Sunday, September 30, 2012

Please Be Smarter Than Your Phone

Howdy, Phone Fiends!

I have a phone but it isn't particularly smart.  In fact, if my phone went to school it would probably ride the short bus.  Please, don't repeat that.  My phone is very sensitive.  

There was a time when I was completely against getting a smart phone.  Then again, there was also a time not so long ago when I was completely opposed to acquiring my current cute-but-not-too-bright phone.  I kinda dug the idea of going off the grid so that people had no idea where I was or how to get ahold of me.

Yeah, that turned out to be practical.

Eventually I abandoned my Luddite ways and got a cell phone.  Within a few short days of this overdue acquisition I began thinking to myself: "Man, how did I ever live without this thing?"   It was just so friggin' handy, even for simple stuff like coordinating dinner plans on the fly, locating my wife in a crowded mall or determining if my bus vanished into the Bermuda Triangle.

My smart phone resistance seems to ebb and flow based on how many people I see zombified by these siren devices.  Words can't describe how monumentally sad I feel when I see four or five young people sitting around together at a pub, ignoring each other in lieu of practicing solo pollexian cardio.  I'm also alarmed by how many people text while driving or charge head-long down the street like the Rhino in a Spider-Man comic, oblivious to mailboxes, light poles or fellow pedestrians.  In the immortal words of Don Cherry: "Keep yer head up, kid!"  The next self-absorbed douchebag that nearly runs into me is gonna get hip-checked into traffic. 

I was on a sparsely-populated bus heading up into Bayers Lake recently when I suddenly noticed that every single one of my fellow public transportationists was completely and totally engrossed by their hand-held bliss devices.   Seeking solace, I quickly directed my attention out the window but discovered to my horror that the occupant of every car passenger seat was similarly transfixed.  It was like something out of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, fer Crissakes!  

In spite of these harrowing experiences, my infinitely-more-forward-thinking-half brought home an iPhone 4 ("Not even a 4S?!?!?  Ewwwwww!") about a month ago.  After giving her a hard time for about a week, something miraculous and completely unexpected started to happen.  Not only did I begin to tolerate this sexy, little, rectangular interloper, I actually found myself starting to relying on its bottomless fount of wisdom.

Remember those heady, pre-Internet days when you'd get into knock-down, drag out fights over whether or not Dick Yorke or Dick Sargeant was the original Darrin Stephens in Bewitched?  Now with the power of mobile interwebs, you can settle passionate disputes like this without murdering your best friend/spouse/family member in a fit of rage and then burying their body in a shallow grave somewhere in the woods.  Um, maybe you should ignore that last part...

I've since had plenty of opportunities to see these miraculous little gizmos in action.  For example:
  1. While camping this summer we used The Night Sky to survey the stars over head.  I'm sorry, but that's just plain awesome.
  2. We've used SoundHound to identify intriguing new tunes on our favorite radio station, Live 105.        
  3. Last week we went to the wrong place to pick up a digital photo.  Needless to say, the ability to pop into Bookface and find the right spot without shleppin' all the way home was incredibly handy.  
  4. A friend's GPS ap allowed us to quickly and efficiently locate The Wheel while passing through Antigonish recently.  Yay for yummy, expedited pizza!  
  5. Waiting in endless line-ups is a breeze now thanks to the time-altering power of Scribblenauts Remix.  
Not to mention the fact that I'm already predisposed to MP3 players and eReaders.  So, whenever I notice that my fellow human beings are overly preoccupied by their portable devices, I like to think that it has nothing to do with swapping text messages about Big Brother or sharing links to "Stupid Hoe" by Niki Minaj.

Instead, I assume that everyone is spaced out and bumping into fire hydrants because they're all reading George Orwell's 1984 while listening to the Ramones and researching the theories of Ray Kurzweil. 

Translation: just like everything else, smart phones can either help us fulfill the true meaning of life by making us all smarter.

Or, if we let it, they'll completely lobotomize us.

EPIC   To make sure that no-one acts like a dick when you go out to dinner with friends I highly recommend that you employ the awesome power of the "Phone Stack".

EPIC PRANK #1   Actually, I'm pretty sure that zombies are slightly more observational...

EPIC PRANK #2  "Brains...BRAINS!!!"

FAIL  Zombification isn't the only threat to our collective souls when it comes to these gadgets.


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