microsoft will follow suit - a few years too late and a few functions too few. And yes, these will be sexier phones. Lighter phones. Phones that can email and surf the web and take Ansel Adams-quality photographs of majestic mountains. But I don't care. Because after four years with my older, slower and admittedly lamer phone I say this: I've never been happier. Because I know my phone. And it knows me.

Here's to another four years.

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