Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)

COLUMN: Scroll! Scroll! Scroll!

Ben Bogstie shares his failure to give up his smartphone

Recently I tried something out and failed spectacularly.

I realized I was using my phone a lot. When I found myself in idle moments I would invariably pocket and grab my phone.

I wasn’t doing anything productive or useful. Maybe I’d check sports news, social media, look up something, peruse irrelevant topics on Wikipedia or peruse YouTube videos.

Eventually, I’d had enough and pictured myself as the subject of the subject of Tex Williams’ 1947 song “Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette),” but with my phone instead of cigarettes.

The chorus goes:

Smoke smoke smoke that cigarette

Puff puff puff

And if you smoke yourself to death

Tell St. Peter at the Golden Gate

That you hate to make him wait

But you just gotta have another cigarette

I pictured scrolling myself to death, and then telling St. Peter (over text message, obviously) to hold up a minute while I set my fantasy football lineup.

So I decided to buy a flip phone and detox. The employee at the store had an air of amusement when I was going through the till. In my mind, I was going au naturale, breaking free, reverting to a simpler way of being.

It was all quite exciting when I switched over my SIM card and started navigating the 3×4 keyboard. I’m young enough that my first phone I owned was an iPhone, so getting the hang of inputting text on physical keys was a bit tricky, but a fun exercise nonetheless.

For the first few days, things weren’t too bad. I was doing more thinking, observing and felt a little more connected with my surroundings. I gained more of an appreciation for the long lost pre-cellphone days.

But then the inconveniences started stacking up. To listen to podcasts and music, I had to use my old phone as a giant iPod, which more or less defeated the purpose of switching phones. Photos taken on the flip phone were so poor, the subject was hardly visible, and I couldn’t send them.

Being unable to quickly look up answers to questions drove me crazy. (What do you mean I can’t instantaneously find out the elevation of La Paz, Bolivia? I NEED TO KNOW RIGHT NOW!)

Then, the unthinkable happened. I forgot to set my fantasy football lineup. With seconds to spare I hunted down my laptop and tried to log in, but it was too late. I went on to lose, knowing that if I had my smartphone it all could have been different.

The final straw was finding out that Telus has 5G service in Terrace. I wanted to try it out, so I swapped the SIM card again and haven’t looked back since. All said and done, I lasted just under two weeks.

I wonder if St. Peter has a YouTube channel?

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