"Get a cellular phone": the wrong thing to say?

Country singer Collin Raye had a song some years back called “That’s My Story”, in which he’s trying to explain to his wife/SO why he has come sneaking home at dawn. After his first couple excuses/lies have failed, he 'fesses up in the final verse:

Honey, me and the boys played cards all night
There wasn’t no hanky-panky, not a woman in sight
I know I should have called and Baby, I’m really sorry
But get a cellular phone, and you won’t need to worry

Aside from being a bit out of date, now that everybody and their dog has a cell phone, what is it about that last line that makes it The Wrong Thing to Say? I’ve heard more than one standup comedian reference some variation on that line, and always in the context that it’s one of those lines that makes a woman’s head explode in a fit of homicidal fury.

My first thought about that line, in the context of the song, is that it makes no logical sense. Apparently, the wife has been home all night wondering where her husband is. If she’s been at home, what would she need a cell phone for? Couldn’t he have called his own home phone?

The only thing I can think of is that by speaking that line, the man is implying that it’s the woman’s fault that he didn’t call. Any other ideas? Ladies?

First, I agree that it doesn’t make much sense as written.

What I always imagined was going on is that the husband is saying that they, as a household, should get a cell phone, and then he, the husband, could take the cell phone when he was out and presumably be more easily located. I think the song is about 15 years old, and I remember when it was not unusual for a couple to have one cell phone that they would share, it was like the “in case of emergency” phone.

Why it is the wrong thing to say:

  1. Seriously, wherever he was playing cards, the wife is to believe there was no phone? No pay phone at the bar? If it was at his buddy’s house, there was no phone there? There was no pay phone at the 7-11 where they stopped to get beer and pork rinds? If upon arriving at his buddy’s house and realizing the phone had been turned off for non-payment, he couldn’t hop back in his car and use the pay phone on the corner, which would have taken all of 10 minutes, after which he could have devoted 12 hours to card playing? If they had wanted to get a pizza delivered, I have no doubt the guys would have found a phone. The really annoying point: If the guy is expected home, HE should be the one responsible for calling. The wife should not be responsible for tracking him down.

  2. He then follows up with the “that’s my story” line again, which to me always implied that that lack of phone service is one more element of his “story” and that in the future, when he has a cell phone, there will be some other reason that he stayed out all night and there will be a new “story.” Gee honey, we were playing cards in the Gobi Desert and I couldn’t get a signal on the cell phone. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it! I think the joke (ha :rolleyes: ) of the song is that the story is perpetually changing depending upon how aggressively it is challenged by his wife.

I would like to end by repeating that the lyrics themselves do not make too much sense on the cell phone point.

I always interpreted it as being rage-inducing because the line is shifting responsibility onto her. The whole song is basically about refusing to take responsibility, and that little line, coming as it is at the end of a heartfelt ‘‘confession’’, is just the icing on the cake.