My iPhone and I have been inseparable for years. I call him Kenny. His apps have brightened my days and his news feeds kept me in touch with the world.
We were so close... and, then, it happened. When I stepped into the bathtub, Kenny leaped in before I could restrain him. I cried out, "No, no, don't do that! You have so much to live for." But he couldn't turn back. He gurgled, gasped and sank.
I fished him out and attempted resuscitation with a hard reset, but he just looked up at me from his faded home screen, his little icons dancing crazily. I could tell he was suffering. I wiped his small body dry with a towel.
"Don't leave me," I begged. "We've got things to do."
The quivering vertical stripes on his screen told me Kenny had "slipped the surly bonds of earth," perhaps for a better life in cyberspace. I sat there holding his lifeless purple shell in my hand.
I emailed a friend to share my loss. She sent me a message of condolence and hope. "Place Kenny in a Ziploc bag of rice," she wrote, and add one of those absorbent packets from your bottle of vitamin pills. She said it could take as much as three days for a full recovery, but to be patient. "Don't think of it as a soufflé to be monitored, but a pot roast to be ignored." How silly, I thought, but what else was there to do?
The first day, I put Kenny on a shelf and peered at him several times. He looked like Bubble Boy entrapped in clear plastic unable to whisper in my ear as he once did. On the second day, I heard a familiar murmur coming from the shelf. I was so excited. It was Kenny! He was ringing! Just like always. I hastily opened the baggie, spilling rice all over the floor. When I placed him to my ear, there was a nutty, basmati aroma about him. I didn't care.
"Hello, hello," I said, quickly, with tears running down my face.
There was a voice on the other end, lively but unfamiliar. I wanted to thank the caller for bringing Kenny back, but he wouldn't listen, he just plunged on like he was scripted. What kind of fiendish person would ignore such a heart-rending story?
Then I figured it out: I was listening to a robot. A robo-call from a political fundraiser had gotten through Kenny's soggy circuitry and jumped started the motherboard. As the screen returned to a series of quivering, faded images, I clicked the off button and put Kenny back in the sack.
Kenny's demise coincided with Day 2 of the iPhone 6 rollout. It was time for Kenny II, and we all knew it. I did the thing I swore I'd never do: stand in line with all the other tech-needy people for the latest Apple sensation. But I did, telling myself there was no other choice. I had to re-connect to the world and fast.
I spent the afternoon at the mall, in a meandering queue outside the Apple store. One of the bouncy, blue-shirted "Appleiers," wearing a headset, noted I was the oldest person slumping against the rail, and brought me a folding chair. When I asked for a decaf latte, she smiled and patted me on the hand.
Well, I replaced Kenny with a larger 4.7" screen. He's quite a handful that Kenny II. I promised I would never take him swimming no matter how much he buzzed and beeped and strummed. He promised to be there for me anytime I place my identifying thumbprint onto his smooth, indented curvature. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
I forgot about Original Kenny, until one day I passed the shelf where I left him. I pulled his juiceless form from the bag and, out of habit, plugged him into his old outlet. When I did, a miracle happened! Kenny didn't splutter; he did a snappy reboot. Within seconds, his face lit up and he smiled at me from behind a row of colorful icons. I pushed all the buttons and everything worked. Kenny had gotten his second wind.
I had mixed emotions as I looked onto his tiny screen and felt the ease with which my fingers curled his small frame.
"Sorry, little fellow," I said. "I'm taking you to the mall. It's time for you to join your ancestors in Appleland. His screen lit up more brightly. He was ready to go.