THE DIME OR QUARTER IN THE POCKET

Once upon a time, let’s say thirty years ago or longer, parents and/or caretakers of kids aged before they because legal aged adults (seventeen or so and under, but this article will focus on kids ages eight through fourteen i.e. “tweeners”) would make sure their safeguards were over basic safety issues.

These kids were given a dime, and later on thanks to inflation, a quarter to be used for an emergency phone call. Their instructions were in general, to call home or the work number of the parent(s) in case the need desired it. Most of these so-called “emergencies” consisted of getting a last minute ride to somewhere, informing the parent that they were not coming home from school right away, or some other reason that was more of a domestic nature. It was very unlikely that the kid was in some form of danger. It was a call for basic peace of mind.

That dime/quarter was to be used for a public pay phone where the call could be made from. If the kid wanted to check in and has access to a landline they can use for “free”, then the coin wasn’t necessary. But many times, a kid would have that coin inside of a pocket, purse, wallet, or where a kid could keep a coin on their person for that needed call.

This need for that emergency phone call was enhanced in the 1980’s. This was the time where there was a fear of parents for a possible (and rather unlikely) child abduction. There were reports of such child abductions that were going around in the existing media at the time. Of course, these stories were rather isolated in nature, and most, if not all, abduction were done of a person that the kid knew personally. (A family member or somebody of that capacity). But the focus is to have that coin on hand for that “just in case” phone call.

That was then. When cell phones started to enter the domestic landscape at the turn of the 21st century, many of these same caretakers were able to get additional phones for their kids through their service provider. Unlike the caretaker’s phone device that was more for an adult type usage, the kids got a basic phone that can send calls and receive calls. Their use was more limited for use in terms of the phone plans being offered, and that extra phone would be tied to the caretaker’s account. But not all kids would have that phone for that just in care phone usages due to the expense. But for those that could afford it, then that phone would be available to keep in touch.

When smartphones became more accessible a few years later, kids started to get their own smart phone as provided by the caregivers. And since kids want the latest and greatest type of phone and the fact that phone carriers were offering family plans where multiple phone would be tied to the same account, these kids would not only have their own phone, but could do nearly anything and everything with their devices from sending and receiving text messages, taking photos and videos to create and view, playing phone and video games, and of course, to send and receive phone calls to anyone and everyone–caretakers included in that mix by default.

Recently, the Pew Research Center conducted a survey asking parents and caretakers of kids aged twelve and younger on their kid’s phones and their habits with such phones.

Perhaps the most obvious reason why these parents gave smart phones to their kids was to contact them and vice versa. (78% and 73% respectfully). Other reasons given was for the kid’s entertainment, for doing their homework, and because their friends have them.

And what do these kids actually use their phone for? According to the results, online video programs came as the top reason at 64% tying in with watching video content. Playing games came in next at 43%, and reading was next at 34%.

If you want to see the Pew survey report yourself, check out the link below https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2020/07/28/childrens-engagement-with-digital-devices-screen-time/?utm_content=null&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Monday%20Email&utm_term=4ABCD#:~:text=Majorities%20of%20parents%20of%20children,child%20has%20their%20own%20smartphone

It’s really no surprise that kids as young as age eight are getting their own phones. Common Sense Media did their own findings to state that 31% of those aged eight has phones for their own use. (in 2015, only 11% had phones of that age.) Today, those kids are now fourteen and 91% still have phones! (Six years ago, 59% had phones!) Those kids are now “young adults” where 98% have phones. It really isn’t known why those lowly 2% are phone free. This is either by choice or through circumstance.

But these “Gen Zers”-those born after 1995 are in their time of life where the internet and its related devices have always been around. They insist that a phone and a good wifi connection is a right and is expected to be accessible, just like water, air, and other notions that make up domestic living.

When yours truly was of those ages in the second half of the 20th century, television was always around. I could never understand why people a lot older than I spoke about not having TV and radio as the basic choice of home entertainment. (There was recorded music as well, but I had that within reach with my record collection that spun around at 33 1/3 and 45 RPM.) But radio was around long before TV, and I used radio to listen to my top-40 charted music. I just wasn’t lucky enough to hear Fibber McGee and Molly or The Great Gildersleeve each week as they did back in the “good old days”!

