The Washington Post

Dear BlackBerry, about that outage . . .

I have one of these, but only ironically. (Francis Vachon/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

RIM’s once cherished handheld is going the way of the dodo, in the sense that it would embarrass you if your friends discovered you were carrying a dodo in your back pocket.

It’s fallen into the Shame Zone of bygone technology. Show up to work with underwear on the outside of your pants? You might be a superhero. Toilet paper trailing off your shoe? Maybe you were dressed as a mummy earlier. But admit to having a BlackBerry and everyone shrinks from you as though you’ve just admitted you have leprosy — or a MySpace presence. “You’re one of those people who doesn’t understand technology anymore,” they say, shuddering. It’s the horrible, creeping modern affliction — far worse than death. Death is something Steve Jobs has, so it must be all right. (Too soon?)

On Twitter, people are already hunting for other uses for the BlackBerry. I hear it makes a terrible flowerpot. If you throw it at someone, it will momentarily stun him but cause no lasting harm. It’s about the right heft for first-time jugglers.

But, BlackBerry, is this really how it ends? For years, we endured the tirades of our iPhone-equipped friends. “Uh, the e-mail server is secure,” we said. “Arianna Huffington has one. And I really like the keyboard! My fingers were not designed for the iPhone! Whenever I type on an iPhone it autocorrects to ‘sensual gaspacho’ and makes my boss look askance.”

We bought the latest phones, even though you insisted on naming them after stone-age technology like the Torch. And now you punish us for our loyalty?

BlackBerry, for the past two years, my life has consisted of a constant, feverish effort to hide the fact that I still carry your Jobs-forsaken device.

 “What, this old thing?” I ask. “It’s just an ironic retro skin for my new iPhone 4S. I got it to go with my record player. But under there I’ve got all the latest cutting-edge technology, hoo boy! Apple’s new voice-activated Siri and everything!"

My friends nod, a bit bewildered. “What is the point of everything?” I ask my phone loudly. “What do the Occupy Wall Street protesters most desire?”


“You see,” I say. “It’s thinking.”

And just when I thought I’d be able to get away with it — this outage.

Usually when I send 3 a.m. messages to my boss, it is a poor decision I have come to on my own, not a server error somewhere overseas that has delayed the sending. This is just adding insult to the eyestrain caused by having to squint into a tiny, fickle screen for the Internet.

I’m done with it. So long, BlackBerry. I’ll be using you for my Halloween costume, where I plan to go as Someone Who Knew The Score In 2006. But this is just too much.

And stop flashing at me.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences".


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