Updated: October 20, 2013 9:46PM
Duane Davison has never owned a cellular phone and probably never will.
The 49-year-old stay-at-home father of three from Valparaiso is convinced his life and lifestyle are better off without being tethered to an unnecessary mobile phone.
“I have a much more simple life as a result and I’m much happier as well,” said Davison, who has extensively traveled the country and world. “Since returning here, I have found that it’s the one thing I have control over and I don’t miss having one or need it in my life.”
For the record, Davison also doesn’t use email, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, blogs or any other computer-based programs.
“I have no desire to be in constant contact with everybody,” he told me, promptly noting that this is his personal choice, not a prescription for others.
Davison echoed many other readers who contacted me after reading my recent column asking, “How long could you go without your cell phone — one week? One day? One hour? Not even that long?”
More than half the U.S. population claims to suffer from “nomophobia” (an abbreviation for no-mobile-phone-phobia), defined as the fear of being without a mobile phone, a new study suggests. It didn’t surprise me one bit, I wrote.
We are now so tethered to our high-tech gadgets that more than half of us use them while driving, one in five smart phone users check emails in bed, one in four flirt with their phones during a date, and 20 percent of users admit to even checking it during sex.
But how about those people who refuse to own or use a cell phone, more out of defiance to new technology rather than lack of money? I asked and you answered, in droves.
“I don’t feel the need to be connected to the world 24/7,” replied Louise Turner, 68, of Demotte. “I do not have a cell phone, nor do I ever plan on getting one. I can afford it but I figure if someone wants to talk to me they can call my home number and leave a message if I’m not there.”
Anthony Mueller of Gary agrees, telling me from his land-line phone that he gets along just fine without a cell phone.
“I make calls from this phone — my home phone — and I don’t feel I need one when I leave home,” he said with a bit of anger in his voice. “It’s worked fine for me for more than 50 years and not everyone wants to have a phone with them everywhere they go. That’s ridiculous. Are we that lonely as a people that we need to feel connected at all times?”
“Whatever happened to peaceful solitude and contentment without all the (expletive) trappings of the 21st century?” he asked. “Are we that desperate?”
Joan Weiss of Munster agrees but with a gentler attitude.
“I understand why people have a cell phone, and that’s fine, but it’s not for me,” said Weiss, who’s 46. “Although I must admit that finding a public pay phone is a lot harder these days.”
A pay phone? Man, I forgot all about pay phones. That must be like looking for an eight-track tape deck or a Beta-format videocassette recorder.
Mike H. said he lost his cell phone a few months ago and later found it in his truck, where he kept it for emergencies.
“I did not miss it so I never reactivated it,” he said. “I seem to be doing just fine without one. “There, I said it and I feel better.”
Linda Swisher, public information coordinator at the Hammond Public Library, reflects the views of many other readers who contacted me about this issue.
“I have a cellphone, mostly for emergencies and for peace of mind while traveling,” she wrote via email. “I so seldom use my cell that sometimes days go by before I even turn it on. When it does ring, I am surprised.”
Funny, when my cell phones do NOT ring, I’m surprised.
“I basically got it to check social media and emails while I’m away from home,” Swisher wrote. “I wouldn’t feel comfortable using the cellphone as my home phone since I’d probably forget to charge it then need to use it during a power outage or something.”
“Maybe if I was younger, I’d feel a need to be connected constantly. I enjoy the convenience, but don’t want to be a slave to it.”
One final side note: Of the two dozen or so readers who contacted me for this column, half of them used that word, “slave,” in reference to owning a cell phone. I certainly see their point. Long before I master my newest cell phone, it has already enslaved me.
Attention NFL fans
Are you interested in attending the Super Bowl on Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey? Here’s one way to get there, for only $50, through a 1-in-500 chance of fate if the football gods are on your side.
For the fourth year in a row, Lakeshore Public Media is hosting a raffle-ticket fundraiser to attend the annual pigskin classic, with proceeds going directly into local programming.
The package includes two tickets to the game, a hotel room at the Sheraton for three nights (double occupancy), passes to a pregame party, merchandise coupons, game programs, preferred parking and a gift card for travel expenses.
Tickets are $50 (cash or check only) and the lucky winner will be announced live on “Lakeshore News Tonight” on Jan. 14, 2014. For details or to purchase tickets, call 756-5656 or visit www.LakeshorePublicMedia.org.
Connect with Jerry via email, at firstname.lastname@example.org, voice mail, at 713-7237, or Facebook, Twitter, and his blog, at jerrydavich.wordpress.com.