Sunday, August 12, 2012

What's Your Phone's IQ?

I will admit that I don’t have a "smartphone" (not yet, anyway!). In fact, at times, my phone seems incredibly dumb. About all it can do is make and receive calls. How stupid is that?
            Oh, I forgot. It can also text and take pictures. And I suppose it can do a few other things, too, that I never bothered to figure out. But it can’t tell me where I can find gluten-free pizza or whether there’s traffic on the highway. And I can’t get any cool “apps” for it, either. So I guess it really is dumb.
            I was talking to a friend not too long ago about the intelligence of her particular phone and she, too, revealed that she had not yet upgraded to a phone with an advanced degree. “It just makes me feel so stupid,” she admitted, “since I’m the only one in my office without one.”
            I got to thinking about her comment the other day, and I wondered why it is that grown adults sometimes behave like adolescents (no reflection on my friend—I’m as guilty as anyone). Why is it that we must have the same phone, car, camera, etc as the guy next door?
            I remember—back in the day—being very perturbed because I did not own a pair of Bass Weejun loafers. I nagged my poor parents until they finally scraped together enough pennies to get me some, but once I had them, there was always another fad item that was desperately needed. Unfortunately (or perhaps, fortunately), my parents totally ignored my pleas for a Barbie doll (I had been given the unfashionable Mitzi as a gift by a family friend and thus was stuck with her). For years, I bemoaned this blot on my childhood.
            So, I wonder, like the Bass penny loafer, and like the Barbie, why do I feel that I must have a smartphone?  And how many grown adults are fretting over how many “friends” or “likes” they have on Facebook? And why must we feel dumb or inadequate if we don’t have the latest gadget (just like our kids)?
            Like the rest of the Joneses, I will no doubt eventually get a smartphone. But until I do, I am going to try to appreciate the very adequate little phone that I do have. Besides, no one has measured the smartphone's emotional IQ (or rather, EQ).  Maybe a “smart phone” could tell me where to get a good haircut, but until it can give me a hug when I’m feeling sad, how smart, really, can it be?

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