I read a lot of blogs. More accurately, I end up reading a lot of blogs because my friends post a lot of links to blogs on Facebook and Twitter. On one hand, it’s a good thing because it brings me closer to the howling din of humanity. On the other hand, it’s a bad thing because it introduces loathsome concepts to my pure, unspoiled mind.
One such concept is a dinner game known as “Phone Stack.” I read about it a few days ago, and it chilled me to the core. The premise of this game is pretty simple, but its underlying motive is nefarious. As each person arrives to dinner, they place their phone face-down in the center of the table. Each subsequent diner does the same, until there is a stack of cell phones acting as a centerpiece for the meal.
The object of the game is to resist reclaiming your phone for the duration of the meal, instead devoting the whole of your attention to your comrades and their shrill anecdotes. You see, throughout the dinner the phones’ chirps and vibrations will remind the attendees of all the juicy status updates, tweets and cat photos they are missing out on. Should any member of the dining party cave and recover their phone, that person has to pay the entire dinner bill.
As you can likely surmise, Phone Stack is designed to temporarily shatter the deep, maternal bond we have with our phones. If you read between the lines, it’s a game that’s meant to make you question your reliance on technology and how it may have chipped away at your ability to enjoy the company of others.
To borrow a phrase from the porcine scourers of the planet, I think Phone Stack is hogwash.
It’s very popular to wag one’s finger at heavy tech users and chide them for seemingly shunning the world of many peeps for the world of tinny beeps. I get that a lot, sometimes in the form of messages written in frosting atop birthday cakes. (Good one, mom.) However, the sheer volume of this rhetoric doesn’t mean they’re right.
Deliberately ignoring your phone for any stretch of time may produce serious consequences that simply aren’t worth the potential for a free dinner.
Let’s say you’re engaged in a totally well-reasoned argument with someone on the internet. You’re on the cusp of winning this argument, because true arguments are won online between total strangers, when you decide to abandon your phone in order to appease someone else’s concept of manners. With nary a sound, you cede defeat to your adversary and lose precious web cred.
For a more applicable example, let’s say that during dinner you strike upon a topic that gives rise to a point of contention. A simple Google search would put the matter to rest, but since you’re relinquished your phone, you have to battle on ignorantly. This approach may result in severed ties with certain friends, leading to fewer dinner invitations in the future.
Do you see what I’m getting at? Playing Phone Stack will turn friend against friend, lover against lover, until there is nothing left but ashes and dessert menus. Don’t let it happen, friends. Hold your phone close. Caress it. The stack is wack.