It’s been a week and I haven’t ordered the new iPhone yet. That’s progress!

My name is Sara, and I’m an Apple-aholic.


Hi Sara.

Thanks. Like most of you here, it started years ago with an iPod. Just a little, 32GB iPod. Everyone else already had one. I tried to be a good girl and just use my little non-Apple mp3 player, but everyone made fun of it. So I gave in to the peer pressure and tried my first Apple product. I’d seen my dad using them, so really, how much harm could there be in trying something Apple?

And at first, I had it under control. That one iPod was enough for me for a long time. True, I started toting it everywhere with me, just in case. And yes, I used it to hide from uncomfortable social situations. Turn it on, slip those little white earbuds in, and suddenly I felt good again. Was it a crutch? Yes. But I couldn’t see that at the time because it was just one little iPod.

I should have known there was a problem when I had to have it wired into my car because I just couldn’t function without it. And when I would panic if I didn’t have it with me. But one little iPod can’t hurt you, right?

But then I got my MacBook Pro. I’d had a Dell laptop (which, admittedly, I had wanted because they came in colors. I’m a girl. Deal with it.). And that’s when the addiction really got bad. Because I never wanted to touch that old Dell again once I had my MacBook. Oh no. Everything just felt RIGHT when I used my Mac. Everything worked.  There were no more viruses to worry about.  No left button/right button confusion. And I felt superior to all those PC people who had to hit “CTRL” instead of “Command.” Losers.

And I didn’t even have an iPhone or an iPad! Clearly I wasn’t an addict. Addicts couldn’t be away from their Mac products for longer than three seconds without dying like the the guy who drank from the wrong cup in the third Indiana Jones movie. I, on the other hand, chose wisely.  I could leave my iPod in my purse for most of the day and be fine.


That’s how they suck you in though. That MacBook is a gateway drug. Because it came with a free iPod touch. Which meant that I was using Apple more than ever. I could leave my old iPod in the car and use the touch for everything else. I could even use it to get online when I had wifi and was away from my computer.  Which, yes, I could do with my Blackberry, but it was just BETTER with an Apple product.

And oh how I clung to that Blackberry! I saw how addicted my dad had become to the Apple way of life, and I know that addictions are hereditary.  I didn’t want to go that route. So I vowed never to get an iPhone! Never to get an iPad! Never to fall prey to that Apple-induced madness that possesses addicts every time a new product is announced! Oh no, not me! I didn’t have a problem! I could stop any time I wanted to.

Addicts, however, tend to surround themselves with other addicts to justify their behavior. And my parents are no different. Like the worst of smokers and drinkers, I started using my parents’ iPads when they weren’t looking. A websearch here. A Facebook update there. An email. A YouTube video. A round of Words With Friends. But they caught on. And because they don’t see their own addictions as a problem, instead of castigating me, they bought me an iPad for my birthday last year. The Apple TV quickly followed suit.


And after that, there was no turning back. I woke up at 2:45am the night that the iPhone 4S went on sale to make sure I was alert enough to order mine EXACTLY at 3am. I claimed I had a doctor’s appointment and left school early the day it was delivered–the FIRST day that anyone could have one, to rush home to set it up. Behavior that a non-addict would find simply appalling.

I couldn’t stop though. I popped apps like they were TicTacs. I spent countless hours installing things I didn’t need, had no use for, but craved because they were there and they enhanced my Apple products like nothing else could. I preferred texting other Apple users because they too acted like our behavior was normal. They got it. And with iMessage, I could see when they were replying to me. And we could send emojis. Non-Apple users didn’t understand and judged us for preferring the company of other Apple-aholics. Clearly THEY were the ones with the problems.  Not us.  Never us. And even if some of my friends were addicted, I wasn’t.  I couldn’t be an addict. 

But when they announced the new iPhone 5 and I actually debated spending $700 on one because my contract isn’t up for another year, I realized that I had a serious problem. Buying the iPhone 5 was the equivalent of going SEVEN Springsteen shows. (Okay, three with Ticketmaster fees. But still). I have bills to pay. A mortgage. A schnauzer to feed. And I was actually debating spending that much money just to get the new iPhone a few months earlier.  Not good.

Maybe there was a way though.  The day that the announcement was made, I tried to figure out if I could make the money.  But when I posted this on my Facebook (JOKINGLY):

And got THIS as a reply from someone who shall remain nameless, but whom I will from now on refer to as the Creepiest Person I Know:

I realized my addiction had gone too far.  (NO I DID NOT CONSIDER HIS OFFER.  I’m NOT that bad!  But that is a REAL, UNEDITED message that I got the night that the iPhone announcement was made.  SCARY.)

