When your smartphone isn’t so smart

Published 11:18 pm Friday, December 14, 2018

By Ruffin Alphin

I thought it was going to be an easy evening. With my computer in my lap, I was answering email while my wife, Dorothy, was on the phone with a tech person from Quickbooks. Her conversation was tinged with some frustration, as she had been trying for months to solve some software problems, but nothing sounded alarming. How unperceptive males can be. I honestly think we lack some critical chromosomal components.

When the IT woman requested, “You’ll need to get on your computer now to work through your software issues,” I could hear what was said since we were sitting closely. Approaching me, my beloved wife asked for the computer, suffused with a tone that communicated, “What the heck are you doing on the laptop I need?” At least that’s how I interpreted it.

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I know what you are thinking, but it wasn’t that I was just a stingy cad. I truly don’t mind sharing … when asked nicely. I took offence, my face attempting no disguise. Nor did hers when she took offence at my taking offence. Now when you have this much offence-taking concurrently, the result is usually an argument. This was no exception.

Shortly afterwards my friend Paul texted me, “How are you?” To which I responded, “Doing well, except I just had an argument with Dorothy.”

“What happened?” he inquired. As he is my best friend, I withheld no details, forgetting that Paul was part of a group text previously sent. I read his sickening words, “Do you realize your text to me included three other people?”

I’ve never literally been kicked in the stomach. I’ve been punched by my cousin at 12 years of age while experimenting with new boxing gloves received at Christmas. That pain paled in comparison to my present pickle. Briefly, I refused to believe what had just happened. This could not be … right? When that failed, I indicted Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple. What kind of company designs a so-called smart phone that cannot detect when you are about to make a royal — in the equine family and often found in manger scenes — of yourself? Is it too much to expect Siri to say, “You fool, you are about to remove all doubts concerning your empty-headedness?”

After thirty seconds of silence my former best friend wrote, “Does the word ‘blackmail’ mean anything to you?”

Someone else, also part of the group text, then tried to lighten the moment: “Just so you know, my husband and I had the best laugh we’ve had in a long time!”

It’s so rewarding to entertain others.

Ruffin Alphin is the pastor at Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church. He can be reached at ruffrocket@wrpca.org.