Why the Hell Is There An App for That?

There's soul searching and then there's sole searching

My son Jake had no sooner arrived back at college after Christmas break than he lost his cell phone. For some reason I don’t really understand having to do with upgrades and two-for-one deals, the upshot of this was that both he and his sister, who’s also off at college, got new Droid phones, and I got zilch, unless you count the bill for said Droids, along with all the higher bills these “smart phones” will generate for years to come. If that sounds like I’m jealous, I’m not. Even though I don’t have apps.

I’m not really sure what apps are, but I get press releases at work every day for new ones. I got a press release for one recently that’s called “My Roadside Assistant.” As far as I can tell, it’s a way to store my AAA account number, insurance card and emergency contact information on my smart phone, because that’s so much easier than reaching into my wallet and pulling out my AAA card, insurance card and emergency contact info. Or take the press release for “SoleSearch,” “the world’s first mobile sneaker boutique application.” This nifty app lets me search anywhere within a 500-mile radius for fancy little shops selling overpriced Nikes.

You kids are just dicking with us, right?

If only my phone were smarter. I could get an app that would turn it into a guitar and let me play it. Really! I could get an app that would let me scan the bar code on the broccoli at the Giant and find out where it was grown. I could get an app that would let me play Angry Birds, so I could try to understand what that’s all about. I could buy an app that would let me navigate the high seas should I happen to find myself aboard my yacht, but I’d better be really, really careful with that one, because if a smart phone is anything like the sequence of dumb phones Jake’s gone through in his short life, I’m in deep doo if it gets wet.

You know what I’d like to have? An app to tell me where young people are getting all the time they seem to have on their hands. But maybe, since I’m so old and decrepit, I should just shell out for “Confession: A Roman Catholic App,” which has just been officially sanctioned by the Catholic Church. It lets me scroll through the Ten Commandments to check off which ones I’ve recently broken, and includes lots of “probing questions” that suss out how I’ve sinned. The app is meant to ease the way for the 45 percent of Catholics who never go to confession via these customizable examinations of their consciences.

Then again, Dear Lord, please, just take me now.