Imagine, if you will, an episode of “The Twilight Zone” starring you. You have just awakened in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, in the middle of those famous witch trials. You are at the trials and you reach into your pocket and find … a cellphone.
Naturally, everyone notices it when it rings.
Twenty witches have already been hanged, and they are looking at you for number 21. Go ahead. Try to explain that device in your hand.
Today, we have come to a place where we take these phone marvels for granted because we have them at hand, 24 hours per day. While I sleep, mine is charging on the next pillow. Yes, I am an addict.
Don’t leave home without it.
Before I leave my bed to face the day, I turn on radio station WFAN in New York City to get the latest sarcastic, opinionated sports news. While I am listening, I check those vital Facebook friends from across the country. Naturally, I review pertinent text messages. I don’t look out the window to check the weather. I check the phone.
Then, I get up.
During the day, the phone is constantly within arm’s reach even in the charger. I cannot imagine living a day without access to Google, the instant encyclopedia. During a barroom baseball argument last week, I checked Google for the stats on Sandy Koufax.
Much of the day, Facebook carries delicious attacks on your new president. If Donald Trump intended to unify the country, he certainly succeeded with my friends. They are all against him. One Facebook comment claimed that Trump quoted a comic book in his inauguration speech. I like that. Since I cannot stay up to see the “Saturday Night Live” opening, I call it up on the YouTube application.
We take this for granted.
As long as they survive, I can check the nation’s newspapers for political and sports news on my phone without moving an inch or spending a dime.
Another of my addictions is the daily New York Times crossword puzzle. I do as much as I can, then consult my very good friends at Google. To those who call that cheating, I say the creators probably use Google to construct the daily puzzle.
Naturally my only retirement plan consists of Megabucks, Mega Millions and Lucky for Life lottery games. Every lottery morning, I check the losing numbers on my phone. My pitiful bank balance also is at my fingertips, along with the calendar and, of course, the time.
Who needs a watch anymore? Who needs a camera? I can take a picture and send it around the world in 30 seconds.
I have my own movie theater with my iPhone. With Netflix, I can watch movies anytime, anywhere. I even have a built-in flashlight for stumbling across the living room at night.
There are daily miracles on the iPhone. Last night I asked for the best blueberry muffin in Portland. Google instantly gave me several options, including the Portland Pottery Cafe on Washington Street, where the muffins are almost as good as those legendary Jordan Marsh delicacies. Daughter Bridget had introduced me to the Pottery Cafe, but I immediately forgot the name. My phone is my artificial memory.
On the Yelp app you can ask for the best Italian, Asian, barbeque or Nairobi cuisine wherever you are. The application identifies the restaurant and provides a list of reviews, both pro and con.
Yesterday, Blue Eyes and I staggered on our occasional walk around Rockland. With the Runkeeper app we got five-minute reports on our progress, with an astonishing 3-mph pace. We did 1.9 breathless miles.
Naturally, there is Solitaire, 24 hours per day. There is iTunes with 2,200 of my very favorite songs. I have wireless headphones to hear that vital music.
Yesterday, I sat on Blue Eyes’ couch and bought a wok and steamer from the Home Shopping network on the phone without ever leaving the couch. (Four easy payments.)
The amazing thing is that we have taken our phones for granted in the few years of their existence.
For God sake, if you are going to that witch trial, turn that iPhone to vibrate. You could never explain it. Don’t take a picture of the judges. They would hang you.
Emmet Meara lives in Camden in blissful retirement after working as a reporter for the Bangor Daily News in Rockland for 30 years.