I remember when my mom got her first cell phone. It was a large brick of a cell phone that was able to do two things: Call people and play a game where you controlled a worm. What a technological marvel it was. It was like a phone you would have in your house, but you could take it to the store with you.
That was years and years ago, a much simpler time before tweeting and facebooking and the Youtube.
Now phones are not so simple. Phones have become everyone’s entertainment, news source, and camera. In fact, I don’t know if anyone ever actually makes phone calls anymore. We are able to make various fart noises with them, though, so that is something.
About a year and a half ago I chose my first smart phone. At the time, the choices were an iPhone or a not-an-iPhone. I chose the not-an-iPhone and was happy playing with the touchscreen. It made me feel very cool for a while, and for me, opportunities to feel cool are hard to come by.
Then one evening about a week ago, I saw I had a text message. I went to go read the text message because that is what you are supposed to do with them. It would be stupid to just ignore them. I clicked on the screen and…
My phone was working; it was able to receive calls, only the screen had stopped working. The touchscreen had become just a screen, making it impossible to call or text people. Like anyone who experiences the death of a close friend or family member (I like to think that I was like a brother to my phone), I began to feel the five steps of grief:
Denial: Being antisocial as I am, I thought about this as a possible blessing. Then I remembered I needed to use my phone to order pizza, effectively ending my stage of denial.
Anger: “Why does my phone have to stop working?! I just want to check Facebook for the 75th time today! ARGH!”
Bargaining: “Okay phone. I’ll let you take a break. I won’t do another Sudoku puzzle on you if you’ll just work. I’ll definitely never leave you in a hot car again…”
Depression: I typically would say “I think I’ll just call… Oh… yeah…,” then slip into a fetal position for the rest of the day, quietly weeping.
Finally after these four stages, I reached the final step: acceptance. I needed to buy a new phone.
It seems that in the year and a half that I had not purchased a phone, there had been a large amount of new technology. Advertisements showcased phones with 3000 megapixel cameras and 40 Gigawhatzitz processors with an expandable memory and blah blah blah blah blah.
I quickly learned that my computer had become out of date since the phones I started looking at had the same processor speed as it. These phones are basically able to do anything from playing Angry Birds to building a life size replica of Eddie Murphy from the movie Coming to America. There are some that are able to turn into a fully functioning automobile at the push of a button. I’ve even heard legend of a phone that knows the answer to all of life’s greatest mysteries, but it doesn’t have a touchscreen so no one really cares about it.
I wandered about the Verizon store staring at various phones and avoiding my natural inclination to say, “That one is really shiny. I like that.” A salesman walked over and began his spiel and I politely smiled and nodded and occasionally repeated what he said just to appear to know what we were talking about: “Oh. Voice recognition software. That would be really nice.”
Unsatisfied with my trip to the store, I spent the next four days on the internet trying to piece together some sort of phone knowledge that would tell me how well a certain phone would work. It was even less help than the store, with one website saying, “This phone is great,” and the next website saying, “Alexander Graham Bell would shoot himself in the face if he saw his invention had led to this abomination.” I had no idea which review to believe. I definitely did not want a phone that would make a person shoot themselves in the face, but some other guy loved it and had no violent tendencies towards his face after using it.
This is about the time that I decided, albeit very briefly, to move into the woods and live with wolves. Wolves don’t need phones and never have to call or text anyone. They also don’t cook their meat before they eat it, though, so that is a major downside. Plus, I think I would have a hard time making friends with wolves. They never seem very open to newcomers when I watch Animal Planet.
After my hours of research, I had become some sort of a phone expert. I knew which phone was the fastest, which had the longest battery life, which had the best reception.
In the end, none of this really mattered, though. I just chose the cheap, shiny one. I know I’ll be very happy with it.
After all, isn’t the sheen of a phone more important than its features?