As I write this, I currently have my cell phone powered off and buried under a stack of underwear in my bedroom. Why you ask?
I have to do this every time I sit down and write if I’m actually planning on getting something done. I would take a picture of the underwear-buried cell phone to prove it to all of you, but alas – I would need my fucking cell phone to take that picture, wouldn’t I?
Which is exactly the point. Today, as a society, we rely on our cell phones to do almost everything for us. We communicate through text/calls, plan events, e-mail, date, sext, consume news and other media, send pics of our boobs and wieners to other forlorn perverts, watch porn and build friendships with our phones.
For many of you, your phone has become an organ that you need to live; as vital to you as your lungs, kidneys and, most aptly put, your fucking brains. We don’t leave the house without our cell phones firmly lodged in our pocket beside our private parts, frying male sperm counts and vibrating women into fits of full-blown orgasms daily (I can’t confirm if this is true or not, but I deem it almost 100% likely for 100% of women).
Tell me if this rings a bell, because I’m pretty sure you’ve all seen it or experienced it yourself: you’re out and about, your cell battery dies, panic slowly settles in and then you wonder out loud to your friends or confused pet:
“How in the fuck is it that anyone can hop on Amazon and order a Fleshlight from their phone and have it on our doorstep in 24 hours, yet my phone’s battery only lasts 6 hours?”
In which our friends/pet reply: “Because we’ve been hanging out for 3 of those hours and you’ve spent approximately 90% of the time staring at your phone, you stunned kent.”
Sometimes when we temporarily lose cell service (god forbid), we look at our phone every 30 seconds to see if one or two bars have popped up just in case someone liked our Twitter post. Or when we’re somewhere completely off our network, we hunt down the nearest WiFi locations so we can plug in and make sure that we haven’t missed the latest viral video flooding our Facebook feeds.
I’m maybe not as bad as some people, but I can honestly say to all of you that I am addicted to my cell phone. And I’m not alone. Here are a few interesting stats for you:
· As of 2016, 95% of people in North America own a cell phone of some kind.
· As of 2016, 100% of people aged 18-29 in North America own a cell phone. (WTF?!?!)
Maybe this doesn’t come as a shock to you, but it should. Since when does ANY stat line EVER read 100%? How is this even possible?
However, simply owning a cell phone doesn’t necessarily mean you’re addicted to it. I have plenty of friends who keep their phones buried in their pocket or purse for most of the day, using it as a convenience rather than a necessity. But just take a look at any busy area, such as a mall or a downtown sidewalk during rush hour. Or, fuck, just look in any car window, and you’ll see half of our god damn population staring at their cell phone, trying to distract themselves from the monotony of their daily routines.
As a society, we fill all of our in-between spaces by connecting to the world OUTSIDE OF OUR PRESENT STATE.
What I mean by this is every boring moment in our life can now be filled by our mobile devices. We can play Clash of Clans while we wait in line at the grocery store. We can swipe right while we wait for the cock-muffin in front of us to turn left at the lights. We can hop on Reddit and comment on the latest UFC fight while we pop into a Macdonald’s bathroom, take a poop and make room for another quarter pounder.
I mean, really - When’s the last time you took a shit without your cell phone?
The research community has even created new words for some of the fucked up behaviour that we see in our modern world. Just tell me you can’t relate a little bit to some of these:
Ringxiety OR Textaphrenia – the false sensation of having received a text message or call that leads to constantly checking your device.
Textiety – the anxiety of receiving and responding immediately to text messages.
And now one of my own:
Half-Chub Syndrome – every time you get a new match on Tinder and you go half-chub in your pantaloons.
Our cell phones provide us the deadly combo of excitement and anxiety. The illusion of connectivity. The falsehood of actually doing something with your time. When we’re on our phones, texting, surfing or liking posts, it FEELS like work, like we’ve actually accomplished something when we really haven’t done fuck all. It’s paralyzing, dangerous and addictive, and I believe my quality of life has suffered immensely because of it.
As the wise prophet, Odin, so clearly put it as he hung from the cross and spoke to the people of Mecca:
"Everything in Moderation, All in Balance. Now Bring me a Sandwich."
Which means that cell phone use is OK, if you can moderate your use and understand that it CAN be addictive and WILL take over your life if you let it.
A quick little story:
About a week or so back I was in buttfuck nowhere and I had ZERO service for almost an entire week. I knew this going in, and I knew it would be difficult, and while it sucked the big one at first, it quickly became freeing and absolutely integral to my development.
