Honestly, I didn’t want to do it. I resisted for as long as I could, but I finally succumbed to the temptation and joined my friends: I am now the proud, happy, and borderline obsessive owner of a new SuperCellPhone.
My cell phone addiction started slowly; I avoided the ranks of the electronically connected for most of my adult life and was blissfully free of the ringing, vibrating, squawking contraptions. But eventually, reality intruded on my Luddite existence: the need to keep in contact with multiple editors and music directors forced me to buy a rudimentary cell phone I vowed to use only in moderation.
That vow lasted all of three weeks, for I discovered the joys of talking to and texting anyone, anywhere, and at any time. (Look around: I’m not unique. I daresay if Michelangelo were painting the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling today, the hand of God stretched out towards Adam would be holding a cell phone.) I desired more advanced cell phone models, precariously bending Commandment #10 as I salivated over my friends’ rectangular electronic companions with screens responsive to their gentlest touch. My son Jeremy recognized this weakness, and with my milestone birthday looming, offered me the gift of the top-of-the-line SuperCellPhone, the unholy Grail of communication devices. I eagerly assented, and soon was the happy owner of this communications drug, I mean, tool.
SuperCellPhone ownership had responsibilities. In order that it operate at maximum efficiency, I had to buy the SuperCellPhone a few little gifts: an extended battery, an earpiece, a charger, a screen protector… before long, the phone had more accessories than Malibu Barbie and her Dreamhouse. But external accoutrements were just the beginning. The SuperCellPhone maintains its own little store where owners can buy applications, and I went on a shopping spree. I rapidly loaded newspaper links, weather forecasts, first aid tips, and songs onto my new electronic friend, and even selected a game in which a slingshot catapulted little birds at tiny pigs in an animated version of David and Goliath. (Please note: no animals were harmed in the writing of this blog.) I assigned unique ringtones to my friends’ telephone numbers and programmed the SuperCellPhone to make different tweets, gurgles, and snorts for texts, emails, and incoming phone calls, causing it to sound like a robot with terminal indigestion.
The SuperCellPhone and I became inseparable. I carried it everywhere in order not to miss a call or breaking news item. I once texted my son, sitting two rooms away, for a glass of water just to hear the ping of the delivered message. I checked email in the middle of the night with one eye opened and sleep-typed responses. I could quote lottery numbers, the temperature in Paris, and the capital of Kansas at a moment’s notice. In a few short weeks, that little electronic device had come to rule my life. I knew I had hit rock bottom when, in a shameful display of narcissism, I used my SuperCellPhone to email itself just to hear two distinct ringtones simultaneously.
“I need this phone, Lord, but I need to learn a bit of moderation,” I prayed. Scrolling down the main screen, I decided to open one of my newer apps: the Bible Quote of the Day. There was my answer; the day’s passage read: “Be Still, and Know That I am Your God.” (Psalm 46:10). Since there’s no 12-step program for compulsive SuperCellPhone users, it looks as if I’ll have to wean myself off the 24-hour, always connected mode using just one step…. pressing the off button.