I am now on my third smartphone, which might be my limit. I’m not having all that much luck here. Maybe I’m just not smart enough.
The first one just up and died one day. One minute it was an up-to-date electronic device; the next, it was a paperweight.
I then did something I almost never do. I called the phone people for help.
Ever since we entered the computer age, I have been loath to call the various help desks that exist for everything electronic. I guess it’s my personal version of the guy thing about not stopping and asking for directions. Which, come to think of it, I also don’t do.
Anyway, I’ve always preferred to try to fix problems myself rather than ask for help. Take computers. There’s something about the challenge of getting these infernal machines to cooperate that really hits me where I live. Yes, many is the time I have been up all night, burning the midnight oil and working like a madman to bring a balky computer back to life. And many is the time I have greeted the dawn by going to the store and buying a new computer.
Anyway, my old phone gave up the ghost, and I called the help desk to describe what happened. Here, in a nutshell, is how the help desk (helpfully) responded:
“Yeah, they’ll do that sometimes.”
Not exactly the answer I was looking for.
Lucky for me the phone was under warranty. Even luckier, the phone turning into a paperweight happened to be covered. And so a new phone was soon winging its way to me. I was so happy I even spent a little extra money to upgrade to the next model.
This turned out to be kind of foolish on my part, for two reasons:
My new phone could do all kinds of things, from surfing the Internet to making full-length movies (with soundtracks and special effects). Which of these things did I use it for? None. I used it to make calls, receive calls and, very occasionally, to send text messages. It was like using a cathedral organ to play “Chopsticks.”
I had forgotten Mike’s technology rule, which means the more expensive something is, and the more things it can do, the more likely it is to meet a painful and early demise, which my new phone did when it jumped out of my shirt pocket and landed on the concrete floor at a produce auction. I think it was an accident, but I’m not ruling out the possibility that it was so bored from being underutilized that it decided to end it all.
Which brings me to smartphone No. 3, now residing in the same pocket but clad in a case guaranteed to be bullet-, shock- and auction floor-proof. And it has even more functions than its predecessor, all of which seem designed to (a) reduce battery life and (b) confuse me.
What I really need is a plain jane phone that does a few simple things. But ego says, “No, a guy has to get the latest and newest and most complicated phone on the market. Proof yet again that you can change and adapt to new technology, old man.”
So yes, the new phone is a smartphone. No. 3. And it’s overkill.
What’s needed here is a smart phone owner.
Mike Redmond is an author, journalist, humorist and speaker. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.