So I’m taking a stand. I’m going to try to break the cycle of addiction. I can make do with the 4S with the upgraded iOS6, which does let it do most of the same stuff as the iPhone 5.  No, it doesn’t have the slightly different body to let everyone know immediately that my phone is superior to theirs in every possible way. But I’m strong. I can manage. And, God willing, with the help of other Apple-aholics out there who are also fighting the urge to spend $700 on a slightly better phone just because it’s new and Apple makes it, I can resist the daily temptation to buy the iPhone 5. I know the craving won’t ever actually go away. But I just need to take it one day at a time.

That’s all any of us can do, right?

It’s been on sale for pre-orders for over a week now. I’ve made it a week so far.  And that’s longer than I ever thought I would be able to last. It’s been hard.  Especially because my dad ordered his right when they went on sale. And I was lying there in bed, staring at the ceiling, praying that I would have the strength to stay away from my MacBook.  Because I knew that as soon as I sat down at that screen, I wouldn’t be able to resist going to the Apple homepage and ordering that phone. But I’ve made it this far, and I keep hoping I’ll have the strength to resist even when I see other people with the new iPhone.

Damn you, Steve Jobs! I feel your icy grip clutching me from beyond the grave!

God, I want that phone.

Stolen from http://theoatmeal.com/comics/apple
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Teaching 9/11 to students too young to remember

It’s first period and, as I do most years on this day, I’m staring at a computer screen, debating scrapping my lesson plans for the day in favor of some kind of September 11 activity.

Some years I’ve gone with my gut and done it, some years I’ve gone with my gut and haven’t. With ninth graders, it’s usually a huge flop anyway, as they tend to have the attention span of fruit flies on acid. In journalism, you can focus on the news coverage, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t depending on what you use. I’ve found that the falling man images are a little too extreme for me, let alone kids.

But this year, I realized something: I can’t do a “Where were you when you first heard what happened?” activity. Or one about how the events of that day changed you. Because my freshmen were three years old on September 11, 2001, and if they did know something big was going on, they certainly weren’t able to understand the magnitude of it.

In a sense, I envy these kids. They never experienced the lost feeling of safety that none of us who remember it well will probably ever fully recover. They don’t remember the utter incomprehension of that day. The frantic phone calls. The sighs of relief when they went through. The panic when they didn’t.

To these kids, 9/11 is no more real than the Cold War was to me. I was alive during the end of it, but it never meant anything to me. I never hid under my desk in a bomb drill or had nightmares about the Soviets blowing us up. My first understanding that my world might not be impenetrably safe came when my elementary school teacher let us watch CNN when the Gulf War started—something so unheard of that we were glued to the screen, fascinated. I remember hearing the phrase “terrorist reprisals” mentioned and, in my young mind, the only image I could fathom was silent, Arabian Nights-style extremists climbing up to my window, a pirate-like cutlass between their teeth, to slit my little American throat. But when I confessed this fear to my parents and was assured that a) that wasn’t what the phrase meant and b) that I was perfectly safe, I went on with my unworried childhood.

I don’t even remember thinking the word “terrorism” again until the Oklahoma City bombing, which only had a strong impact on me because my brother’s friend’s father died in that. And as a teenager, it was still something that happened to other people, someplace far away, even though I knew someone involved.

But for my generation, 9/11 changed our collective social consciousness, probably in a similar way to the effect that the Kennedy assassination had on my parents’ generation. It became our “Where were you when?” moment. Maybe every generation has one of those. Maybe every generation needs one. And I’m sure that my current students, who are too young to remember mine, will have their innocence stripped away in one of those moments all too soon.

Maybe it’s wrong to not focus on it in my classes today. You could certainly argue that I’m not doing my part to honor the memory of the innocent people who died eleven years ago. And I would agree with you. But I don’t know that there’s an appropriate English-class way to make them understand why it’s so important. I personally could write a paper on the Kennedy assassination or the Cold War or Hiroshima, but I couldn’t really feel it because I didn’t live it. And that’s part of my decision to stick to the curriculum today.

But the other part is that while I was one of the lucky ones who didn’t lose anyone eleven years ago, it was still a day that changed me. It changed all of us who are old enough to really remember it. And part of me wants to let these kids keep their innocence until the world forces them to lose it. Yes, by all means, teach them what happened in history class and at home. Explain the significance. Help them to understand what happened in a way that those of who saw that second plane crash into the World Trade Center never truly will. But don’t teach them that they have to live with the fear that we never completely lost because of the events of 9/11.

They’ll learn that lesson on their own soon enough.