Gadgets are a great distraction for the securely planted and the financially well-endowed. As I am deeply happy but do not fit either of the above criteria, I’m just going to say this out loud…
I don’t want an iPad.
Now, just a minute. Let’s say you had some inside hook-up with a guy at Apple, and you were currently in the middle of wrapping up a new iPad with my name on it, and you felt like a sandwich, so you turned to go toward the fridge when you saw your laptop and decided to check your email, only to be distracted by your RSS reader, in which you saw my blog had been updated, and you are just now reading this and are planning to return said iPad with my name on it… Don’t. It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. Right up there with the birth of my children and the Hubble Telescope.
But lack of money realigns a person’s priorities. Sure, receiving a free iPad in the mail would make me either blink repeatedly and vibrate in place or squeal like a third grade girl. But God is allowing a season of stretched finances and refocused attention on what matters. Family. Time together. Faith. Purpose. Having less in the bank means more dependence on God, and more contentment with less of the frivolous.
Even as I type, I recognize the “Americanization” of my viewpoint. I’m wildly, abundantly, unbelievably rich by much the world’s standards. Roof? Check. Meals? Check. Clean water? Check. Kids have a Wii? Check. Even though we stopped trying to keep up with the Jones family a long time ago, I’m grateful. Just short on disposable income in this season.
So, Apple, here’s what I think about your latest iDoo-Haw… I think it’s genius, beautiful, and truly revolutionary. I think you will succeed in pioneering a whole new tier of gadgetry – filling the void between laptops and smart phones. I believe everyone in America will soon see the “need” for (at least) one of these. I believe they will fill school classrooms in the not-so-distant future. I believe that I can hear the whoosh of intellectual energy being sucked further into the digital hinterland.
Because the iPad is perfect for individual entertainment. Nice big screen – for one person. Great for reading books, playing games, surfing the web, managing email – by yourself. All beautiful, smooth, intuitive, and accommodating the individual. It’s like a perfectly designed “leave me alone” machine.
Honestly, it’s more than the cold, hard fact that we can’t afford a new gadget right now that is making me eschew my normal Pavlovian response to cool techno-gadgetry. It’s the fact that living tight on funds has changed my priorities. I’ve enjoyed coffee more lately. Savored it. I like simple, real moments. I enjoy wrestling my boys more. Being home. As I spend more time on side jobs to pay the bills, my “off” time is more precious. I’m watching fewer movies. I’ve given up novels (except on vacation… gotta have a book by the pool!). And although the iPad legitimately may be the coolest advance in gadgetry in my lifetime thus far, I just don’t think there’s any way I can justify lusting over one.
Deep down, I’m hoping my dear readers come up with several reasons why owning an iPad would deeply enrich our lives, strengthen our family bonds, further the Kingdom of God, and cure cancer. Because it looks ridiculously off-the-charts awesome. But, somehow, I think I’ll manage to resist the great societal sucking sound coming from all those little glowing screens, and choose contentment instead.
Unless, like I said, you have an inside hook-up with a guy at Apple? Anyone? Bueller?
“what iWant :: the apple iPad video, gadgetry, and that distant sucking sound” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.