Dr. Cellular or : How I Learned to Stop Socializing and Love the Internets
I hope someone got the reference in the title, anyway…
This isn’t going to be the first time this has been said and it will be far from the last: CELL PHONES ARE MAKING US USELESS AS PEOPLE. We’re all guilty…shamelessly, hopelessly guilty. We’re glued to our phones like our lives depend on them, when (guess what) they don’t. We walk around in a daze, cant hold a conversation without a phantom vibration that pulls us away, and God forbid I don’t show everyone this salad I’m about to stuff my face with. The list of con’s is just as long, if not longer, than the pro’s, and every day people get more and more wrapped up in them. A new app that does the same thing as 3 others on your phone, but slightly differently. A new game where you have to match shit together and harass your friends for extra lives because you cant wait ten minutes. Hell, I’ve been writing for ten minutes and checked my pone three goddamn times; I’m no angel either. It’s crazy to think about how such a valuable tool is used, more often than not, for mindless bullshit, bragging, and frivolous updating. So since everyone knows the benefits of having a cellular device of some kind and constantly being wired into the world, lets go over the negatives that, although just as obvious, are often overlooked; probably because you got some sort of notification that pulled you away from the epiphany you were about to have. Allow me to guide you on your path to enlightenment. I wont point out the irony if you’re reading this on your phone. Well anymore than I just did…
PHONES RUINED MOVIES
Not just the movie viewing experience, but the art of films in general. But lets just start with the obvious.
If you use your phone for anything once the lights dim in a movie theater you are a piece of shit. That is me putting it nicely. Very nicely. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t be talking to the people around you in a movie, so why the hell does it make it OK to talk to people who aren’t even in the same room as you. I’ve seen, almost every time I go to escape reality for a few hours and catch a flick, some stupid ass either talking, texting, or recording the movie. So instead of escaping reality I just get reminded that everyone is an asshole, and they surround me always. It baffles me every single time the balls it takes to answer a call during a show; or not really balls but lack of respect for those around you and even the for the sad sack that does it. How does the person on the phone lack self respect you ask? Well, unless you have a desire for strangers to think of ways to punch your phone through your head and stare you down like demon spawn when the lights come back up, there really is no benefit to answering.
Then there’s texting/Facebooking/whateverthefucking. Your super huge, almost a laptop, HD phone screen coming on in the movie theater is the equivalent of your mother ripping the blinds open whilst you slumber at noon because you have to mow the lawn, even though you were out late and its hot and your hungover and…see, it even brings back bad memories. Your texting is bullshit, why do you need to text during a movie? I’m sure the whole movie experience, from having the idea up until five minutes into opening credits has been documented on multiple social media accounts already.
Twitter: anyone wanna see a movie #bored #movie #nofilter #funsies #[some cause you support]
(because you need to hash tag it in case any random strangers have nothing to do)
Facebook: heading to the movies, my life is wonderful, everyone look
(because that’s what Facebook is these days; that and advertisements)
Snapchat: [let me tell everyone I’m buying popcorn for five seconds]
(because unless your sending a nudie, what’s the point)
Instagram: [let me post a picture of a dark theater so I never forget this moment and either does anyone else]
I know I’m forgetting things but you get the picture. Why can’t you just call a friend or two, grab your significant other, or go solo (some people think that’s depressing but its really quite relaxing) and go see a movie instead of broadcasting it like its a visit from the Pope. But I digress. So now you’ve alerted the world to your presence, it only makes sense that your phone needs to be glued to your hand in case someone likes a post or texts you about something.
Now I could tell you stories about many the times I had to say things to people, but I wont because it just aggravates me. There is a good one where I looked a 13 or 14 year old kid dead in the eyes (this was after 2 polite warnings to stop taking pictures with the flash on in the middle of the movie…yes that happened) and told him that if I even see his phone again I’m going to break it in half feed it to him; but that’s a story for another piece.
So lets talk about how phones ruined the art of movies. It’s making them less believable. Imagine Friday the 13th took place in the real world. How many teenagers would be anywhere without their phones plastered to their hand. There would be no chance for Mr. Voorhees to clean house without being blasted on social media, or having the cops show up. Basically what I’m saying is that with the answers to almost every question in the palm of your hand, its hard to imagine situations in most films that can’t be solved by Google. Sure this doesn’t go for period movies and certain other films, but for the most part it does. There’s the argument that it forces movie makers to be more creative, which is true, but it kinda takes the fun out of the urgency that some movies offer, at least to me; but maybe I’m just being bitchy. Oh well, on to the next point.
PHONES RUINED RELATIONSHIPS
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing like getting an “I love you” text out of nowhere, or being able to call your significant other to express your yearning for their nether regions while you should be working, but we all know what the drawbacks are. First off the phone is equivalent to the Necronomicon. Full of demons and evil, past, present and future missteps. It holds onto things you’d prefer to let go of. It’s a tool of temptation in the palm of your hand and an access to the realm of possibilities which may make a relationship, to some, seem like a road block instead of a building block. I’m part of the generation who saw the explosion of cell phones. You know you’ve seen the picture of a house phone online with the text that says something like: “kids these days will never know the fear of calling your crush and having their parents answer”. Lemme tell ya, the fear was real, and it went like that with me up until college where everyone had a cell. In the time before phones, getting in touch with people was broken down into 3 categories:
- I see you, you see me, lets plan something and meet there. Hopefully everyone shows up on time because cell phones haven’t been invented yet.