I would wake up in the morning and, instead of hopping on my phone and checking my notifications, I would throw on some tunes, cook up some bacon and leave the family cabin to chop some wood for the day and contemplate the afternoon’s potential activities. I proceeded to then leave my cell phone OFF, hop in my car and go on my daily adventure, which usually consisted of exploring new lakes and forests, and finding a place in the backwoods to camp for the night. When I found my destination, I’d set up tent, make lunch, go for a hike and then settle in at night and write with only nature and the yearning for sweet, tender love distracting me. I was completely disconnected from the outside world, and it was emotionally freeing and absolutely liberating. It was like a giant sack of potatoes had been lifted off my back, and I could finally breathe again.
Fast forward a week, and I was back in Edmonton with full bars on my phone and a laundry list of phone notifications to attend to. So what did I do?
Answered all of them and became a slave to technology once again. I slipped into my old habits, aware that I was, once again, overwhelmed and unhappier than before.
Fucked if I know. Seriously, I have no idea. I was happier without the technology, yet I can’t resist it when it’s readily available.
But now at least I’m aware of what it’s like to disconnect for a long period of time after being completely connected for almost five straight years. It felt good, great even. It was one of the best few weeks in recent memory.
So if you’re like me and have a hard time putting it away for hours at a time, then maybe you should consider some of the following strategies to ween yourself off the mobile tit.
How To Conquer Your Cell Phone Addiction
1) Pick 2-3 hours every day and turn OFF your cell phone
It won’t be easy, but it’ll give the mind the time it needs to actually THINK and stop reaching for that next shot of dopamine. Creativity is bred from boredom, so consider this time to reflect on the events of the day or spend it with friends, family or your favourite lady of the night – hey, it’s your life. Live it how you want, pal.
2) Bury that fucking thing when you’re driving
There is no reason you need to have your cell phone handy while you’re driving. In fact, it’s illegal in most places, and rightly so. Distracted driving is responsible for 20-30% of all motor vehicle accidents, resulting in almost 3,500 deaths in Canada last year alone. That’s some pretty fucked up shit, people.
3) Remove time-wasting apps that give you ZERO benefit
Do you often feel depressed after browsing Facebook? Here’s a bit of news: you’re not the only one. Facebook is a highlight package of everyone’s life, and it shows only the good shit that’s happening to the people you care about while leaving out all of the boring and terrible shit, resulting in this false perception that everyone around you is having an awesome time while you, in fact, are not.
The same goes for Instagram, where filters and carefully angled shots reveal chicks with cleavage that could strangle a baby calf and dudes with muscles that make men feel like pre-pubescent, acne-riddled boys. Sometimes it can be very depressing, yet we insist on browsing these apps any time we find a moment (which is almost always).
4) Leave it at home when you go out
Going out and spending time with friends in a social setting is a privilege, so treat it that way and BE IN THE MOMENT.
But, you’re asking yourself: How will I survive? How will I document the events of the evening on Snapchat or share the fact that I’m drinking shots of tequila and eating a god damn BLT by framing my plate of soggy food with Instagram black and white filters.
But what if, over the course of the night, I lose my friends or need to grab a cab? I need my phone!
If you’re a grown-ass adult and this is a problem that you can’t solve on your own without a cell phone, then you probably shouldn’t have left the house in the first place. When the zombies or aliens finally arrive, unless you’re great at giving head to strangers or you can cook a mean can of spam, you’re proper fucked, my friend.
5) Remove your data plan, and restrict your activities
This is something you can do right now. By restricting your data use and lowering your phone bill by up to $50, you will free yourself from the phone apps that give you no pleasure, and your phone suddenly becomes what it was always meant to be: a communication device. You can still text and call people, but your activities on Facebook and other social media will be restricted completely unless you want to pay the overages or use your WiFi at home. This will force you to interact with the world around you, heightening your REAL social game, and making you feel like a part of the real world again. It will ground you, and I’m happy to say this is a step that I’ve already taken.
Reflect and decide if cell phone addiction is something that you’re currently experiencing. If not, good for you. You’re better than me. That makes you just a little better than a turd sandwich.
But if you do think you’re addicted to your cell phone, try disconnecting for a few hours after reading this, go outside, take in the sunshine and fill the ol’ spank bank with all the pretty men and women you see. Or, like, enjoy the bounty of nature or something stupid like that. Weirdo.