For a week I sat in a lawn chair next to our mailbox, waiting for the sound of the U.S. Postal truck. Or UPS. I didn't care who delivered it. But the wait was unbearable.
"Not today," our mail carrier said as she handed me an armload of back-to-school catalogues, casino invitations and a property tax bill, the latter requiring my immediate attention. "I'm sorry, Mr. Schwem."
"It's NEVER gonna get here," I wailed.
"You should look into Amazon Prime. Guaranteed two-day shipping," she said before continuing down the block.
Finally, the blessed day occurred. "There's a package for you in the hall," my wife said, waving her hand in that direction as if I had forgotten where our foyer was located. "Are you expecting something?"
I charged toward our home's front door, nearly colliding with the dog. A brown, skinny cardboard box lay on the coffee table.
"It's here. It's finally here," I squealed in delight.
"WHAT'S here?" my wife asked.
"My selfie stick."
"That doesn't say 'selfie stick,'" my wife said, glancing at the now opened box. It says, 'Premium All in One Telescopic Pole.'"
"That's the fancy title. It's a selfie stick."
"And what are you planning to do with that?" she asked as I extended the stick to its full 47-inch length, nearly knocking a decorative plate off the table in the process.
"What WON'T I do with it?" I replied, attaching my iPhone to the universal Smartphone mount, hitting 'record' and aiming the stick directly at her face. Might as well capture this teaching moment.
"Honey, the possibilities are endless," I continued. "I can take it to concerts and sporting events and block the views of people sitting behind me while I record hours of shaky, out-of-focus footage that I know I'll never watch!"
"Is that all?"
"Of course not. Now I can walk through airports holding the stick in front of me and talking to it!"
"And what does one say to a selfie stick?"
"Something profound like, 'Hey, I'm in the airport. I'm walking toward the gate now and pretty soon I'm gonna get on a plane and go to Orlando. But first I'm gonna stop at Starbucks.' Then I'll spend the flight editing the footage on iMovie and, by the time the plane lands, I'll have it posted on YouTube so everybody can see just how narcissistic I am!"
"You think people will want to watch that?"
"Of course. Because my life is AWESOME. Everybody with a selfie stick thinks the same thing, which is why we want to share the minutest details of our existence."
Just then the door opened. My 18-year-old daughter entered, wearing headphones and bathed in sweat. I pointed the stick her way.
"Hi, honey, have you been out jogging?" I asked, the camera still rolling.
"No, Dad, a bucket of water fell on me from the sky," she replied. "Wait, what are you doing? Why are you following me?"
"I'm not following you. I'm just casually walking behind you and recording this without your permission. That's what you do when you own a selfie stick."
"Dad, I'm about to take a shower. Mom, make him stop!"
"Lower the stick, Greg," my wife commanded. "NOW!"
I switched the phone off. The battery had dropped from 76 percent to eight, one of the drawbacks of continuous photography and movie making. I plugged it into the nearest charger. Selfie stick owners need a steady supply of juice.
"I don't want to see that thing in the house," she said.
"Can we have this conversation later?" I asked. "When my phone is recharged? I'll record it and add it to my recently created 'Arguments With My Wife' YouTube channel."
"If you want to use that stick for work, promotion, whatever, that's fine. But you're not putting our lives on display. Got it?"
"Selfie stick owners don't like hearing 'no.'"
"Would this owner like his selfie stick broken in half?"
"Fine. I'm going outside to mow the lawn now."
"How long will that take?"
"About 45 minutes. Maybe longer if the lighting is good. I need a new video for the 'Guys Mowing their Lawns' channel."
"I don't know you."