My Wild & Wanton, Wicked Double Demon Crushing Nights: Part 1--by Reb MacRath

Two demons have bugged me through all of my days.

1) CAN'T-ITIS is the demon of all our many Can'ts:  I can't live like a king without working at a conventional job...I can't find a find a hot starlet by Christmas...I can't write a bestselling novel...I can't afford to travel all year-round on trains, first class...

2) TOO-TOO is the demon of all our many Too's: I'm too old...I'm too slow...I'm too technically challenged...I'm too poor...I'm too unconnected...

Alone, each one is hell on earth. But in the autumn of my life I found that Can't-Itis and Too-Too had joined. And the new odds against me seemed hopeless.

Speed forward before we all burst into tears. I was wandering the Seattle streets, muttering over and over, "I can't do that! I can't do this! I'm too-too and I always will be!"--when I took out the flip phone that symbolized my entire sad, sorry existence.  And I bawled in anguish: "I hate you!"

Walmart Family Mobile LG 450 Cell Phone

A beautiful, young tattooed woman came over to give me a hug. She shook her head and said, "Poor dude. That is so sad and so nasty!" She reached in her handbag, retrieving a card. "Go here and ask for YeahBaby. Now, honey, I'm telling you that's his real name and make sure you pronounce it as one word, not two--with a cap Y and cap B. Tell him GoGo sent you." She shivered and then scurried off, answering a call on her smartphone: "Oh, Yumi YumYum, is that youuuuu!"

I went to the TMobile store on the card. And after enough of my negative blather, YeahBaby silenced me to ask: "Imagine you did have the money required and the technical savvy to use it...what sort of smartphone would be right for you?" Well, this was only fantasy, so I described my dream phone. Minutes later, he returned with with a model that looked very much as I'd dreamed...and a price tag higher than I'd feared. "Relax," he said, "let's talk some more, looking into plans and financing." An hour later, I left with a partly financed prepaid plan...and a Samsung Galaxy Note 4:

I'd barely stepped outside when the demons went to town: "You idiot! You can't afford this and you'll never learn how to use it!" Still, I took the phone to Starbucks, where I sat for two hours and futilely tried to make sense of the thing.

Decision: the battle depended on my ability to learn.

Strategy: On my laptop I Googled best manuals for the Note 4. I found a wealth of choices. but only one survived my preview of the first pages. I ordered.

Meanwhile, with three days till the manual came, my learning curve needed an edge.

Image result for learning curve images

Step one: I returned to the store and asked to see the manager. Could he spare me ten minutes? He gave me an hour. At the end of our session: he'd customized my menu, shown me how to make and answer calls, set up voice mail, add gmail, text, and use the internet both in and out of free WiFi...

Step two: Still waiting for the book, I started to play with the phone on my own. I began adding Contacts and texting, then sent a small flurry of emails. I learned how to block calls for the deadbeat who'd last had my number. I learned to set screen brightness and change ringtones to vibrate or mute. These and other unglamorous things were done by Reb MacRath.

Victory already? Not hardly. But already I'd started believing I could win this fight with the right mindset. And my game plan could not have been simpler:

Each day I would try one new thing that seemed beyond my reach. Or something that just didn't seem quite like Me. And in the next weeks, with the book's help, I did exactly that. To an accomplished techie, my progress would seem pitiful. My concern, though, is winning the battle and I forged on to win these skirmishes...

Two Week Mastery Checklist:
--Added the Starbucks app and then my gold card.
--Set up the TMobile Account Data app
--Further customized my main menu
--Added apps for Moovit, Seattle Yellow Cab, my bank and Weather Channel
--Added S-Note for use with the stylus
--Added Visual Voicemail to screen VMs without listening
--Ordered my first cab with the app
--Began exploring the Maps app, learaning that it can recommend nearby ATMs, restaurants, etc.
--Added home and work addresses to Maps
--Learned how to set up Events and Tasks
--Added Lookout virus protection
--Added the Amazon App store
--Began to master Google Now, the phone's voice-activated personal assistant
--Established fingerprint access for security
--Added facial recognition: the phone doesn't go dark while I'm watching (After all, it would be hurtful to think my mug had put the phone to sleep)

The Real and Mighty Mojo

May your own mojo never desert you. And it will always desert you if you cave to Can't-Itis or Too-Too. The real payoff of a battle such as the one that I'm waging is the daily growth in the sense of Yes, I Can.

Right now, I may be tapping 5% of my Note 4's potential. But that number's rising daily. And in the coming reports, I'll look closely at tricks done by others that I too will nail. There's an exhilarating sense of wickedness about this as I set out to master things it seemed I was never intended to know.

Sometimes there's nothing sexier...not even a night with a beauty like this:


Jan Needle said…
When you can get it to write a book for you, let me know. I'll have one!
Bill Kirton said…
Thanks to having a very generous son, I have both iPad and iPphone. I use one to cheat at quizzes and the other to reply to texts from his daughter. I once inadvertently Malapropped the word hashtag in the presence of an older granddaughter who immediately squealed with delight and pasted a FaceBook message to her extensive Friends' list proclaiming 'Granddad's just said 'Tashhag'. I reveal all this simply to suggest that no manual or manager could drag me even close to competence with these devices.
Dennis Hamley said…
I'm prostrate with admiration. I have both smartphone and tablet and am scared to death of both of them.They are my most searing versions of Can't-itis and Too-too but there are too many less serious versions for comfort.
Dennis Hamley said…
Bill, there are few things worrse than a patronising grandchild.
glitter noir said…
Thanks, Jan, Bill, Dennis. Hard though it may be for us, the new tech stuff seems to come naturally to children. I remember reading a story of an infant--can't remember the exact age, but ridiculously young--snatching mommy's smartphone. The tot began to play with it, using its thumbs as if it had been taught...and figuring out several functions.
glitter noir said…
Besides, I guess I'm hoping that maybe if I *really* this gizmo I'll get to meet Yumi YumYum.
My grandniece and nephew at 5 and 6 years old are already pros with Android phones and Amazon Fire tablets. I'm lucky I have a tech-savvy wife. She's been an early adopter of all this technology, and keeps me on my toes!

I was looking at a martial arts training book for people over 50 years old. I'm only in my mid-40s--but I like to get a jump on things. Anyway, the book suggests not worrying about what you can't do. Instead, focus on all the things you can still do. And like your post suggests, sometimes we don't know what we can do until we go ahead and try it.

I hope your post inspires many to donate their old Scarecrow "if I only had a brain" dumbphones, and go see the Man Behind the Curtain to grab one with an advanced degree.
Wendy H. Jones said…
Well done Reb. You will be a pro and showing the rest of us what to do soon.
Lydia Bennet said…
It's always fun, but daunting, learning new techie stuff! Enjoy your phone Reb.
glitter noir said…

Thanks, David, Wendy and Valerie. One aspect of the challenge is exhilarating...and just a little spooky. The more we use the smartie, they say, the better it (or Google) gets to know us. For instance, the Google Now application will start anticipating our interests and needs. I envision popup messages asking me why I haven't had my 10:00 coffee at a particular place...or sending me links to something I viewed online months ago. On the other hand, if my new 'personal assistant' is bright enough to remind me to print out a boarding pass or suggest I check out a new agent who's hungry for clients...

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