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Playing it smart: Wish list crosses off bells and whistles

Usually about this time of year I start putting together a list of things I'd kinda like to have, just in case anyone might be interested. Throughout the years those lists have included such necessary items as fishing boats, fly rods, sports cars and cabins on fish-filled waters (lakes, streams, oceans, whatever).

Most of those items remain on the list, although I have added a fly rod or two to my growing but still small collection. I am still without a cabin on any sort of fishable water and the closest thing I have to a sports car is my flashy red 2000 Ford Explorer.

Consequently, I'm taking a different tack this year. I'd like to let anyone who might be interested know of some things that I don't need, don't want and have no use for.

A cell phone that takes pictures is one. I have a cell phone. I have a camera. The camera makes better pictures than any I've seen come out of a telephone and if I want to send someone a photograph of a recent trip I have a computer that accepts the smart (Where did that description come from? It's just an electronic device that cleverly stores about 1,000 pictures in a 2-inch by 2-inch container that's about as thick as a Communion wafer.) card, and I can download and e-mail any photo that anyone might want to gaze at, pictures of my grandsons, for instance.

They also make cell phones that play music, not just the clever little tunes that tell you someone is calling but whole songs, lots of whole songs. Don't get me one of those. I get confused enough trying to make sense out of call waiting. I don't need the stress of having to deal with call waiting and music waiting all at the same time.

I don't want a Blackberry, either, unless someone wants to make me a cobbler. Blackberries, I think, are miniaturized computers that serve as cell phones, word processors and thumb exercise machines.

Don't want one. I wore my thumbs out long ago trying to catch curve balls that broke into the wrong part of my catcher's mitt. I can't even hold a paint brush long enough to slap a coat of latex on a small wall. I constantly regret that handicap. So does my wife.

I've seen folks writing messages on Blackberries from inside meetings, inside rest rooms and on the run through hotel corridors and airports. Maybe it's just me, but I don't have many messages that require that kind of urgency. After all, I have a cell phone that doesn't take pictures or play music more than a few bars long.

I also don't need a car that parks itself. How ridiculous is that? No one parallel parks anymore and they certainly don't parallel park between towers of champagne flutes. I'd rev the engine up just to hear the noise a high-priced car makes crashing into a high-priced pile of crystal.

I understand the upgrade to get automated parking on one of these luxury vehicles is about $4,000. I can buy some fine fly rods with that much cash and get a lot more amusement from them than I would with a parlor trick like watching a car park itself.

Build me a boat that backs itself down a steep, narrow, twisty driveway, though, and I'll start saving my shekels.

A man's got to have priorities.

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