Today, as I left my office and strode outside for a break, something struck me. A thought had entered my head, something I needed to communicate with a coworker—nothing earth shattering, nothing that made me reverse course and return to the building. It was just the kind of thing that you’d like to get out of your mental file cabinet, stat.
And I realized: we need walkie-talkies!
And, further, I realized: mine is the last generation of males who will ever wish they had walkie-talkies. Wish? We might be the last generation that knows what a walkie-talkie is.
At the age of six or seven I received a pair of G.I. Joe walkie-talkies—which didn’t actually function beyond having retractable plastic antennae. Nevertheless, since then I’ve always wanted to have a walkie-talkie clipped to my belt, in easy reach for all the blunt orders the adult me would bark at my platoon, crew, and/or minions.
Really—what is more fundamentally male than the walkie-talkie? It’s an electronic gadget built for a gender that communicates in sharp, direct statements. There is no room for conversation or debate. No one interrupts you. They can’t. And if they try, you can toggle a switch and drown them in static. It encourages brevity and, even better, the creation of a verbal shorthand. It is the fount of acronyms—you think people said “ASAP!” or “FUBAR!” before walkie-talkies existed? Hell, no. The walkie-talkie is an extension of the male psyche. And it is dead to the world.
Now I have this infinitely-more-useful iPhone. And there’s probably an app delivering walkie-talkie functionality. And I could always buy a belt clip. And I could always have called, texted, or emailed my coworker the moment the thought struck me. But it wouldn’t be the same.