Eric and the Smarty-Pants Phone*
Note: I am reposting this to fourwords.net on May 10, 2016 after some quick editing for grammar. The original posting was October 12, 2011 and can be found here if that interests you for any reason.
I love my iPhone, everything about it just works, and it works easily. It is absolutely the awesomest thing I own. Maybe I love it a little too much. It’s just a phone, right? Is it? Or is it a pocket computer/ video game system/television/internet browser/camera/library/everything I’ve been obsessed with since the first time I picked up a TI64 controller (I don’t know, I think it was an off brand Commodore) to the first time I pulled up Google, and it dared me to ask it anything. It has everything that I've ever wanted to do in or with my life a finger swipe away. It is the sum total of all human knowledge in your pocket. I don’t ever have to not know anything (with the exception of the great mysteries of the universe) ever again. That being said, the iPhone has simultaneously made my life easier and ruined it at the same time.
I am so distracted by that thing that I have trouble focusing on anything else. I feel it in my pocket calling me like “my precious”. At work, it’s in my hands, I’ll put it down, work and without even realizing it it’s back in my hands, and I don’t know how it got there. Watching television at home I’ll pick it up every 2 minutes to check Facebook or play Words with friends (I think I’ve finally kicked my Farmville habit). At church, when I’m supposed to be listening I’ll be checking my favorite technology sites to see if there are more cool things to look forward in the next version of my obsession. I’ll use the excuse that my bible is on the phone so I need to have it out to check the verses. Now it’s time for the hard questions.
Does this qualify as an idol in my life? Probably, right? Definitely? So, let’s say that it does for sure. What should I do about it? Should I get rid of it? Should I abandon all technology because everything I learn about the awesome things that science has discovered and made for us makes me tingly all over? Is there a way to step back without being as extreme as severing the connection? I don’t have my phone this week, because I shipped it back to apple to get credit towards the new iPhone that’s coming out on Friday. I feel like I have phantom limb syndrome. I feel a vibration in my pocket, and I keep checking to see if I have a missed phone call or text, and nothing is there. There’s no vibration I’m just a psychopath. For the first time I feel sorry for Gollum. Maybe if they had just given him an iPhone he would have forgotten about that stupid ring.
*My boss calls it a smarty-pants phone because he resents technology for some reason.
P.S. My wife has gotten no more than 2-3 hours of sleep at one time in about 2 ¾ months, but she still wakes up every morning to make me breakfast and lunch. It’s been a really hard few months for her and she might be on the edge of insanity. I want her to know that I appreciate her sacrifice for our son and that everything will be better sooner than later. I love you Charlotte and it’s going to be okay.