Asked by family members in early December to come up with a list of Christmas gifts I might like to receive, I came up with a total of four things. It was another reminder that I have just about everything a guy could not only need but want. But it also served as a reminder of how times have changed. (Thanks for the electric bird bath, by the way. The birds love washing down a seedy feast with a refreshing, quenching drink.)
Years ago, I might have had 20 items on my Christmas list, and more than half of them would have been the latest compact discs released by some of my favorite singers and bands. CDs served as ideal Christmas list fillers and they were easy and inexpensive for someone to buy.
I was stubborn to change my ways back then, as more and more iPods popped up across the universe and everyone was downloading their favorite music. I refused to play along, and soon my CD cabinet that holds 400 or so was bursting at the drawers.
Then the peer pressure commenced, not just from friends, but my family, too. Soon our house was home to a couple iPods, and the boys on their Christmas lists were asking for iTunes gift cards so they could download their favorite god-awful, so-called songs.
The rest is history, as it always is. Our home is now home to four or five iPods, I believe, and I haven't bought a music CD for several years. On any given day, I'll come across a cool new song on the satellite radio in the truck, come home and find it on iTunes, download it and a few others that I sample, and burn another CD.
I thought about how musically stubborn I'd been in those days while sitting in my living room recliner the other day, with my new Droid Razr M smart phone in my hand. With each tap of the beautiful touch screen, the device seemed to offer up one pleasant, even dazzling surprise after another. Suddenly, the phenomenon that has people so transfixed by their high-end smart phones that they walk into walls or fall into sinkholes on the sidewalk seemed completely understandable. I used to think these people were nothing less than pathetic, yet now I'm overcome with empathy. These devices are mesmerizing! Hypnotic, even!
And, yet, I held out for so long. Sure, I had sort of a "smart phone," in the form of a Blackberry, and for years I told myself that my workmanlike Blackberry did everything I needed it to do in consistent, straightforward fashion, without all the bloated glitz and glamour. It was conveniently sized, too, without some embarrassingly large screen.
The Blackberry Club is made up of lots of good, solid people. We're protective of our Blackberries, and we mock your hilarious touch-screen typos in the texts you non-Blackberry users send us. When we reply via our trusty keyboards, we make sure to spell all the words correctly, and even add some proper capitalization, punctuation and grammar just to rub your faces in it. We even embrace the fact that the company that owns Blackberry, the strangely named Research in Motion, has been on life support for what seems like an eternity.
Page 2 of 2 - But then, recently, a couple keys on my "Old Reliable" started to stick when pressed. And during the fantasy football season, as I tried to keep up on my team's performance while watching my sons play hockey in arenas across the state, I found myself growing weary of trying to find the microscopic information I was seeking on that undersized screen. And then, every now and then, the screen would freeze up. It was nothing a little patience couldn't outlast, as the freeze-up lasted a few seconds. But those few seconds here and there started to add up. And don't get me started on the Blackberry camera. It's the worst ever.
So I caved. I succumbed to my wife's demand that I get a new, ultra-fancy wireless device, and the Droid Razr M is it. Suddenly, I have more spring in my step, and I'm quicker to offer up a cheerful smile. I'm even enjoying a more restful night's sleep.
So, if you happen to see me, head down, wandering aimlessly through traffic on North Broadway or Fisher Avenue, just give me a quick honk to direct me back to the safety of the sidewalk. Or, if you see me sprawled on the ground with a bloody head because I missed the entrance doors at Wal-Mart and walked into the wall, just give me a nudge with your foot. Or, better yet, text me. The vibrating Droid in my hand just might be enough to jolt me back to consciousness.