Nicole Hennessy

A man sits alone in a room consisting of colors that would be monosyllabic if they were language. His eyes are locked on his cell phone. His arms and hands, which have been relieved of the burden of flesh and replaced by the cold sheen of metal and wires, wrap around it intently yet delicately as if in embrace.

From my one-dimensional perspective, he seems indifferent about the diminishment of his human spirit and form. And at the end of this dystopic advertisement, which would cause Aldous Huxley or George Orwell to vomit, the voiceover tells you to buy a Droid cell phone so you can be turned into an “instrument of efficiency.”

After the commercial ends, my television proceeds to flicker messages at me. My blinking eyes swallow fragments of them, assuming they’re not really sinking in, just merely passing through my mind.

Meanwhile, my cell phone — a brain-dead, ink-stained, scratched-to-shit hunk of black and red plastic with a picture of my cat on the front — sits next to me. It is one of those archaic models that makes and receives calls and text messages. It does not turn into a piano or a jukebox or a guide dog or a movie theater or a video camera or a casino or an art museum or a mall or a post office or a race car. I couldn’t care less.

I wonder if the impossibly long list of things that phones are capable of doing is creating a more efficient population or a more oblivious one.

Technological advances that help you achieve your daily tasks are intended to render you a more industrious member of society. Sadly, as a result, it seems like human interaction is increasingly becoming an option.

The reason I don’t want my phone to become everything I never needed it to be is because I feel like the lack of a smart phone gives me more freedom. I think people get weighed down by the abundance of convenience that technology affords them.

I don’t like the implication that anything you have to go out of your way to do is a constraint on the inadequate number of hours each day consists of.

Even as I’m writing this, my overworked cousin rushes into the living room, sighs and claims that “there are not enough hours in the day.”

I feel sorry for people who revel in the prospect of becoming an “instrument of efficiency.” And I fear that a cell phone tower somewhere is intercepting the sound of their groaning souls.

I’m not saying that every person who uses a smart phone is a slightly diminished replica of a human being; I just think the potential is there.

Like in my cousin’s case, even people who do not depend on do-it-all phones are prone to buying into the rabid proficiency level that modern America seems to be selling its citizens.

I think we would all benefit from powering off sometimes and simply watching the day roll by.

Nicole Hennessy is a senior magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at