Solitary Confinement

Every time I pull out my cellphone to use it I stand amazed at the advancements of the past 20 years.

For a while, all that was available were huge old black bag phones. Then flip phones soon came out and we all had our own Star Trek tricorder device and could actually talk to someone when away from that pesky landline.

Texting slowly became more the norm and since we only had a keyboard with numbers on it for dialing, it was necessary to triple punch the numbers to get a corresponding letter to appear. It was slow and cumbersome at the least and Ol’ Dutch had a heck of a time sending any kind of message to anyone.

Often it would read something like, “com ti tge game tomoro nigt?” Soon however, newer models appeared and suddenly we had phones with actual keyboards like a typewriter albeit much smaller.

There came a time when Ol Dutch became a single man and suddenly I was able to have one of the newest phones available. Before that event, I was held in tight alignment by a less than generous soul but as soon as she flew the coop my kids took me down and got me the latest and greatest invention called a “smartphone.”

It didn't take me long to figure out why they were called that as I was bamboozled about how to make it all work and the 203 apps that came on the phone were just mine traps waiting to lead me to disaster.

Slowly and with not a little encouragement and lessons from an 8-year-old neighbor kid, I was able to really start using the phone to its full extent. Well, maybe to some extent.

I soon was able to make calls, text my kids, get online and Google the world and the darn thing even talked to me when I was driving and told me every time I missed a turn going to a destination.

Another good time waster built right into the device is the games you can play. These come in handy when waiting at the doctor’s office, when Trixie is running late or church when the pastor just cannot seem to get us out of hell and into heaven quite fast enough for good sense.

Nothing like a little Free Cell or Chess to take the edge off a normally boring event and winning really is good for the soul no matter what the New Ager's say about it.

Lately, Ol Dutch has found a new interest in playing Solitaire on his smartphone. Over and over I shuffle and deal into countless games against an unseen foe – the computer.

It’s a simple game and dependent quite a bit on luck although card placement and moving some cards around on the board does make a difference in the outcome of a game.

And here I was just going along playing game after peaceful game when Trixie began to look over my shoulder when I play. Now Ol’ Dutch was playing Solitaire when Trixie wasn't even a thought in her parents’ minds so the “help” I began getting was a little disconcerting to say the least.

She insisted on finding the moves I needed and also any mistakes were quickly pointed out. I tried to tell her that Solitaire by definition is a game for ONE PLAYER but not to be discouraged, she continued to try and help me.

After careful consideration or maybe not, I think that any man that finds himself in such shoes may need to rethink his relationship with his beloved. It’s just possible that he has moved from Solitaire to the Solitary Confinement of indentured servitude without even committing a crime.