Monday, September 9, 2013

Week of 09/09/2013

Hang Up And… Oh Just Hang Up!
– by David Matthews 2

I finally figured out why they call them “smartphones”.

Because they’re designed for really dumb people.

As way of disclaimer, let me say that I don’t have a “smartphone”.  At best I have a “scam”-phone.  It has basic functions… namely it does calls, text messages, videos, pictures, it can store music (if I spend money for an extra microSD card), handles Bluetooth devices, has a flip-out QWERTY keypad, and it’s supposedly capable of doing apps.  But all of the apps I’ve found I either have to purchase or they’re “free” for a limited time and then I’m charged if I continue to use them.  Plus all of those apps require me to go online, and if I can’t afford to pay for a data package with my phone, then I’m paying extra on top of that.  My phone bill is expensive as is.

Needless to say, I don’t have the phone that allows me to do all of those neat goodies everyone talks about.  And maybe that’s a good thing, because I’ve seen what happens to the people that use them.

We seem to think that we can use these phones along with doing all of the other things in our lives and that somehow we won’t miss a beat.  Yes, I know that some people call that “multi-tasking”.  I call it “multi-retardation”, because you’re consciously making yourself stupid at more than one task.

Like the person that decides to take a quick snapshot of their feet while lounging by the beach.  Really, are you that lazy that you can’t even bother to pick yourself up from lying down to take a decent picture?  Why should we have to stare at your feet anyway?  That may be your fetish, but that doesn’t mean it should be all of ours too.  Seriously, we don’t need to see Anthony Weiner’s wiener, and we don’t need to see your feet!

How about being convinced that we “have” to buy the latest-greatest phone on the market?  Why?  What’s wrong with your current phone other than it’s not “the latest”?  It’s one thing to be getting a new phone if your current one is a piece of crap or it is so old that it looks like a walkie-talkie.  But why get the new one “just because”?  If they’re not giving the phones away, then you’re throwing anywhere up to two hundred dollars down the drain every six months “just because”!  Now that is stupid!

Not only that, but the wireless providers have found a way to profit off that stupidity, offering “new phone” deals that have you pay extra money just so you can have that “latest-greatest”.

We all know that talking on the phone while driving is bad, but we still do it.  We also text while driving, which is much worse.  Have you ever tried to type with a QWERTY keypad?  It’s not easy!  You need both hands to hold the phone and type, so how are you able to drive a car at the same time?  You need at least a third hand and the human body only has two at most!  And that’s not considering the brainpower needed to keep vigilant on all of the vehicles and objects around you, maintaining the proper speed, maintaining your lane, watching out for that truck that… oops, here comes a text message, it’s your best friend sending you a picture of the lunch she should have simply eaten instead of trying to post on Twitter like it’s… Oh cr----

Yes, it can happen that fast and that easy.  We know this, we’ve seen it on the news too many times, we’ve read about it in the newspapers, and yet we are fatalistically stupid enough to continue to do it!  And we justify it by claiming that we’re “too busy” to give our full attention to something as critical as driving.

But, you know, we’re stupid.  That’s why some of us need a “smart” phone.

The problem is that it’s just not “smart” enough to handle our stupidity.

Let’s get brutally honest here… some of us need more than just “smart” phones.  We need super-intelligent phones.  We need “super-smart-phones” that are not just smarter than us, but they need to pretty much do our thinking for us because we clearly cannot think at all when we use them.

We need a “super-smart” phone that knows when to shut itself down when we’re at the movies so we aren’t pissing off the people around us with dumb Tweets from our friends, or our annoying ringtones that seemed “so cool” at one time.  We need a “super-smart” phone that tells us that food is meant to be eaten, not photographed and posted by people that pretend to be “critics”.

We need a “super-smart” phone that knows when we’re driving so it can leave a message for the people that call us.  Something along the lines of “The person you are trying to reach is engaged in a far more important task than to accept a phone call.  Please leave your name and number and they will call you back when they arrive at their destination.”  And it would also have to be smart enough to not let us call out or make text messages while we’re behind the wheel and the car is in motion.  Hey, if your phone is smart enough to get live traffic reports and track your location through GPS, then it should be smart enough to know when you shouldn’t be using it.

We need a “super-smart” phone that says “Hey lady, stop trying to listen to your messages and pay attention to the people around you in the grocery store!  You and your three tax credits you call children are blocking up the isle and people behind you are getting pissed!”

We need a “super-smart” phone that reminds people when their conversations become too loud.  Or when their use of an app is just too annoying.  Or when they need to stop playing Fruit Ninja or Candy Crush or Angry Birds and focus on what’s going on around them.

We need a “super-smart” phone that can tell us that we don’t need to throw two hundred dollars away every six months just because the “latest greatest” model is available.  At the very least it should have an app that knows when you’re waiting in line at the Apple store like sheep so it can play a repetitive jingle “Yes I’m an idiot, and it shows!  Yes I’m an idiot, and it shows!”

Or… we could save ourselves some needless stress, drama, and risks (not to mention some much-needed money) by growing a brain and actually using that brain to turn our supposed “smart” phones off.

Because there is no app in the world that can actually replace the human brain.

Even though some of us desperately need one.

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