After years of forgotten birthdays, hideously improvised shopping lists and unheeded warnings about drinking on an empty stomach, wives the world over were celebrating today as Nokia unveiled the first male-mounted answering-machine. The device, inserted in the pre-frontal lobe during a routine surgical procedure, records important messages missed during lapses in concentration, as well as verbatim accounts of all the man’s conversations during the last six months, allowing him to search back through forgotten exchanges for vital details like the names of his children and whether it is the Jews or the Muslims he must never mention in front of his father-in-law.
‘He was fine until we got married,’ said Phillipa Hemmings, whose husband Neville was the first to be fitted with the ‘Forget-Me-Not’ technology, ‘but then things went downhill quickly. Sure, we all had a good laugh the first couple of times he accidentally ended up in the pub after going to get a newspaper and some milk, but when I kept finding him cowering in the shed each time I sent him to pick up my friend Sheena, I knew something had to be done. He’s only 36.’
Nokia’s revolutionary answering-machine automatically kicks in when a husband’s eyes glaze over and his attention begins to waver, informing his interlocutor that ‘there’s no one in at the moment, so please leave a message and I’ll get back to you’. Among it’s ingenious features is an auto-summarise function – particularly useful for processing the vast quantity of data elicited by routine inquiries such as, ‘So how was your day, dear?’ and GPS which allows the husband’s owner to track his every movement when he’s supposed to be out getting the car serviced. The latter can also be used to help guide the husband to difficult-to-reach destinations, like the salad section at Sainsbury’s or his wife’s clitoris.
Satisfied wives buying the ‘Forget-Me-Not’ have so far reported significantly fewer incidents of errand failure and social catastrophe by their husbands, dramatically increasing their quality of life. ‘People forget how difficult it is for the carers,’ said Phillipa. ‘After a while you can begin to doubt yourself, you know? I started thinking maybe it’s the quality of my nagging, perhaps the tone of voice isn’t quite right or I’m skirting over the details too quickly. But the ‘Forget-Me-Not’ has proved once and for all that it’s not me, it’s him.’
Although most customers have been delighted with their purchase, a few have already detected flaws in the product. Despite numerous reminders, several husbands have failed to turn up to have the device fitted claiming that the appointment was news to them, while another wasted most of his afternoon recording funny greetings after forgetting to play back his messages and attend a marriage guidance meeting with Relate.