Joe Bob's America

Stop Fiddling With Your Goddamn Phone

May 17, 2017

Multiple Pages
Stop Fiddling With Your Goddamn Phone

NEW YORK—Stop fiddling with your phone.

This is my theme today.

I want you to consider some cause-and-effect scenarios.

Maybe the reason you got jostled from behind three times today on Eighth Avenue is that you were stopping, starting again, standing still, then jerking around in the middle of the sidewalk while fiddling with your phone.

A second example. Perhaps there’s a connection between the dazed, vacant look on your face when the subway conductor asks you for the fourth time to remove your backpack and the fact that, instead of observing the pregnant woman trying to reach for the same pole you’re clinging to, you are, in fact, fiddling with your phone.

But let’s continue. I think, in addition, that there might be some correlation between the fact that you failed to acquire my business card during the conference in Midtown, causing you to frantically search for me on LinkedIn later, and the fact that during the actual presentation you were mostly…yes…fiddling with your smartphone.

And why is it called a smartphone? It’s not smart, it’s a computer. It’s dumb. It requires a smart person to operate it. It’s probably called a smartphone to disguise the fact that it’s likely to be operated by a dummy, thereby making it more marketable to consumers in need of remedial IQ points.

The next time you go to the chiropractor, ask him why your spine has recently taken on the shape of a Neanderthal with scoliosis. He might tell you that it’s because you spend 14 hours a day with your neck bent down at a 57-degree angle so that you can fiddle with your phone.

Now, I want you to consider some recently gathered facts about Steve Jobs.

“You use Snapchat, don’t you? And yet you want me to take you seriously.”

When Steve Jobs arrived at the gates of heaven, Gabriel was not there to greet him, there were no trumpets, and the gates remained closed all day, because the archangels were fiddling with their phones.

When Apple told you that Amber Alerts are needed on every phone in America, they were being ridiculously self-righteous in order to impress Congress so that they could continue to manufacture phones in Guangdong Province sweatshops. Therefore, when your phone starts squawking like an air-raid siren, frightening the ducks in Central Park, causing you to dump your Italian ice on your date, the result will not be the rescue of Amber from a pedophile. Since you have chosen to let your phone run your life, you are now at the mercy of a junior-grade police lieutenant in Allentown, Pennsylvania, searching for a beige Chevy Camaro driven by a suspect named Cletis. You are not going to see that Chevy Camaro. You are not going to recognize Cletis. You are being fiddled with because you spend too much time fiddling with your phone.

Many years ago, Oprah told you to stop fiddling with your phone while driving. Did you listen? Today there are eight deaths and 1,161 injuries per day caused by motorists fiddling with their phones.

When Hurricane Sandy struck New York, were you concerned about your possible death or that you might not have access to food and water? No, you were not. You were frantically banging on the door of the Catholic church to find out whether their electrical outlets still worked so that you could recharge and fiddle with your goddamn phone.

You’re one of those people who compose long emails on your phone, aren’t you? You’re trying to reestablish contact with your spelunking guide on the Svalbard archipelago and, when you finally meet up later, you say, “You didn’t get my email?”

No, he didn’t get your email, he was clinging to the wall of a crevasse.

Have you ever wondered why there’s a silhouette of an iPhone on your stomach? It’s because, instead of tanning at the beach like a normal person, you have been fiddling with your sand-encrusted phone.

Airplane mode was invented so that you could fiddle with your phone while flying, but that wasn’t good enough for you. You never even turn on airplane mode. You’re texting your Latvian lover, aren’t you? I know you are. When they finally recover the debris from Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, they will find, clutched in a death grip, a phone that was trying to ping the tower on Diego Garcia.

You use Snapchat, don’t you? And yet you want me to take you seriously.

On the one hand you’re ready at a moment’s notice to shoot video of the racist cop blowing away a 14-year-old unarmed black boy and then planting a throwdown gun. On the other hand you’re ready to send me a selfie of yourself with a dog nose.

You always keep that video app ready in case your math professor says something gross about women, so you can get him fired later. You make sure the record button is active and one-eighth of an inch from your thumb anytime you board a United Airlines flight because, after all, if it wasn’t for social media, there would be no order in the world.

Sometimes you fiddle with your phone while fiddling with yourself. Anthony Weiner didn’t invent it, he just perfected it. This is not only gross, it’s potential jail time. I hope you’re entertaining an FBI agent, I really do.

The last time I went into T-Mobile, I was told the phone I wanted cost 850 bucks. So I said, “You just spent five minutes describing how cool the camera is on this phone. Give me a phone with no camera and take off 200 bucks.”

“There is no phone with no camera.”

This was the actual reply.

“You don’t want a camera?”

No, I don’t want a camera. And you know why? Because I don’t want anybody saying, “Take a picture of yourself.” I’m tired of taking pictures of myself. That would require me to excessively fiddle with my phone.

Eastman Kodak doesn’t make phones. Apple and Samsung shouldn’t make cameras.

The next time I see you standing in the middle of the street, fiddling with your phone, I’m gonna yell, “That cop just shot that black boy while Lady Gaga was going into the corner deli with Anthony Weiner! Tweet it! Tweet it now!”

I’ll do it. Don’t test me. Rome is burning.

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