Tigers and Smartphones

Does this look like a glove compartment? How about now? Sometimes, languishing on the wrong side of summer and trapped between holidays, life begins to take on the luster of rust. This makes it the perfect time to go shopping for a new gadget, because preoccupation is better than staring at dry grass. Not that I think it would be improved by wetting it down with a hose, because this time of year, there's more to dry grass than a simple lack of moisture.

In a similar way, there's more to a "smartphone" than the ability to make crank calls, making it an ideal choice when the time comes to stop fondling and start buying. Even the most patient gadget representative will lose his humanity at smears, smudges, and lollipop drippings on the screen of every "smartphone" on display if there's no actual purchase at the end of it all, which is why I was forced to take one home with me.

After a cursory investigation of its features and functions, I'm left with the impression that it's a phone in much the same way a Sunbeam Tiger is a high-speed glove compartment. Sure, I can answer most incoming calls; on a good day I'm able to swipe my finger across the screen before the robocaller is shunted to voicemail. I've had no luck calling out for pizza, but unless the gadget representative was pulling one of my legs, a fourfold increase in local gravity is to be expected when a 4G device is used in this way, resulting in fallen, unmarketable pizza crusts.

Those of us who once dreamed of pocketable phonesfollowed by wishing an end to the nightmare of phones held between thumb and forefingerunderstand that the circle is nearly complete. As "smartphones" grow in size and complexity, the demand for larger pockets can only stimulate garment production here and abroad, thus averting economic collapse.

I'd call that smart. Real smart.



  1. We just overheard a woman at another dinner table answer her phone after its silent ringtone (the sound of crickets chirping; as Jonathan Caws-Elwitt has noted, in the movie biz the distant sound of chirping crickets is deemed to evoke silence better than silence). Imagine losing your cricket-chirping phone in the bayou and trying to find it by having a companion call it. By the way, you know how the bugs are really big in Florida? We encountered a cricket so large that we were able to confirm once and for all that the critters really *do* play tiny fiddles. So, re: your blog post, what I'm basically saying is "yes."

  2. Thanks for verifying my hunch. My gut didn't want to take no for an answer.

  3. my rotary still can't get netflix

  4. Just a matter of time, Tom. Sometimes the wheels of progress turn slowly, like . . . well, rotary dials.

  5. Crud. After coming back to this page and rereading Craig's comment, I now have an image of Jiminy Cricket with the face of Zero Mostel burned into my brain. No sleep for me tonight.