I have no formal qualifications; I have a Master Degree in Clothing Design from some unremembered polytechnic down south. My mother and many others often told me that I have a way with people so I ended up being a councillor for troubled people rather than a clothier which I was trained to be. So much for the educational establishment! Good job and plenty of money for sitting in a chair and asking "what do you think the problem is", whilst I send endless text messages to my friends.

I have until recently been mostly involved with those who have some sort of sexual identity problem, not because I have any special expertise in the matter (I am assured of my own position in life) but because I am never short of patients. So many people in the world suffer problems over who' they are that by simply putting up a sign outside my doors that says "Sex Councillor" I have queues awaiting my attention day after day after day. But constantly asking the same question of "and do you prefer boys or girls" to crying teenagers has worn me down and led me to consider a serious change in my career path.

This change actually plonked itself unceremoniously on my doorstep one fine morning under the guise of a Sunday Newspaper. An article about Mobile Phone Disorder (MPD) sprung out at me and immediately got my brain free of the typical morning fog that usually surrounds it. MPD is supposedly the new addiction of the 21st century. Teenagers and adults alike are becoming addicted to using mobile phones and the art of sending text messages. In fact the article suggested that many users are resorting to theft to finance their high telephone bills, that families cannot communicate unless they send text messages to each other and that many children are becoming serious recluses, unable to deal with life and who have totally shrunk inside of themselves.

I took that article aside. I got out my mobile phone and sent a few texts around the world to some unseen text friends and they all confirmed this latest addiction. I 'text'd well into the night till I was too tired to move my thumb anymore and I just dropped off into a deep sleep at the kitchen table with my mobile phone continuing to beep the rest of the night away.

The next morning after having dealt with a load of delayed messages on my phone, I visited the local sign-maker and got him to change my plaque that had pride of place outside my front door. By lunchtime my new sign was ready and fitted and it read "Mobile Phone Disorders Treated Here". My new career was well on the way. The rest of the afternoon I spent behind locked doors, whilst I sent endless messages to my previous patients in the old sex category stating that I was no longer in business (unless they also suffered from MPD). At nine O'clock the next morning I was busy with my first customer - a fully fledged victim of the latest addiction to afflict our planet.

I knew from that first instance when the young man entered my room, his stuttering and the endless beeps from his pocket, that my new career path was going to be a success. I first of all suggested that he could use his phone during the session (cannot make any addict go cold turkey) and I had him sit in the comfortable position. I started by asking if he had any hobbies but before he could answer me his phone beeped and a desperate pleading look entered his eyes, I knew then that he would be unable to concentrate or to care about my questions unless he had read and answered his latest missive. So I suggested that he continue and to pass the time I checked my own mobile for any messages or calls and I replied to them as necessary.

Anyway, time passed and before I knew it my first customer's time was up and he departed. He seemed happier as he left, less unsure and although still tapping away on his phone I felt that I had done some good in the world. The next few visitors followed a similar routine and the money was flowing into my cash box. A few times I had to resort to sending text messages to my otherwise non-interested visitors just to get their attention. This was usually to tell them that their time was up otherwise I would never have got rid of them.

On the following Monday a very strange thing happened; only a week after my new career had taken off the ground. My new patient, a 15yr old girl, was lying comfortably on my couch and having had our preliminary introductory piece and the 'get comfortable small talk', both of us had got down to answering our beeping mobiles.

I had a message from a long time text pal that read after text translation to, "I'm 'gonna' see a psychiatrist". I immediately sent one back to her asking "what for". Eventually, after receiving a few messages from some other unknown text-friends I received an unexpected reply, "for MPD", she said but continued with "its okay the councillor is very nice and just lets me text when I am in her room".

I looked up in desperation feeling that my whole world was falling apart, but the girl on my couch was too engrossed with her thumb movements to take any notice of the visibly distressed councillor. I was not sure but I had to find out so I sent her another message asking her what her councillors name was and

That Saturday I checked myself into a specialized clinic that suggested that within three months I could be up and running again and no longer reliant on my phone for conversation. I am not sure if I can trust them.

Author's Bio: 

Ieuan Dolby is the Author and Webmaster of SeaDolby.com. As a Chief Engineer in the Merchant Navy he has sailed the world for twenty years on a variety of rust buckets and state of the art vessels. Now living in Taiwan with his wife and son he writes about cultures across the globe and life as he sees it; a seafarers escapades with a few tall tales thrown in!