But getting back to phones and its youthful audience. Although kids do have traditional TV and most of them engage with it, they also watch the same content, if not additional, through their phones. And since these kids, and for the most part, many adults have their life and times revolved around these devices that are now a part of living.

These comments are to praise the results that everyone can become connected with for good reasons and otherwise! What makes these reasons not so good is from use and abuse that people of many ages follow. It was and is never such a good idea to be out in public gawking into a phone while near heavy traffic. There have been reports in many urban centers where people were hit by cars as they crossed the street while engaged with their phone. Many people use their phone while driving, sometimes holding their phone while behind the wheel. Some communities and areas forbid holding a phone while driving, let alone texting somebody while operating a moving vehicle. Sometimes one has to be on a phone while getting from one place to another. But common sense is always encouraged.

But being the fact that the cat has long been out of the bag, kids and phones will be commonplace, thanks to the caregivers that have a phone over. Before long, don’t be too surprised that the family pet will have a phone of their own. And don’t laugh folks. It’s already happened! Just whip out that phone, connected to YouTube, Tic-Toc, or where one receives their video content and see for yourself! (And don’t say we didn’t warn you!!)

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The Victory Theater of Burbank hosts the world premier of Richard Willett’s A TERMINAL EVENT, a story of a man undergoing a medical condition and the woman at his doctor’s office that aids him in receiving his “cure” as well adding toward their emotional state of being.

Laura Coover plays Kate Milbrandt, a receptionist at the clinic of Dr. Martin Crossley (Tom Ormeny, alternating with John Idakitis), a promising physician within the treatment of cancer. Kate is also an actress that attempts to audition for a part in some production, be it for a stage work, a television program, or even a TV commercial. While at the clinic, she meets Desmond Forrester (Marshall McCabe), an account executive at a major advertising agency. He arrived at the clinic since he is going through his treatments for his stage of cancer. Undertaking traditional medication for his treatment, he insists to Kate that he is prescribed alternative medication. He should know as he handles pharma accounts for some treatments that state within their ads all of the side effects to these medications. Kate follows this “mad man” through his knowledge in spite of what Dr. Crossley follows within his practice. What begins as a treatment between doctor’s advice and its client states something that can be cured and otherwise!

This new play written by Richard Willett had its origins in his creation during the height of The Pandemic. Through the ups and downs of what was going on at the time, he composed this play that can be noted as a blend of radiant drama with sprinkles of glowing humor, as well as clinging hints of romantic interludes between Kate and Desmond. It’s not within the same stance as a classic “rom-com”. There are episodes of comic flair, but far from being a so-called “laff riot”. The dramatic edge’s essence is more toward a lighter result. The drama itself isn’t heavy, but still possesses an aura of an element of something serious in nature.

As to this stage production as presented by The Victory Theater, the cast of four players that also includes Randi Lynne Weidman as Roberta Kingsley, another patient of Dr. Crossley, perform their roles as expected. Tom Ormeny/John Idakitis as Dr. Crossley is the traditional doctor that does his treatments the way it should be executed. Laura Coover as Kate is the actress whose real job is at the clinic that views more drama for real than what‘s found inside of a script. Marshall McCabe as Desmond learns about medical treatment not through experience, but by way of TV doctors from not so long ago, but a bit too far into the past that Kate could relate to.

Maria Gobetti directs the play and its cast into a stage work that holds plenty of appeal, and shows how such treatment can be treated (of course) without being too preachy without the laundry list of side effects and other cautions to current medications.

A TERMINAL EVENT is the Victory Theater’s first full scale production presented in some three years. And this thirty six month (give or take) waiting period was worth its time as this show is well liked and holds appeal. It stands as a careful fusion of a light drama or a serious comedy. Whatever the case, it’s far from being a terminal event as the title may suggest. It’s just a play that offers the hope one can receive as well as its rewards that follow.

A TERMINAL EVENT, presented by and performs at The Victory Theater, 3326 West Victory Blvd. (off Hollywood Way), Burbank, until July 10th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 4:00 PM. Current standards for Covid prevention will be in effect and the wearing of face masks will be required.

For ticket reservations and for further information, call (818) 841-5421, or via online at http://www.TheVictoryTheatreCenter.org

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2022 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

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