quit screwing around on your phone.

26 Aug

This is the first post I’ve ever written where two of my close friends are going to read it and realize, “Hold on, wait, is he talking specifically about me?”  Yes, Zanzibar and Casey, I am.  Because you see, kind readers, Zanzibar and Casey have a problem. One tiny, entire-Internet-in-your-hand, Words With Friends, iProblem.  And, they’re not alone.

Gentlemen, we are on the precipice of a cultural shift. One that finds us teetering between connecting with the world around us, or choosing the red pill and disappearing into a sea of games, email, social networking, texting, et cetera, et cetera.  In short, guys are using their iDroidBerrys when they shouldn’t be — and it’s ungentlemanly.  Zanzibar, Casey, and all the other good men with a bad habit, allow me to give you the rules:

1- If you’re in a room with other people who could possible interact with you (social event, meeting), your amazing phone is stripped away of all cool features and is now only to be used for receipt of calls and text messages.

2- Should you receive a call or text during one of these social times, you need to know when it’s okay to even look at the phone and when it’s not.  While there are many exceptions to the rule, in general, you shouldn’t acknowledge the phone unless you’re expecting an important call.  In which case, you should forewarn the group that “The Blue Men might be calling at 8pm for me to fill in as their understudy” or something similar.  Barring that call from The Blue Men, you’ll need to pretend the phone doesn’t exist.

3- If you are talking face-to-face with a small group or single person, there is absolutely no reason on the planet why the phone shouldn’t be on silent and completely void of your attention.  If, and only if, there’s something important happening (like The Blue Men), you can preface your conversation with the “I might need to be rude…” disclaimer.

4- Use the Rubik’s Cube rule.  What’s the Rubik’s Cube rule, you ask? Here we go:  If it would be appropriate for you to pull out a Rubik’s Cube and start playing with it, it would be acceptable for you to screw around with the apps, games, texting, and other trappings of your ComputerPhone 5000.  Having stated that rule, is it appropriate to hop on and launch penguins during a staff meeting? Think about it…picture it…everybody is watching you play with a Rubik’s Cube, how odd!…ok, no, it’s not appropriate to launch penguins during the staff meeting.   Let’s try another one:  You’re standing in front of me and you get a Push notification that your 5th grade friend just “liked” your link about the newest Lego Starwars Game.  Should you check it?  Huh, let’s visualize the moment… “Hey, why in the hell are you playing Rubik’s Cube while I’m talking to you!”  So no, it’s not okay.

It is okay, however, to pop out the Rubik’s Cube while you’re walking around, sitting in a park, at home with nothing to do, or during other times of general leisure.  Don’t worry, you’ll still have plenty of time (if not too much time) to waste hours in front of your 4G god.

5- I’m going to blow through this rule quickly because it makes me kinda sick and hacky.  Here we go…  Do not use your phone (oh god, I’m feeling queasy), okay, do not use your phone in the (here comes the bile)…in the bathroom!  For reasons of hygiene, personal space, and overall weirdness, your iPhone can no longer be your crap-paddle.  I gotta move on, sorry…this is gross.

Zanzibar, Casey, and if I’m being honest, the Grown Man writing this post — we’ve got to keep the balance of relationships being paramount, and technology being novel.  Because, and this is the reality, cool technology will never stop being attractive to ADD guys who love shiny/noisy things.  From the wheel to The Terminator, all of our history and future will be marked with advances that make life easier but that also need to be met with temperance.  So go and enjoy your iDroidBerry, it really is okay.  But also make sure you put it away and make eye contact.

You’re a Grown Man, quit screwing around on your phone.

Ironically, this post is also formatted for viewing on a mobile device.  Please, please, please though — don’t read this in the bathroom.

30 Responses to “quit screwing around on your phone.”

  1. Dare Right 26 August 2010 at 1:53 pm #

    Great post, GM!

    What should also be on the list of times to NEVER use your phone: While driving.

    • You're a Grown Man 26 August 2010 at 1:57 pm #

      Yes, I 100% agree. But I figured Oprah took care of that for me. Either way, you’re totally right.

      Thanks for reading, Dare!

      • Dare Right 26 August 2010 at 6:09 pm #

        Haha, very true. But I figured it can’t be stressed too much.

        Thanks for writing, GM!

