A Final Thought: The Devil’s Phone


By Mitch Allen

I read recently that flip phones are making a comeback, even among some young people. The goal is to disconnect from the digital world and reconnect with the actual world. In case you don’t remember, a flip phone is one that can send and receive phone calls and text messages, but it isn’t a computer, so you can’t use it connect to the internet, to check Facebook, to google anything, to send and receive emails, to take photos or do all the other things our precious apps can do.

That makes sense to me. Knowing your work life is in the palm of your hand 24/7 means you can never really disconnect from your job. And too often we are looking at our phone screens instead of enjoying the world around us.

But wait, I don’t want to be that guy, the geezer who complains about people always staring at their phones. I don’t feel that way anyway. I love my phone. When I was a kid and wanted to know the capital of Kansas, I had to pull down one of my parents’ heavy encyclopedias and look it up within the pages. And if I wanted to know something more obscure, like, say, how many chicken wings Americans eat on Super Bowl Sunday, I’d have to go the library or write a letter to some national poultry association or the USDA and hope for a reply.

No, I don’t want to return to those days. I’m too much of a trivia buff, googling facts like how Columbus made it only to the Bahamas and never set foot in North America, how George Washington’s teeth were made of hippopotamus ivory and not wood, how none of the accused witches of Salem were burned at the stake; they were hanged.

Useless stuff like that.

Still, I do fantasize about not carrying a phone. My two favorite vacations were sans phones. Once, on a trip to Florida, I accidently left my phone on the car (best beach vacation ever), and when my wife and I walked the 100-mile Cotswold Way in Southwest England, we often had no cell service (best hike ever).

But during Covid, I did succumb to my fears and wrote a silly poem about the dangers of smartphones. Here it is:


When Lizzy Harmon went to school
she found herself alone.
While all the kids were playing ball
she was staring at her phone.

So Lizzy Harmon went a’sailing
on Loch Ness all alone,
but when Nessie came beside her
she was staring at her phone.

One night a flying saucer,
its bright lights shone,
Lizzy Harmon missed it, too.
She was staring at her phone.

One day Lizzy Harmon stepped
in front of a bus.
A policeman hollered, “Stop!”
but she was staring at her phone.

So Lizzy went to Heaven
and danced among the clouds.
St. Peter didn’t see her;
he was staring at his phone.

So Lizzy went the other way
and the Devil let her in.
He said, “Take your place
in the assembly line.
We’re manufacturing phones!”

No, I don’t think smart phones are Satan’s plot to eat our souls.

Not really.

I hope not.


Categories: Smart Living