- 2) [calls house] “Hi Mr./Mrs. so-and-so, is my crush there?”…”Who’s this, what are your intentions/plans, where will you be…?” [craps pants] “I…I just wanna hang out.”
- 3) “OH HEEEEEEY! what are you doing here, lets get lunch at a specific date and time, put it in our WRITTEN day planners…and again hope we both show up and don’t forget.
That was pretty much it. Getting together on a wing and a prayer. You actually had to meet people back then, I know, seems crazy, right? Then when you got together you had to entertain each other. You had to talk and find out about each other organically, with words. Stalking out their lives and forming opinions wasn’t an option, you had to put in work. Work increases value, value makes things last and gives you an appreciation for the person you chose to invest in. Now it’s too easy to see other options and sticking with one person, even if they’re great, can seem like you’re holding yourself back. Plus relationships have become kind of a spectacle, which makes them lack in substance. Social media is full of “I love my significant other, they’re the best, I’m so lucky, blah, blah, blah…” often times right up until the breakup. There exists a sort of competition of bragging and outdoing each other for some people. Like they think their relationship is only as good as people perceive it on social media. I don’t get it, I really don’t. Now, there’s an arsenal of possibilities on every social app. From people you ran into and became “friends” with at some point in time to a slew of apps that you post your best picture from 10 years ago and catfish some poor, unsuspecting person into hanging out with you until they cant take it anymore. Aside from social apps, there’s every dude/chick you’ve ever given your number to who can drunk text you and harass you at all hours of the night because nothing says “I respect you” and romance like a late night attempted booty call. Again we go back to the lack of self respect and respect for others that cell phones instigate. Up until freshman year in college I’d never gotten a such a text. Not that my first “hey wanna watch a movie and have some sex” text wasn’t the greatest thing ever (because I had (have?) a questionable moral fiber…and yes we actually had to rent hard copies of DVD’s from a store to do that. Old school “Netflix and chill.”). But now I’m older, sick of the games, and want to just be with someone who can separate herself from that.
Almost half the dates I’ve been on when single has revolved around a phone, and it’s been the deal breaker. I don’t even wait to see what medication they’re on anymore, if the phone comes out to take a picture of your dinner, check [insert social app], or to take a phone call or text (unless it’s from a dying relative) then I write you off on the spot. Sound harsh? Tough shit! If you can’t disassociate from your phone for a few hours it speaks volumes about how things will go down the road. I’m trying to become a master of the red flags, and that one is pretty accurate, and it is pretty sad. Not to mention the modern day phone is a Pandora’s Box of secrets and potential problems that almost always come to fruition in a relationship. I’ve been on both sides of that situation and they both suck. And lets not forget the wonderful ability to torture yourself by checking on old lovers in the middle of the night as you cry into your pillow, oh the fun. But its not just romantic relationships that take a hit, its every kind.
PHONES RUINED HAVING FRIENDS
When was the last time you sat around with your friends or family and most people didn’t have their phone within reach. The common thing is to place it on the table somewhere near you in case you get bored with the people you’re with and wanna see what the people you aren’t with are doing, because in no way is that rude at all. No, nothing is rude about about that…if you’re a prick.
