Can you imagine what it must have been like when electricity was invented?

Since I have not done any actual research on any of the subjects I am about to discuss, just follow along and pretend I know what I am talking about. For years, men, women, and children would sit in the dark once the sun went down. I imagine that the day just ended. If you were reading, you had to stop. If the kids were playing a game, they had to stop. In the middle of cooking? You had to hope that it wouldn’t spoil and that a dinosaur wouldn’t eat it. And then, there was light — all of the time! And light bulbs! And, most likely, fights about who needed to go out and buy more light bulbs and then who was going to have to change the light bulbs. And where is the stepstool needed to reach the light bulbs? I have always said that if I leave this earth before husband #1, he is going to have to get remarried, and if he doesn’t, someone is going to have to change the light bulbs for him or he will be watching television in the dark.

With each invention came both wonderful things and new challenges. The automobile — great invention, right? But how many accidents happened with horses and buggies? And now the cars are so high tech that they can park themselves. And drive themselves. And make noise when you accidentally veer into another lane. (That is for people who switch lanes and then signal. I am not mentioning any names of those who do that. All I will say is that when we rented a car with lane changing beeping, the person driving kept getting startled whenever the car would make a noise. And I would say, “If you would signal, look, and then change lanes, you wouldn’t keep getting beeped!” But, again, I am not mentioning any names.)

And now we have smartphones. Now that was an invention. For years, I would not give in and get a smartphone. I think I was one of the few people who never texted. Quite honestly, I think that relationships were better before texting. Sarcasm does not translate well in a text. (Not that is translates that well in real life, but it is definitely worse via text.) I had Grandma Flippy, and I used her only for phone calls. Grandma Flippy’s demise began when folks would include me in group texts. Poor Grandma couldn’t handle the pressure, and she would have all sorts of seizures. Eventually, my family stopped listening to me (though, do they ever listen to me?) and they went and bought me an iPhone for my (and when I say “my” I mean “our”) 20th wedding anniversary.

I couldn’t return it because my three sons got it for me, and how could I disappoint them? I still have years (hopefully) to disappoint them about so many other things. I had to keep the phone. And I had to learn how to use the phone. I still think apps are appetizers, but that is because I am always thinking of food. And speaking of apps, apparently I have two Instagram accounts, one that I know about, and one that I didn’t know I have. I have no idea how to get on the former and I don’t know what to do about the latter. So much for inventions.

In any event, there has been much commotion about the new iPhone — I think it is the iPhone 20, or it could be the iPhone 10; again, I have no idea. On the news, they showed all of the people who were sleeping on the street for days, so they would be first in line for the new phone.

This new phone costs about a thousand dollars. For a phone. The people sleeping on the street looked like the protestors against the one percent from a few years back. Were they the one percent? Isn’t that who can afford a one thousand dollar phone? And what does this new phone do, exactly? Does it know who you aren’t speaking to and automatically screens your calls and texts? Does it make you look thinner in selfies?

Inventions — they are good, they are bad, and if you are talking about an Apple product, they are expensive. Let’s hope they help make the world a better place, because, for the last few weeks, they haven’t been doing all that much.

Be careful. Stay safe and use your new iPhone in good health….

Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck wishes we could go back to a simpler time, when bagels were four for a dollar and gas was practically free.

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