Stanley Bing

Happy blue year

I wanted to love my cute little wireless earpiece. Then I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.

Email | Print    Type Size  -  +
By Stanley Bing

(Fortune Magazine) -- Dec. 25: I got what I wanted! A brand-new Bluetooth headset! Wow, it's tiny. A little swanky gizmo with a dingus that goes behind my ear and a piece that fits into it and a tiny wedge of plastic that sits near my jaw, blinking. Except, you know, it isn't blinking. It's just sitting there. Turns out I've got to charge it for eight hours before it will do anything at all. So here we go! Into the charger! See you tomorrow, itty-bitty electronic friend!

Dec. 26: Okay, we're ready. I push the minuscule surface of the thing and yes! It glows! First blue, then red. Blue, red, blue, red ... zzzzz ... What? Oh, right. Time to get busy, because this is, first and foremost, a business implement that will enable me to go anywhere I want and talk to all the important people who want to talk to me while I'm going from here to there.

I won't be one of those people who meander about with a Stone Age cellphone at their head pouring dangerous microwaves into their brain. I'll be one of those spiffy wonks I always sort of despised, now that I come to think of it, looking like jabbering psychos escaped from the hospital and conversing with imaginary friends. This is the next development in intercranial communication, and now I'm on the leading edge of it! Let's see how this thing fits into my ear. Uh ... it doesn't.

Dec. 27: Well, it's a good thing I called Forbisher, Trotsky, and Lamont. They all have the exact same Bluetooth thingamabob and swear that you get used to the way it doesn't fit into your ear but sits there on the outside of the canal, dangling in mid-air. They also say that it doesn't matter that there's nothing near your mouth to speak into once you accept that it works. So I'm going to go to the next step: pairing my headset with my cellphone. Now where did I put the instruction booklet?

Dec. 28: Found it! It was in the garbage with yesterday's turkey.

Dec. 29: What's up with this damn thing? It won't "discover" my cellphone. Let's take it a step at a time. Push the on/off area of the headset. Here. No, wait. Here. Blue, red, blue. It's looking for my phone. I'll reboot my phone. Ah! It's pairing! Pairing ... pairing ... pairing ... What the @#!@#$!

Dec. 30: My trip to Verizon was very nice. I only had to wait ten minutes until the guys behind the desk completed their conversation with each other, and then one of them took my Bluetooth and my phone through a door marked employees only. Returning in three minutes, he said, "It works now." And so it did. I put the thing in my ear and drove back to the office talking merrily to people who for some reason kept saying, "Are you at the bottom of a swimming pool?"

Dec. 31: I'll admit, I'm discouraged. After I wrote the last entry, my little pal blinked in a variety of colors and died. It seems that while it was discovering my phone and then pairing with it, and as a result of subsequent usage (of approximately 25 minutes), the Bluetooth lost its charge and expired. What's going to happen now?

Jan. 1: Happy 2009! The sun is shining. The early birds are attacking the frozen worms. And my ear is clear of protuberances. That's right. I have given up the Tooth. I am and will remain Toothless.

After hours of searching, the doodad found the framitz again, and I got some action out of the whole schmear. It took most of an evening. Then I strolled around the room, talking with people I had no desire to speak to simply to feel like one of the Bluetooth generation. At some point I strolled past a mirror and caught a glimpse of myself, doing that Bluetooth thing.

I saw. And I removed the parasite from my head.

It's a start. Now, how about we spend the rest of the year getting rid of all the other stupid stuff we're plugged into? Take that, progress!

STANLEY BING's latest book is Executricks, or How to Retire While You're Still Working (Collins), available at finer bookstores everywhere. He can be reached at For more Bingstuff, go to his website,  To top of page

Tell us about your crazy boss
Is your boss heading for a self-made disaster? Scared of his own shadow? Just plain weird? Share your insane workplace story.
ExecutricksThe central question of every hardworking person's career is how to work less hard while still being able to buy an expensive bottle of wine without trembling. The answer is simple: Retire while still working! (more)

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.