  2. Amber 26 August 2010 at 2:11 pm #

    For the love. Why do people think it’s okay to use their phone in one of the dirtiest places on the planet? I’ve blogged about this before (http://rebmarose.blogspot.com/2009/06/technology-no-no.html) and it drives me crazy when people feel it’s socially acceptable. Loved the Rubik’s Cube rule. Great stuff, buddy. Thanks for posting, GM! ~A

    • You're a Grown Man 26 August 2010 at 2:17 pm #

      Thank you! I kinda thought the Rubik’s Cube rule was hyper-nerdy, maybe too nerdy, but I just couldn’t come up with anything better. I’m glad you dug it.

      Also, I like your blog…keep writing. Please.


  3. dina 26 August 2010 at 2:31 pm #

    Such good advice. I hosted a dinner party not long ago and this dude had the nerve to bust out his iphone in the middle of dinner and start playing with it. As if he were suddenly too uber-cool to engage in dinner table small talk. I’m still annoyed by it. I’m Amber’s (above) friend and I also like her blog. 🙂

    • You're a Grown Man 26 August 2010 at 2:49 pm #

      Oh yeah, that is annoying! But you know what’s crazy? I sometimes don’t even think it’s because guys are “too uber-cool”. I think it’s because the allure of that device and all it’s hidden treasures is too much for a guy to handle if he’s not really thinking about it and paying attention. Or, maybe, the dude was just too uber-cool — who knows. Anyhow, thanks for reading and for being Amber’s (above) friend! We all need good pals.

  4. J.J. Merrick 26 August 2010 at 3:08 pm #

    nice one… got to remember the Rubik’s Cube rule!

  5. Honestly Just Don't Get It 26 August 2010 at 3:50 pm #

    Grown Man,

    I appreciate how several of your posts are a perfect setup for your readers to really go off. I’ve refrained until this point, but this one has set me off. Please take my rant below as an affirmation that you’re speaking to a wide audience…

    I just don’t get the iPhone thing. Yes, great toys. Perhaps even useful at times. But why have most of the people I know decided they absolutely need one to survive? One friend posted on her Facebook account, “I’m finally entering the 21st century and buying an iPhone today.” Another posted, “Just got a message from Apple reminding me to get the new iPhone G4 today… as if I would forget.” How did any of them live back in 2006?

    My frustrations are two-fold, and you have at least addressed the one about inappropriate use. The other…

    I know several people who mention that they’re having money problems. Almost every single one of those people — including both of those I quoted above — has an iPhone. Since when did people decide that a several hundreds dollar phone (the cheap part) with a $15-30 PER MONTH service plan (didn’t it change recently?) is a necessity, not just a luxury for those with lots of extra cash to blow?

    Also worth discussing… how is the iPhone much different from a grown man who walks around with a Game Boy in his pocket? I suppose some would talk about all its useful functions and apps, but all I typically see is grown men – and women – using them like toys. Perhaps I’ll start carrying a Game Boy in my pocket as my own personal prophetic critique.

    End rant.

  6. Coco 26 August 2010 at 3:52 pm #

    Oh, the “bathroom stall is my telephone booth” crowd. I’m sorry to say I have been known to make rude noises when I am forced to overhear why Ms. Stall Next Door hates her ex-BFF in excruciating detail. I know that doesn’t speak well of me as a GW, but I feel strangely satisfied afterward.

    • ryan 27 August 2010 at 9:43 am #

      Same here I’ll make sure to flush a couple extra times and fart loudly if I can manage it. Serves ’em right!

    • You're a Grown Man 30 August 2010 at 7:39 am #

      You gotta do what you gotta do, right? But still, it’s gross — and funny.

  7. Gustavo 26 August 2010 at 6:15 pm #

    It’s not that I overuse my phone for apps, but I guess I listen to music on earphones way too much. So, I’ve broken the Rubik’s cube rule too :(. Living and learning…

  8. Josiah 26 August 2010 at 7:21 pm #

    My wife reads this, and she is going to start holding me to new standards, especially the one about using the phone on the crapper. This is unacceptable. Stop ruining my life!!!! 🙂

  9. mct88 26 August 2010 at 7:41 pm #

    Just to get it out there: The fart app is gross do not use it for mixed company. Please!