Think about the message that sends, and again I’m guilty of this too. Having your phone out like some vague threat that you better be entertained or out comes Instagram. Or answering a text mid conversation with people: “Hold on, Ima let you finish, but so-and-so just sent me the most important text in the world.” Yeah, I said it, using your phone for other things when you’re with other people is like turning into Kanye West, the biggest douche of all. Kinda makes ya think, no? Not everyone does this though. I have one group of friends who always make everyone put their phones in a pile and no one touches them, which is great and those are honestly the most fun get togethers. Then there’s the friends who are constantly on their phones. Judging from their social app status you’d think these people were the most fun in the world. In reality they spend more time talking about what they’re “doing” than actually doing it. Or they’re making plans to do something else, so that when they get there they can tell everyone what they did, and start planning the next event. Phones are killing peoples ability to have friends that don’t exist virtually. I have friends who can talk your ear off on text and can’t make a complete sentence in person. Plus there’s that telephone tough guy syndrome. It’s easy to say whatever when you’re not staring the person in the face. Fortunately for phones, now you can be as macho as you want with little to no consequence (unless you run into the person, of course). But that’s what its about these days, image. You can tailor your image to however you want when hidden behind a device, why wouldn’t you take advantage, it’s not like you’d ever have to back it up since you never have to actually go anywhere to be anywhere, if that makes any sense. However there are times when your image can bite you in the ass, which is why…
PHONES AND SOCIAL MEDIA RUINED JOBS
If you’re reading this on your phone at work, ‘nough said. Or if you ever had to hide any social media to get a job, or if your social media cost you a job, or if you’re significantly less productive when you have a phone on you, or…you get the picture. At my job I’m partially responsible for hiring, and it is second nature to go online and research a Facebook profile before hiring someone. So unless their profiles or whatever are specifically tailored to say “I’m the one for you”, which they almost…no, I’ll say never are, then it can only hurt you depending on who’s looking at it. Thankfully, in my case, I’d rather hire fun people who know how to work and have fun, and it’s worked out most of the time. But then you have the sticklers who see a drink in your hand and throw out your resume. There is the lack of ability to not judge a book by its cover, but its hard when there’s so much on said cover to not form some sort of an idea. Lets use myself as an example. Based on what I post on my Facebook, one would think I’m a drunken fool with a twisted sense of humor. My Instagram and Twitter get used rarely and randomly for dumb things so it’s really not a fair assessment. However, based off my old Tinder profile when I was single, I was a gentleman, funny, completely and utterly sexy (this was most true to form, obviously), but I don’t think employers check Tinder. Hell, if you read my blog or most of my writing you might think I’m insane, a huge asshole, or a genius. In all honesty I don’t give a shit what people think of me, and if they want to pass me by on a job because of my online presence then their missing out, but it does happen; and very often.
Can you blame employers though? Since a lot of people are lazy, unproductive shits looking for handouts these days, business owners are looking for every possible avenue to see who exactly they’re hiring. Yet again, a lot of people are anything but honest when it comes to their social media accounts, so is checking on them in that way productive or counter-productive? Either way it’s now part of the job process and probably will be forever. Especially since it’s illegal to give a bad reference of a former employee, you really can’t even get an accurate telling of their past work experience from former employers. We’ve let people go for stealing, never showing up, any plethora of things that you cannot and should not do on a job, yet when their new potential employer calls to see what they were like we have to sugar coat their shitty work ethic, and that’s not right, but that’s how it is. There are little ways around it though, and here’s an example:
New Employer: “Hi this is Bossman calling to check a reference on Lazy McTimethief.”
Me: “Oh. Yeah, he worked here.”
New Employer: “How was he while working for you?”
Me: “Well, he worked here for three months.”
New Employer: “Gothca, thank you, have a good one.”
See? Nothing bad said, in fact nothing was really said at all. The lack of positive things said now has to be the unspoken way of saying “Good luck with that one.” In fact, the more I think about it, I’ve gotten a lot less reference calls since social media exploded. Good thing? Bad thing? Guess it differs from person to person. Now onto the coup de gras…
PHONES ARE RUINING MOTOR SKILLS
Yeah, phones are even causing us to devolve into mush piles with limbs. You know when you’re talking to someone and they look at their phone and completely miss everything you said. Then they look up with that brain dead stare as they try and recall any key words that they might have heard so that they can give you some semblance of a response, but only end up letting out a strained “…huh…”. I detest that. Like flies to a bug zapper, the brain shuts off and the shiny thing encompasses all. I’m going to come up with an app that zaps the shit out of you if it detects someone talking and your phone goes on, then I’ll secretly install it on everyone’s phone I know and watch the hilarity. Seriously though, when people do that to me and look up its like the lights are on and no ones home, and I wait for the string of drool to fall out of their mouth and just hang there and laugh at me for trying to communicate like a human.
Then there’s the “walkers”. No not the ones from The Walking Dead, but close. These are the ones who put on their headphones and stare at their phones and go on walks without any of their senses tuned in to what the hell is going on around them. They’re the morons who you see video’s of on YouTube (most likely while your at work being unproductive) walking into walls, falling into fountains, crossing the street without realizing it and getting drilled by a car… yeah those dingle berries. How can it be OK in the heads of these people to venture out into the world and not pay attention to it. Would you wear a blindfold and ear plugs and do anything? What if they looked like a cell phone and ear buds, oh that’s OK then, right? NO DAMN IT, STAHHHHP.
On that note, my brain hurts and my fingers are tired from navigating this huge keyboard instead of gliding across my big beautiful Galaxy S6 Edge (can someone pick up that name I just dropped). I joke a lot above but it really is a problem, at least to me. People suck enough as it is without phones, and now they just suck even more. But again, I myself am no angel, I’m guilty of most of these things as well (except the movie thing, there’s a special place in hell for those people), but I admit it; and that’s the first step when you have a problem you want to solve: admitting you have one. As for the other 11 steps I haven’t figured them out yet, but I’ll let you know when I do. Until then folks, enjoy your interneting and your cell phoning and social media-ing, and I shall do the same. But just do me one favor: please look when you cross the fucking street, that should have been, like, one of the first things you learned as a kid. That and don’t touch the stove and don’t accept candy from strangers unless its a Milky Way…because Milky Ways are awesome.
Originally published at silverliningsandsarcasm.blogspot.com on October 21, 2015.