Saturday, March 24, 2007

Why Can't They Make VW Engines Out Of The Same Materials?

I have demonstrated a certain amount of passive aggression towards my pagers, over the years. As a resident, one hot evening after work, I went canoeing down the river and decided to jump in the water, forgetting my pager was still in my shorts pocket. I realized it pretty quickly, sort of had a "serves you right, you beastly device" attitude, but nonetheless tried to revive it. I took it home & put it in the oven overnight, at about 160 F. Annoyingly, it was its beepy little self in the morning.

Later on in residency, I was in a hospital men's room and put my pager on a little stainless-steel shelf for a moment while I changed into scrubs or something. Then the pager went off. Unfortunately, it was in "silent vibrate" mode, and silently vibrated itself off the shelf and plop into the toilet below. I borrowed some disposable surgical implements to fish it out, soaked it briefly in antiseptic solution, rinsed it, and baked it again in the oven. Voila-- resurrected.

About six weeks ago, we had a good sized blizzard in the Smallish State. I got home from Green Acres and set about shoveling the parking spaces, driveway, neighbor's parking space, sidewalk, and a clear path to the main road. At the end of the hour or so of shoveling I noticed that my pager, which had been clipped to my belt, no longer was so. I surveyed a hundred yards of waist-high snowbanks. I went in the house, got my cell phone, repeatedly paged myself, and paced all around for half an hour straining my ears for the faint, hated "beep". It was similar to an avalanche-rescue drill I once participated in. But I could not locate the victim. Back at Green Acres, I received a chiding for losing my pager (which, by the way, I had faithfully protected for over five years) and was issued another one. As punishment, though, my new pager is bigger, heavier, and much more shrill than the old one. It's so hideous in tone that, even though almost everyone at G.A. has a pager, when mine goes off everyone turns and says "What the hell was THAT?"

But! Today was a warm and sunny day in the Smallish State. We drove a state over climbed up Mt. Monroe (next to Mt. Washington) for the above-treeline brilliance. Walking back up the driveway, I saw, poking through a small remaining slushpile, my old pager. It was muddy and battered. It didn't turn on. I brought it inside. I put a new battery in. Beep beep beep beep.

I gotta go, they're paging me.


Blogger Midwife with a Knife said...

Hah. I guess my treatment of my pagers during residency wasn't so much passive aggressive as just plain old aggressive. Stupid thing worked after it fell down 6 flights of stairs in the parking garage. I did manage to kill it in the toilet once, there was no attempt to revive it. I turned it in saying, "My pager doesn't work. No, I don't really know why, exactly."

3/24/07, 9:19 PM  
Blogger ClinkShrink said...

Pagers are the living dead zombies of the technology world. You just can't kill them short of a stake through the AAA heart. Although they don't do well in microwaves, from what I hear from a friend who tried it.

3/25/07, 9:54 AM  
Blogger jcat said...

Have to confess to some previous pager abuse myself...
While dunking them in a keg of beer served to make them temporarily inoperative, to the best of my knowledge, all the poor critters that had done to them were alive and functioning by the next day.

3/25/07, 3:12 PM  

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