  10. Tony 26 August 2010 at 10:17 pm #


    Finally, someone says it.

    I’d like to point out, though, that it’s not limited to iDroidberries. I couldn’t give a damn about your bloody apps. I just really, really hate how attached people are to their phones. I hate that some people are text fanatics, and would rather be texting someone all night than engaging with people they’re actually supposed to be spending time with.

    Douglas Coupland had a nice piece about it in jPod; one of the characters states (and I’m probably paraphrasing), “remember how, in 1995, if someone pulled out a cellphone in public, we thought they were an asshole? Well, we’re all assholes now.”

  11. eva3402 28 August 2010 at 8:06 am #

    I love you like Altoids for this post.

  12. taylor ray 31 August 2010 at 6:53 pm #

    Great post man.
    I recently had a group of friends that would “Hang out” but in reaility everyone would spend time together n teh same room while texting other people not there. Everyone but me, bacause I find it terribly annoying I started leaving my phone in the car during dinners, events, church, or anything else that involved social gatherings so that I would be more engaged in the actual face-to-face interactions. After some time I slowly excused myself from these people, and they never really saw me leave the group, but occasionally they’ll still text me.

  13. Brady 31 August 2010 at 10:21 pm #

    Are you kidding me?!? So if I’m out with a group of friends I’m not supposed to answer my phone at all unless I’m expecting an important call? That’s ******* ridiculous…what if it’s an emergency? It could be anything. Just because I’m with people doesn’t mean my life goes on hold while I’m with them…I hope your family has a crisis and you’re busy with friends and ignore your phone you idiot. Also seriously why not take such devices into the bathroom? It’s not like my hands are getting covered in **** as I play…the device is going no where NEAR anything that is considered dirty. When I’m done and ready to go it goes back in my pocket, I take care of my business and go on my way…where is the part where the phone gets covered in gross things? You sir are just a fool who probably has a **** phone.

    • You're a Grown Man 31 August 2010 at 10:48 pm #

      You, my friend, win the best comment of all time! No matter who comments now, it’ll never get better than this one. Thank you for reading, Brady, and taking the time to comment.

    • Disgusting. 11 October 2010 at 1:11 pm #

      If you cannot for at least five minutes to go pee or crap without your phone you have a problem. It IS disgusting and you are sad. To waste your day or in fact life on a square object instead of looking at the beautiful things in life then you are missing out and I hope you realize it one day. What a loser to be on their phone all day. I wouldn’t want to spend time with someone not even paying attention to me. Sir put the phone down and get a life disgusting low life.

  14. Pixel 31 August 2010 at 10:54 pm #

    But my iPhone is so much more interesting than people! 😦

    I need your friends WWF names, all of my friends couldn’t sustain the obsession!

    PixelTreason if anyone wants to play, haha.

  15. JRocc 1 September 2010 at 12:09 pm #

    I have to disagree with #5…Tweeting while Deucing is one of the few joys in life. Sorry, I will NOT give it up.

    • You're a Grown Man 1 September 2010 at 1:41 pm #

      Everything in me wants to be sarcastic…

      However, I can’t stop laughing at the phrase “Tweeting while Duecing” — well done!

  16. Loopy 1 September 2010 at 9:11 pm #

    So by #5’s logic, anything that goes into the bathroom is contaminated. Shall we burn the clothes we wear in there while doing our business?

    • Steve Parker 2 September 2010 at 4:22 am #

      After reading this article, I’ve decided that the only thing worse than people who use their phones in public settings are the people who whine about it and consider it their job to determine for others what is acceptable behavior. If someone’s phone behavior is so disturbing to you that you feel you must blog about it, find other people to hang out with! Find those people who will live up to your high standards and then you won’t have to waste your valuable time calling your friends to live up to your level of perfection…


  1. 13 Things (v. 1) | Traveling Boots - 1 October 2010

    […] A lesson for all of us who screw around on our phones too much. Use the Rubik’s Cube rule.  What’s the Rubik’s Cube rule, you ask? Here we go:  […]

  2. Ask a Grown Man: Vol. XV | You're A Grown Man - 24 June 2013

    […] it’s awful),  #61 – Wear a Watch (he checks his iPhone – a lot), which ties in with #67 – Quit Screwing Around on Your Phone (he’ll literally play Candy Crush during a funeral if given the […]

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