May 1, 2021
Wag the Dog

Welcome to My Not-So-Smart-Phone World

“Hey, you’re due for a phone upgrade,” my husband told me enthusiastically.
“Well, you’re due for a wife upgrade,” I said. “But you’re not getting one of those either.”

He smirked. “I like the one I’ve got.”

“Well, I like the phone I’ve got, too,” I replied, whipping out my clamshell flip phone with the 1 inch screen.

He grimaced like he smelled something bad. It was probably the circuits in my 15-year old phone frying.

“It’s time to get you a smartphone,” he declared. “You need 5G.”

“You can do that for me?” I wondered with mock excitement. I didn’t even know what 5G was, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t my bra size.


“I also need to drop two pants sizes and get rid of this underarm jiggle. Can you do that for me, too?” I asked.


“Okay, then I guess I’ll just take the phone.”

Truthfully, it’s not that my old phone was working that great for me. Ever since my kids became teens and our conversations morphed from speaking to texting, the limitations of my prehistoric phone had become increasingly evident. While other people were easily swiping or dictating, I was tapping on a numerical keyboard. I had managed to live without any apps or widgets or GPS so far, but every TV commercial assured me that my life would be infinitely better with them. Of course, I was also assured my life would be better with more fiber in my diet, but I had yet to reap the rewards of that change, either.

Now, I’m not one to typically embrace new technology. I’m usually more inclined to smile at it, maybe give it a handshake, or if I’m really felling bold, a small hug. My husband is the exact opposite. I wondered if maybe there was a way we could ease into this upgrade to help me adjust to life with a smartphone. I actually didn’t even like the term “smartphone.” It seemed to imply that the device would be more intelligent than I. Maybe if they called it a “phone of medium intelligence,” I could get on board with the idea. I’m very competitive that way.

I actually didn’t even like the term “smartphone.” It seemed to imply that the device would be more intelligent than I.

“What did you have in mind?” I asked my husband warily.

“I think you would love a phablet.”

I stared at him blankly. “I thought I needed a smartphone?”

“A phablet is a kind of smartphone. It’s a combination phone and tablet. That’s how they get phablet. It’s a portmanteau.”

Now my head was spinning. “A portman-what?” I shook my head. “I thought it was a phablet.”

“A portmanteau is a new word made by combining parts of two existing words,” he explained.

“What does that have to do with my new phone?”

“Nothing. I’m just explaining where the word phablet comes from.”

I was already not loving the new smartphone. If you needed to use words like portmanteau to describe what to call it, it was clearly smarter than me and I was sure that just owning one was going to make me feel like a dummy.

“Can we compromise?” I asked. “Can we get me a phone that is not a phablet but has a regular keyboard and maybe a few necessary apps.”

“Sure,” he agreed.

I smiled. “Phabulous.”

Tracy Beckerman

Author, Speaker, Columnist

TRACY BECKERMAN is an award-winning author, speaker, and syndicated humor columnist.

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