When my wife suggested we might consider changing cellular phone plans, my initial thought was of me held in a medieval torture chamber with other people trapped in head vices.It’s not because I don’t like the technology. Actually, I would rank it among the top inventions from the last 35 years. I honestly can say I’ve accomplished more work via cell phone while sitting in traffic than many times during a full day at work. Actually, it’s kind of sad, considering I still show up at the office each day. But the process for finding a plan suitable for the particular needs of my family always made me wonder if we really needed the technology after all. I was perfectly happy in the days when my cellular phone was in a vinyl bag that fit nicely on a vehicle’s console. It was a simpler time when I missed calls because the phone wouldn’t fit in my pocket — not because I entered an interior room at my house. The collapse of “life as I knew it,” came when the word, “digital” was introduced in the late 1990s. Suddenly, every piece of electronic gadgetry I finally had saved up enough to purchase became an instant relic. I was left holding the bag … phone. Today, there are too many choices in cellular devices with Smartphones, Blackberry and Razr phones, GPS navigation-ready models and some that are video capable. The list goes on and on. Basically, I’m looking for a telephone that allows me to call or receive calls at distances exceeding 20 feet from my house. But the challenge lies in the features for my daughter, who is more technologically advanced than me and is part of our “family plan.” She wants text messaging — a code-like communication among young people where symbols and random letters of the alphabet replace an entire paragraph in type-written language. It explains why I haven’t understood a note from her since 2002. In her words, she “needs” to be able to download ring tones, which has led to moments when I thought a rap singer might be hidden in the coat closet at my house. Luckily, she hasn’t mentioned Bluetooth — technology that allows the caller to wear a Star Trek-like communication apparatus in his ear instead of simply holding the phone up there. Since I never want to be one of the people who stand in an aisle at the grocery store and appear to hold lengthy conversations with a box of Fruit Loops, it’s not a priority in my cell phone service plan. But, perhaps the biggest challenge is finding a new phone that works just like one you’re replacing. I’ve learned through the years cell phones are a lot like my wife’s shoes. If you find a model that’s comfortable and fits your needs perfectly, there is no chance of ever finding another one exactly like it. So, I’m primed to begin what promises to be a journey where I can once again try to learn how to differentiate between buttons used to answer the phone and a variety of other features that might render my phone useless for the next three months. Sign me up for the head vice. Ken Knepper is publisher of The Newton Kansan. He can be contacted at email@example.com.