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I Hate Blackberries

I hate Blackberries. The phone thing, not the fruit.

To be honest, I'm using the brand name and applying it to all smartphones because, as far as I know, the Blackberry was the first major market cell phone that evolved from a simple phone into some sort of parasitic organism. It was the first evolutionary device that took us through the mind-blowing portal from the mundane planet earth to the universe of the perpetually connected.

In the beginning everyone was jubilant that the world of calls, emails, photos and texts, along with a slew of other nearly useless stuff, was so efficiently packaged into a wallet-sized electronic gizmo that fit neatly onto our belts or into our purses. Or even worse, some Blackberry-disciples evolved to a state-of-being where they constantly clutched the life-sucking gadget into the palm of their hands as if it were a life-giving gift from God. I can only presume this is why we see so many perky young women in high heels and tight skirts strutting along crowded sidewalks, carrying nothing except a hungry look of determination and their smartphone.

Like so many others who were easily seduced by the allure of the gadget, with no comprehension of the price that would be paid for owning one, I once wanted one of those little black and shiny satanic boxes. But that was before I knew what kind of Pandora’s box I was opening. That was before I had taken a bite from the apple, and before I rang the bell that could not be un-rung.

The first time it crept into my world, I was sitting at my desk and the boss came in and handed me the deceitful gift. I reacted just like everyone else did. I liked it. I played with it. I set it up and entered contact information, email addresses, phone numbers, and other mundane information. I took a picture of my office, but I couldn't send it to my wife. She didn't have a Blackberry. She just had a regular old cell phone that did nothing except take phone calls and text messages. I called my wife and gave her my new number. If my daughters were old enough and had their own phones I would have called them, too. I downloaded information to or from my laptop, but I can't remember which direction the flurry of information flowed. Aps flowed one way while data flowed the other. And then came the moment of truth. I put it in its little holster and clipped it to my waist. Like Clint Eastwood and his 44 magnum, I had my Blackberry at my side. When the time came, I could un-holster it and have it in front of my face or against my ear in the blink of an eye.

The phone was shiny and sharp and had all kinds of "aps” which I had no damn idea what to do with. It was compact and efficient, the reception was better, the sound was clearer, and I was connected. I could almost feel the adrenaline rush when I held it in my hand, and I was confident that ownership of this phone meant something significant. But much like the allure of the perky girls in their high heels and tight skirts, I was deceived by the enticing packaging that didn't necessarily represent its inner soul. Or maybe it did. Perhaps the obvious necessity to put so many allegedly useful programs that typically ended up feeling more like shrapnel than useful, was exactly why this.... this thing.... was packaged and marketed like a skinny, seductress on the cover of Vogue magazine.

So the first calls were made. The first email was emailed and the first text was sent. Pictures were taken and “stuff” was downloaded and uploaded. It was all good. Then it was holstered and clipped and I went out to conquer the world. And much like every other day, I did conquer and I was successful. But on that day, it was conceivable that I was more successful than normal... because I had a Blackberry.

When I arrived home I showed my beautiful electronic mistress to my wife and she shrugged. She did not comprehend the power of the Blackberry. Then I took the plug out of the box, stuck it into one of the kitchen counter outlets, and connected the power cord to my evolutionary device that took me through the mind-blowing portal from the mundane planet earth, to the universe of the perpetually connected. With a sigh of contentment and a tinge of pride I opened the refrigerator, reached inside for an ice cold beer, popped the top off, and in some small way, I drank to my newly found connectivity.

And then it happened.

Someone from work, someone who was more dedicated that I was, someone who still had their nose to the grindstone and who was likely, or at least possibly, going places due to their hard work and dedication, someone who was still sitting at their desk and paying no attention to the clock on the wall or their family at home or their friends who were waiting for them, sent out an email to me, my boss, and a few others who possibly needed impressing. The information typed on her computer and sent to the evil little black box sitting on my kitchen counter was insignificant and didn't say anything that couldn't have waited until tomorrow morning; except it didn't wait. It arrived instantly into my home, in my kitchen where I was trying to enjoy my cold beer. As I stood there speechless, with my beer almost slipping out of my hand, I could have sworn that little piece of crap smiled at me and whispered, "From now on work will always be at your side."

Since that dark day there has been no peace and there has been no escape. It follows me home and it follows me to the store. It goes on vacations with me, and there is no acceptable excuse to give to the Connected World that would sufficiently explain or justify why the Blackberry, IPhone, IPad, Android or whatever brand device, is not stuck to me like a virus I just can't shake.

I hate Blackberries.

And don’t even get me started on those ever so helpful GPS’s. You know what I’m talking about. She smoothly speaks in her soft English accent, “Take ramp right.” Then just as I veer to the far right lane at 70 miles per hour in bumper-to-bumper Tampa Bay traffic, she chimes in with just a smidge of sarcasm in her voice, “Recalculating.” In an instant, I know I’ve just lost another twenty minutes of my life and I am just as lost as I would have been without the GPS. The only difference is that even though I don’t know where I am, she does. Bitch!

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