Summer night on the North Shore. Your wife, your dog and you are having ice cream at a sidewalk hangout surrounded by a gaggle of teens. The kids all have smart phones on which they’re happily texting as they socialize.
This gets you thinking about the word “phones.” These ubiquitous devices are called phones, but they’re not being used as phones all that much.
Your own kids are using smartphones for more than phoning. So are you, your friends, neighbors, people in movie theaters who sit in front of you, drivers who don’t move after stoplights turn green…
You wonder—why are these devices even called phones? Maybe they need a smarter name. After all, phones are for your ears. And these things are for so much more…
When you can’t sleep, you can read a book on one. Sometimes you watch videos on your phone. Or TV shows, even movies. You take pictures with it! You do a lot more LOOKING at your phone than listening to it.
You look at emails, websites, news stories, weather reports. And texts, lots of texts. You’ve become “thumb-i-dexterous” from pressing those little keyboard letters so fast.
So, yeah, you spend more time looking at your phone for countless reasons than you do listening to it for the one reason that it’s also a phone.
And you muse: maybe it shouldn’t be called a phone at all. Phones are for ears. This thing should be called something for eyes. Hey, you got it: an “eye phone.” Sounds perfect.
But wait, hasn’t that name already been taken?
This story was originally published in The North Shore Weekend newspaper.