I can remember, as a kid, watching futuristic television programs and movies where the characters would communicate with each other via tiny video screens attached to their wrists like watches. We have come a step closer to that phenomenon with the camera phone.

I won't pretend to understand how this device works. I just know that through the magic of modern technology you can snap a photo of something with your cell phone and then send that picture to another camera phone user or post the pictures on the world wide web.

We recently got one of these phones and my daughter thinks that it's great. She's been running around the house snapping pictures of everything. I don't think she's sending them to anyone, but I'm not sure. One other thing that I'm not sure of is the cost of using this apparatus.

In fact, my two fears are that, one, when the cell phone bill arrives I'm going to have to pick it up with both hands and two, a grainy photo of me in the shower is going to show up on somebody's Web site. I thought I heard someone giggling when I was shampooing my hair last night.

I admit that when the camera phone first came out, I thought it was a ridiculous idea. Although, I'm not sure why I thought that. I suppose it was because my tiny brain couldn't see the usefulness of such a device.

Upon some reflection, however, I suppose the camera phone could prove useful in certain situations. For example, for the husband who is sent on the midnight errand to secure a personal item for his wife and forgets what brand to buy. Buying something like that one time is embarrassing enough as it is, but to have to return it and go through that humiliation again would be unthinkable.

With the camera phone, a picture of the unmentionable can be taken and sent home for confirmation. Of course, you may get some strange looks from others as you photograph those items on the shelf. But that would be better than the scene at the checkout.

Not only are the phones convenient, they can be life changing. Imagine this camera phone conversation between two friends.

First man: "Say, what kind of meeting is your wife attending at that motel at the edge of town?"

Second man: "What are you talking about?"

First man: "I'm pretty sure that was your wife's car parked next to a delivery truck outside of room 106. In fact, I've got a picture of it right here. I'll send it to you."

Think of the time it would save. The second man could then forward the picture to his divorce lawyer who could immediately begin drawing up the documents. He could then send the picture to his wife, along with a text message informing her that she can just stay in room 106, because that's where she now lives.

Thanks to the camera phone, this man can become a bachelor by the end of the day.

See what I mean - instant gratification.

Tom Mark is sports editor of The Tifton Gazette.

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