Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Heartbreak of BlackBerryitis

The Heartbreak of BlackBerryitis
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2007

My BlackBerry is ruining my eyesight.

I got a new BlackBerry at work recently, and I can't stand to be away from it. For those of you who don't know what a BlackBerry is, it's sort of a mini-computer that handles your email, schedule, address book, web browser, and even a cell phone. Some people have taken to calling them Crackberries, because they're so addictive.

I carry mine on my belt, eagerly waiting for the little vibrating buzz that signifies someone has sent me an important email that I absolutely have to read right this second.

BZZZZZ!

As my BlackBerry buzzes, time slows to a crawl. My eyes narrow, my palms get sweaty, and the theme song from "Pale Rider," echoes in my brain. In a flash, my hand drops to my holster like a gunfighter, and I whip the BlackBerry out faster than Wild Bill Hickock.

("Do'nt misse out on this grate stokc! You cna make M--ILLIONS!").

Dang. The last thing I need is to buy stock from some mouth-breathing spammer who thinks I'm going to invest my life's savings into an investment this idiot can't spell. Never take financial or pharmaceutical advice you get by email.

I blow across the top of the BlackBerry, spin it around my finger, and reholster it. I relax a bit, but my hand never strays far from my belt.

Unfortunately, my BlackBerry is also wreaking havoc on my eyesight and attention to detail. The problem is that when I read my emails, I don't always see every word on the screen. As a result, I sometimes miss important information.

"Do you want to meet for coffee?" fellow humorist Dick Wolfsie wrote to me one day.

"Sure, what day?" I tapped back.

"Let me see if this clears it up. Do you want to have coffee ON TUESDAY."

I checked the first message. He had said Tuesday the first time.

Uh oh, I thought. Selective vision.

"I think I have BlackBerryitis," I wrote back. "I'm missing some things when I read my emails."

"Wow, that's too bad," Dick wrote back. "I'll take you to St. Elmo's for a steak for lunch."

"Cool, I haven't been to St. Elmo's in years!"

"Not St. Elmo's, picklehead. I said 'that's too bad. I'll take a few minutes to stop by your office with my friend Elmo. He sells steak knives. Can you meet us after lunch?'"

I rechecked the old message. He was right. Absolutely no mention of St. Elmo's anywhere. Which is too bad, because his friend's steak knives would have come in handy."

"Sorry about that," I typed back. "Looks like my BlackBerryitis is--"

Ow! A sharp pain shot through my thumb, and I nearly dropped my beloved PDA. Another symptom is crippling tendinitis in the thumbs from constant typing. I tried to look up the symptoms of BlackBerryitis on the BlackBerry's Internet browser, but quit after a painful hand cramp. That, and the browser is as slow as a dead turtle.

Painful hand cramps, I found later, are another sign of BlackBerryitis.

So I massaged my hand and looked up BlackBerryitis on my computer. As the pain subsided, I read up on the condition, what causes it, and what famous celebrities use BlackBerries.

Noted rich strumpet Paris Hilton and celebrity whack job Britney Spears are both famous for typing away on their BlackBerries while they're out night clubbing. So is Lindsay Lohan, whose drunken, rambling email to Robert Altman's family after his death made the news for several days.

I breathed a sigh of relief. My condition hasn't gotten too serious yet. I haven't shaved my head, I still wear my underwear to parties, and I save my drunken ramblings for late night phone calls to people from my high school.

("So I suppose that's why I feel so strongly about that today, Principal Seaver.")

But now my friends say I need to cut back a little bit. Quit using the BlackBerry so much. I'm getting hooked, and depend on it for constant companionship.

Bull! I'm fine. I can quit anytime I want to, I just don't want to right now. Besides, I get some pretty important emails that require an immediate response.

BZZZZZ!

"Dear Friend, I am the son of Nigeria's former oil minister, and I have $25 million that I need to smuggle out of my country."

Stupid #&@%! BlackBerry.

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