How Wolfsie’s Phone Got Hexed

On my way to Pickleball the other day, I realized I did not have my cell phone with me. I panicked at first, but as you may recall from a previous column, my phone is never really lost, it is simply—if I may coin a new application for a perfectly good word—“unfounded.”

I was sure when I arrived home it would be exactly where I left it, which is usually where you find things.

In my head, I retraced the last places where I had seen the phone. I remembered loading the car with all my stuff: gym bag, sunglasses, hat, paddle, and, of course, the phone. Well, it must be in the car, I thought. I pulled over, got out, and looked carefully in between the seats, under the seats and in all the side compartments.

I didn’t want to be late for my court time, so I got back in the car and headed for the gym. At the first stoplight, I remembered I had a “Find My Phone” app on my Apple Watch. It said the phone was at 96th and Lantern Road.  So was I! The light changed and I turned west.  Now the watch said the cell was at 96th and Gray Road. Me, too! A few minutes later, we were both at 106th and Westfield.  Obviously, the phone was somewhere in my car. But where?

The last time I checked the app, it said the phone was at 111th and Westfield.  I was late now, so I played my Pickleball games and bee-lined back to that address afterward.  Sure enough, there was my phone—right smack dab in the middle of the street, and except for the protective case, it was completely smashed to smithereens. I retrieved it and went home, clueless as to how this had all happened.

My wife wasted no time in her analysis. “You were loading the car and had trouble handling everything at once, so you placed the phone (which has a magnet on the back of the case) on the roof of the car and sped away. Your watch’s app tracked the phone as you drove. The phone remained secure for most of your trip, but then you hit a pothole at 111th and Westfield. In a  nanosecond, it was dislodged and bounced to the middle of the street.”

Wow. Mystery solved. After I thanked Sherlock, I left to buy a new phone.

I showed the destroyed phone to the salesman. “Isn’t the protective case guaranteed?”

“Yes, 100% guaranteed.”

“But the phone is smashed.”

“Sir, we guaranteed the case, not the phone.”

I explained how embarrassed I was. “Oh, don’t be,” he said. “I’ve had several customers who did dumb things like driving over their phones.”

“I’m no dummy,” I said. “I did not run over my own phone. Someone else did it for me.”

The tech guys were all chuckling at my story and sharing other cell phone misadventures. “Years ago, I had a customer,” said one of the employees, “who forgot he had set his phone in the freezer while he needed both hands to retrieve a stuck pint of ice cream from the back.”

That made everyone laugh. Except me. It was a very painful memory, since I searched for hours to find that cell phone. And my screen was frozen the rest of the day.

Dick Wolfsie spent his career sharing his humor, stories and video essays on television, radio and in newspapers. His columns appear weekly in The Paper of Montgomery County. E-mail Dick at Wolfsie@