THE BLOG

No iPhone For You This Christmas, Mr. President

12/19/2013 02:21 pm ET | Updated Feb 18, 2014
  • Greg Schwem Corporate comedian, Business emcee, Author, 'The Road to Success Goes Through the Salad Bar"

I have a very simple solution to all the brouhaha surrounding President Obama's questionable decision to partake in a "selfie" cellphone photo during Nelson Mandela's funeral.

Place him, at least for this year, on the "naughty" list.

Before leaving for South Africa, the president admitted during a public appearance that he REALLY wanted an iPhone under his Christmas tree. But, for "security reasons," (White House speak for, "What if Edward Snowden gets a hold of it?") he must tap away on the same clunky Blackberry he owned upon entering the White House nearly five years ago.

No offense to Research in Motion, makers of Obama's mobile device, but this is akin to Bill Gates continuing to store information on five-and-a-quarter-inch floppy disks while the rest of us use "the cloud," whatever that is.

If the FBI, the CIA and Apple CEO Tim Cook put their thinking caps on, I'm sure they could figure out a way to let the president experience all the joys of a device purchased by more than 30 million individuals in 2013 alone. Imagine Obama placing an iPhone to his lips and querying, "Siri, what's the fastest way to fix the healthcare.gov website?" Who knows? Millions of Americans might be visiting doctors this week with their newly-acquired health insurance.

But then came that photo of "Bad President," mugging with Denmark Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and British Prime Minister David Cameron as the world bid farewell to a human rights icon. While I don't buy the widely-held theory that a stern-looking Michelle Obama was ticked at the president -- I've taken candid photos of my wife where she looks ready to make me sleep on the couch -- I do think Obama should have acted a bit more presidential during the proceedings.

That being said, maybe he's just not ready to own an iPhone.

Maybe he needs to hear a talk similar to the one I had with my oldest daughter prior to purchasing one for her.

"You're not going to take any inappropriate photos with it, right?"

"No, Dad."

"You won't give your iPhone to anybody, right?"

"No, Dad."

"You know that I WILL take it away if I see you using it somewhere you shouldn't be?"

"Yes, Dad."

Not surprisingly, I have had to remove the iPhone from her clutches on a few occasions, most recently after catching her reviewing texts at church. She got the phone back but learned a valuable lesson and probably lost a few friends, incensed that their messages hadn't been returned within eight seconds.

Incidentally, my 11-year-old has requested an iPhone for Christmas but already knows she isn't getting one.

"Why?" she asked in her best "I've-been-extra-good-all-year" voice.

"At your age, your phone should be for staying in touch with us. That's fine."

"But what about Facebook?"

"You're too young."

"Instagram?"

"Too young."

"Candy Crush?"

"Too addicting. Take it from your Dad."

Obviously nobody ever sat the president down and told him actions have consequences when it comes to phone etiquette. True, it was Thorning-Schmidt's phone, but had Obama declined her invitation to join the selfie shot, Santa might see a way to get an iPhone to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on the 24th. Instead, it appears the naysayers were correct; the president might use his new toy inappropriately and that could be a problem.

So Mr. President, while your transgression may not merit a lump of coal in your stocking, please know that a man with your connections need not resort to selfies. Just raise your hand and a credentialed photographer would be more than happy to snap your picture, wherever you are and whoever you're with. Michelle could even join the shot if she desires.

Remember, the jolly red-suited man sees you when you're sleeping and knows when you're awake. And, thanks to the Internet, so does everybody else. Have you learned your lesson? If so, text me via your Blackberry.

I'll reply with my shiny new iPhone.