Quickly now, chose your preference.
Chocolate coffee, or a cell phone? How about a cold beer or the web? One more time – this should be an easy one – sex or a cuddly little Smartphone?
There’s a study for just about everything, so it wasn’t surprising to find that a study had been done to see how people felt about giving up their sacred technology, even for a day or two. What was surprising were the results. Yep, turns out all you little techies out there are hooked reallllllly bad.
Over half of you would give up chocolate, caffeine, alcohol before you’d dare be parted from your constant little companion – your cell phone – for just a week. And for those of you who love the feel of warm plastic between satin sheets on a Saturday night, it apparently explains two things: two thirds of the people surveyed sleep with their Smartphones at their side, one third would give up sex before giving up their technological connection to the world.
So imagine if you will, the plight of poor “Tim,” hopelessly addicted to technology, as he attends his first group therapy session.
“Hi, I’m Tim, I’m a techoholic”
“I guess my story’s not a whole lot different from that of a lot of you in this room. It started innocently enough. I always liked talking on the phone, but when I was away from the house I got tired of carrying a pocket-full of dimes for the, the, uh…”
“The pay phone, Tim”, asked the therapist?”
“Yeah, pay phone. Wow, why can’t I remember that?”
“Many techoholics have horribly frightening memories of cumbersome, antiquated technology such as pay phones – especially those with dials – so they try to block them from their memories. It’s very common. You’ll often experience similar problems when trying to remember the names of other ancient items, such as wrist watches, or books that have actual pages. We had a young lady here not too long ago – tragic case – shattered the fingertips on both h s from repeatedly trying to text on her gr mother’s l -line telephone.”
“I know, I know. Some people will never be rehabilitated. Anyway, please continue Tim.”
“Well, to get rid of the coins, I bought one of those calling card things. That was better technology, but it wasn’t enough. I quickly found I wanted more. More minutes, faster access, I didn’t want to have to look for a pa- pa- – what was that again?”
“Right, pay phone. Then one day, I was on a business trip. I think it was in Chicago, or maybe some seeder town like Portl . I remember I was looking for a pay phone. I was clutching my phone card, I was sweating, I needed to make a call. Any call. Looking back, I guess I was an obvious mark for the guy. Anyway, he came up to me with a flyer. ‘Pssst – Buddy’ he said. ‘Yeah you, with the sweaty phone card. Let me hook you up with the real thing. My store’s having a sale. Just sign up for a 3-year contract, $399.95 a week plus 50 cents a minute, we’ll give you a free phone for just a hundred bucks!’
“Okay, I should have been suspicious. I know what they say about ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’. I mean, who gives away a free phone for just a hundred bucks, you know? But I needed it. I really needed it. Pay phones were on their way out, it was all just a big conspiracy by the phone companies to lure you into the cell phone stores, I didn’t know how far I’d have to go to find the next pay phone, the store was right there in front of me, with big balloons shiny phones a hat a free hot dog…. Oh god, I’m so ashamed.”
“It’s okay Tim, we all started the same way.”
“Thanks. That helps. Anyway, I signed up. Turns out the free phone wasn’t really free – it cost a hundred bucks. But who cares. I could call anywhere, anytime. Soon all my friends had them, we’d all call each other. Day night, night day. At work, at home, in the car, in the office, at the ball game, at the movies, in restaurants, in the bathroom – it didn’t matter. All the time, call call call call call! Then texting! OMG! That was even better, at least IMHO! And Facebook. I have 127,568 friends right now, I actually know 12 of them! How cool is that! I can turn on my bedroom lights from my car, I can start my coffee pot from the swimming pool, I can record my favorite shows while I’m on the beach watching the shows I recorded while I was on my last vacation that got recorded while I was at the ski resort that I didn’t get to see because I was texting my friend who didn’t get to see the movies he recorded while at the convention he was attending because he had to watch the streaming video of the viral YouTube that was coming in through his Bluetooth so-”
“Easy Tim, easy. You’re getting worked up, I think that’s enough for your first group session. You’ve done very well.
“Okay group, that’s it for tonight. Thank you all for coming, I’ll email each of you also leave you a voice message with the next meeting time. In the mean time, check your Smartphone for my latest ‘Fighting Technology Addition’ app, be well….”
Paul Bianchina can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for comments.