Wednesday, September 13, 2017

When smart phones go bad

I can remember the day I brought home my first cell phone. I cradled the 9-pounder as if its life depended on it. I would have wrapped it in swaddling clothes, but it seemed perfectly happy in its faux-leather carrying bag, nestling adorably against its recharger and multi-language instruction manual.

Wanting to be the best cell phone "daddy" that ever graced the planet, I made sure its antennae was always fully extended, I gave it a full charge whenever it cried out for one, I wiped from its face any accumulated grime or fingerprints, and at bedtime, I laid it gingerly back in its bag and always told it goodnight. Looking down upon its sweet little smile changed my life, and I couldn't imagine how I had gotten along without it.

Time passed quickly, and before I knew it the little guy had changed into an adorably precocious little youngster. It still had its cowlick of an antennae, but it could run faster with more ease, its vocabulary  increased, it dabbled in photography, and it passed along messages as if it were born to it. I was so proud of it, even if it would never excel at playing T-ball, for throughout the ages, mankind has thrilled at the spectacle of sport, but has judged its own humanity by its art and intelligence.

Intelligence. Being clever. Smartness. These are the attributes we as a society honor, or should, more than any other. We pity the stupid man, the ignorant woman, the child who barely can write his own name. Somewhere along their paths, they took the wrong exits, were told that intelligence was overrated, that it was never good to be "too smart."

But not MY phone.

In the blink of an eye, my little cell buddy matured, lost its antennae, forgot all about its childish "flip open, flip closed" games we used to play, and transformed into the smart little thing we always wanted it to become. I was proud to admit that its intelligence far outshone my own. But unfortunately, it was smart enough to know it, became too smart for its britches, and, I'm embarrassed to reveal... turned smart aleck.

Soon we were arguing over the correct routes to take to dinner parties and baseball games. It couldn't focus on the photographs I so wanted to make. It dropped calls, failed to inform me of messages received, chimed out at inappropriate times as if to embarrass me for not giving it enough attention.

And then came the worst part.

In its most vindictive manner, right when I needed it most, it would shut down on me, blank out, screen off, as if it had reached its last charge when I knew full well its battery life had plenty more hours to run and chase the neighbor's goats.

Oh, the fights we had. The words that were spoken.

"Why are you doing this? Is it on purpose?"

"I hate you."

"And after all I've done for you."

"I'm shutting down."

"Oh, no you're not mister."

"Leave me alone."

And then the truth came out. It's little battery WAS bad. It never WAS on purpose. It was congenital, a defect, and nobody ever told me until it was too late.

Much too late.

I buried my little buddy just the other day in the backyard. I was so ashamed. How could I have been so cruel? How could I've not known? And how could I ever bring home another, knowing I'm not the kind of man I wanted to be?

But, as some old cowboy was fond of saying, "When you're bucked off one horse, the best thing to do is get on another."

And holy cow! This new little buddy of mine has more gigabyte space than all the Apollo rockets that were ever sent off into space.

Shoot, I can't wait for it to teach me how to play Parcheesi.

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