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I don’t own a smartphone. I own a dumb phone.

It makes calls. I am told it also takes pictures but, in over six years of owning it, I’ve never tried. It shoots video, it sends texts, and it can (sort of ) surf the web, but I desire to do none of these things with it. I don’t need it to provide driving directions or recipes or look things up on Google. I don’t need it to talk to me. On an average month, I use less than 150 minutes on my PCS phone, which I use mainly to tell people I’m on my way because I am always late getting somewhere because I am always doing something for somebody, usually several somebodys, and juggling projects is often counterintuitive to punctuality. I find it discomforting and frankly dangerous that the entire civilized world has become seduced by these smartphones that do everything from making dinner reservations to managing your love life. I am sick to death from sitting in restaurants with grown people—grown men and grown women—who allow the conversation to drift as their heads sink into the lapse of their shoulders while they fidget endlessly with these idiotic devices. If I am dining with friends, I leave my cell phone in my car unless there is some extremely compelling reason to bring it inside.

Most of the world has grown so dependent upon these gadgets that they literally experience withdrawal symptoms if they do not have this thing, beeping and chirping with every nonsensical, useless opinion posted to Twitter or Facebook, with them at all times. In love and with all due respect, I regard this phenomena as an addiction and I regard addiction as weakness and bondage. These people, and yes, this may be and likely is you, even as you read this on your smartphone—are weak. They are cyber-junkies who make up transparently silly excuses why they cannot or will not simply leave this piece of junk in their car and why they value whatever nonsense is going on on Facebook more than the flesh and blood human beings who actually bathed and burned gasoline to come and sit across from them. I am insulted by this behavior, especially so if it is my turn to pick up the check: I am paying for this gathering and being ignored at the same time. 2013, I suspect, will be a year of few if any lunches because I am, frankly, just through with this nonsense. Sisters and brothers: we can eat, but turn the mess off. Leave that mess in your car. If it comes out during our time together, I will leave. Seriously. If you can’t stop yourself from acting like a child, then let’s just visit at the church or something. I am seriously done with this.

Most of us can count, on one hand, the number of times an actual emergency came through on our mobile device. This is the main lie most of us tell: well, the kids. Well, my mom. Well, my husband, my wife, my cousin, my dog. Lots of what ifs. True emergencies are rare. Emergencies where a 1-hour delay in calling back results in serious harm or destruction are even more so. I grew up in an analog world, a world without smartphones. We somehow survived. We somehow managed our lives. The human race went on. It is a patent lie that you can’t go without your smartphone for an hour or so. It is part of the packaged goods being sold you, along with all this crap you ingest every single day from the TV and internet.

The percentage of data the average American ingests in this 24/7 Dresden Bombing of junk media that is actually useful is frighteningly small. Of that frighteningly small percentage of useful data, the percentile that is actually God-breathed—as opposed to the noisy vomit spewed out by religious broadcasters claiming to be so—likely cannot be measured. Beloved, you are consuming vast amounts of hateful garbage from TV, Internet, movies, videogames, and this noise corporate America laughingly calls “music.” Worse: in ignorance, you are feeding your kids a steady diet of this stuff. America is becoming measurably dumber with each passing year even as we become more isolated, each in our own cyber-reality, earbuds shoved tightly in, thumbs pecking out additions to the DrivelStream. Whatever else you believe this to be, this is not life, this is not living.

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