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chained to cell phone

If I were a seasoned criminal who caught you one day, unarmed and in a precarious situation, when I pointed a gun at you and demanded that you give up something on your person, how would you choose?

What would you relinquish?

Would you give up your cash? Do you even have any cash?

I’m going to assume here that on any given day — today, for example — your wallet does not hold a large amount of cash. These days, not many of our physical wallets do; we rely instead on our electronic money in the form of credit cards, debit cards and smartphone apps that are linked to our bank accounts.

What about your car keys? A car is one of the more expensive investments we make, and giving up your car would possibly leave you stranded. Still, you might be willing to do that instead of giving up one of the alternatives.

Handing over the credit cards might give you pause. After all, untangling the mess of identity theft from stolen cards would be a nightmare. But if you are like most people, there is one item, if you were told to give it up on the spot, might send you into fits of panic.

Remember, I have a gun pointed at you and there is no chance for you to escape or overwhelm me, and you know this, despite my 5 foot 5 inches, 124-pound frame. I’ve been working out, I’m pretty smart and I do have the gun.

I want your smartphone. Will you give it to me willingly or is one of us going down?

The point of this little imagining exercise is to reveal the possible dependence upon a little device, usually a smartphone or sometimes a tablet, most of us can’t live without.

“My whole life is in there,” is a phrase I often overhear. We depend on these devices, although most of us lived without them just a decade or two ago.

There is nothing wrong with using technology to make our lives easier and more enjoyable. I like it that I saw a video of my baby cousin’s first steps and that I do not have to beat my clothes against a rock to get them clean. There is value there. I am a little embarrassed, though, that I couldn’t recite my best friend’s phone number, since it is programmed into my phone.

WTSHTF, there will be no more smartphones. If we can’t live without them now, how will we survive then? Perhaps it is time to gain a little independence from these devices. I’m starting by memorizing the important phone numbers and addresses and by keeping on hand more cash and items with which I could barter.

Instead of checking social media three hundred times a day or binge watching Netflix videos, I am checking in with friends, learning new skills and making movie dates, or, better yet, arranging meet ups at the gym (I told you I work out). Yes, there may not be movies or gyms WTSHTF, but at least I’ll be a little more prepared, a little more fit and a little less dependent on something that could go from “my whole life” to a fancy paperweight in the blink of an eye — well, not that fancy after all.

Is there anything in your modern life that you couldn’t do without if it suddenly disappeared or didn’t work? If so, it might be time to figure out how you could live without it, because some day you may have to do just that.

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