Mike Buzzelli

Column Mike Buzzelli

Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and published author. He is a theater and arts critic for 'Burgh Vivant, Pittsburgh's online cultural talk magazine, and an active board member of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, the Carnegie Arts Initiative and the Carnegie Screenwriters. His book, "Below Average Genius" is a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column here in the Observer-Reporter.

An app for an app

December 7, 2012

The cellphone was supposed to make our lives easier.

I remember when I got my first one. I was only going to use it for emergencies. Suddenly, “bored and sitting in traffic” became an emergency.

I like to use that time in the car productively, instead of concentrating on where I am going and what I am doing. I’ve walked out of the house on the phone looking for my phone. Distracted. I can’t survive a trip to the grocery store without having to call someone and check in before I check out.

True Story: Way back in 1973, Martin Cooper, who invented the cellphone, tested the portable telephone on Sixth Avenue in New York City. He was almost run over by a car while crossing the street on said device. Cooper was literally the first person to be distracted while talking on a cellphone, and it was during the first call. By the way, the phone weighed two and a half pounds, and his first call was to his competitor at Bell Labs. It was a “nyah, nyah” call.

When I was at Disney, I was waiting for an executive to fall down an elevator shaft. Not one of them looked up from their Blackberries when getting on the elevator. Kids, Blackberries were cellphones without a lower case “i” in front of them.

Don’t get me started on the applications or apps (as these young whippersnappers say these days). Now, it’s even more distracting with games on your phone.

The device that was trying to save me time is taking up more time than ever. For a long time, I only used my phone to make calls and get annoyed by texts. By the way, if you need to send out information that is more than one paragraph long, just call me. I hate the back-and-forth text game. A problem that could be solved in two minutes takes 10. Planning a trip to the movies should not aggravate your carpal tunnel.

Recently, I started playing Words with Friends (a digital Scrabble game that isn’t made by the Scrabble people). Prior to the invention of this new digital version, having “words with friends” was considered a bad thing. I think it’s hilarious that they’re coming out with the Words with Friends board game edition. Doesn’t every family in America already have a Scrabble board?

While playing Words with Friends, I learned that a friend was using an app designed to cheat at the friendly game. There is a logarithm that gives you the best possible choices for your seven letter tiles. An app for your app! I would like to design an app that lets you know that someone is using the app to cheat. An app for your app for your app. Of course, then they could invent an app that lets them know that you know that they’re cheating. An app for your app for your app for your app. And it could go on app infinitum, but I have to go. Someone is calling me.



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