This is a true story...

I know people hate cell phones. Hell, I even hate everyone else's cell phones, but I like mine. I really find it convenient. It's like crack: I can't leave home without it. I don't even have a phone hooked up in my house. My four roommates and I are equiped solely with cellular technology. Talk about proliferation....anyway...

So I drop my cell phone all the time. I'm trying to put it in my bag, and it falls on the pavement, or I'm drunk, and I just fucking drop it like the genius I become after 10 beers. I drop it all the time, and never in a nice soft, forgiving locale, no, always on the pavement or cold, hard floor.

Cell phones make a brilliantly loud CRACK when they hit the solid pavement. Or at least, you seem to hear the sound more distinctly because you've had enough time to ask yourself "When is it going to hit the ground, and will this be the end of it?" during the time your little phone takes to make it's decent toward the unforgiving earth. I do this all the time. So I wasn't surprised after the last "incident" that the phone made a distinct rattling sound when you shake it just slightly. Something wasn't right, and the volume of the speaker was intermittent at best and made loud noise, or no noise, on various occasions.

My roommate was heading to the local Verizon store to get his phone fixed, and I figured maybe they could look at my phone. It definitely needed some serious cosmetic surgery.

If you look at my phone, you can tell its been roughed up. I don't use one of those leather, protective coats people wrap their cell phones in. Nor did I purchase one of those nifty retractable rope-belt clip devices you see on infomercials all the time that keep your phone from falling. No, I just kinda let all that slide. It's got nicks, marks, scratches, and definite drop marks.

I ask the guy at the store to take a look at it and see if he can make the strange noises go away. He takes the phone and heads into the back room to see what he can do. I start to think this might have been a bad idea. He did seem to look at me with a blank stare when I used the words "rattling a lot." I started to think that in California, I should have said: "Hey, man, this hella' sucks. My phone makes noise." And he would've picked right up on it...

He comes back and informs me he's not quite sure what is causing it, but he thinks it is the speaker. No shit sherlock, you think the speaker makes weird noises because it's working right? "But I can swap it out for you..." He added.

"Oh damn, how much is that gonna cost?" "Nothin' man, it's free." I don't know about anyone else, but on a graduate student's budget (read: negative money), free makes me smile nice and wide. I felt a warm fuzzy feeling come over me. Milking the system is always a good thing.

In 10 minutes I had a brand new phone. Same make and model as my old phone, except this one was equiped with right-out-of-the-box freshness. Gone were the scratches, scars and gouges. No more noise, no more rattling, just brand new phone goodness. I didn't even have to take out my wallet. It was like Christmas. Thank you Mr. Verizon, whoever you are.

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