Monday, April 26, 2010

There is No App For That

It is official. I am a marketing sucker. No better than a kid who sees a commercial for Super Bubble Sugar Bombs Breakfast cereal promising a secret decoder ring in the box, and becomes a single-minded creature wracked by longing, feverish with desire. I love pretty packaging, I am powerless in the face of "coolness" and the right spokesperson can make me feel all warm and fuzzy.

And I really REALLY wanted to not want an IPad. I wanted to acknowledge Apple’s genius, to respect the sleek packaging, and yet, to not have a soul-sucking sense of covetousness every time I see the damn billboards and commercials.

I am not being terribly successful in this endeavor.

The logical, intelligent side of me recognizes that I have talked myself into many small gadgets, a significant percentage of them Apple products, over the years. One of these is myIPod Touch, which I love and adore and which has literally made both air travel and exercise not only tolerable, but often even pleasant and entertaining. And since the IPad is essentially the Honey, I Blew Up The Baby version of my lovely Touch, there really isn’t much need. Or ANY need. The Touch does every single thing that the IPad would do, just smaller. It is not an investment that I have any single reason to make. I have the Kindle App, which allows me to read books. I can watch movies and television easily. I can check the scores of my teams and read the top news stories and play games. And since, despite my rapidly advancing age, my eyesight is still good, there is not one of these things that needs to happen on a larger scale. And then there are all those other delicious Apps. The Moron Test, and the cool travel stuff. I have a dream dictionary which helps me determine the meaning of that weird black and white octupus chasing me in the night (actual meaning, don't eat pizza close to bedtime). I have the Louvre App if I need to see some art RIGHT NOW. I have Apps to find places to eat, and Apps to find taxis, I even have an App solely for the identification of cheese.

My friend Jen Lancaster is part of a new syndicated column called Humor Hotel, and her most recent article is about the Apps she wishes they made. I especially like her idea for a “How Long do I Have to Get Home Before the Pit Bull Whizzes in the Basement” App. Because I hate that Jen has to constantly battle the effluvious emissions of her menagerie, but also because I spend time in that basement, and it is always more enjoyable if it does not smell like pit pee. The article is really funny, you should read it here.

But it got me thinking about my own list of Apps that would be useful….

For example, I am in a constant battle with my digestive system, which alternately works totally fine (and therefore craves things that are not particularly healthy for it, in quantities which contribute to my lifelong struggle with the size of my butt), and then goes all catawampus and makes me bilious and unable to fully enjoy life. As a result, I am beyond diligent about food safety. I throw away anything with an expiration date the second the clock hits midnight on that day, and no amount of smelling it and telling me it is fine can stop me. Leftovers and prepared foods from the store hit the can after two days. I won’t buy meat on sale, even if I plan to cook it that night, because I am sure it is close to being thoroughly toxic. I won’t eat street food, no matter how delicious it smells, no matter how clean the cart and cook looks, not even if Anthony Bourdain himself has touted it as the best damn whatever he has ever put in his gaping maw.

My life as a passionate foodie and cook is also an exercise in “please PLEASE please let me not throw up”. My poor Charming Suitor is bearing the brunt of this mania, since he lives much more on the edge of funky when it comes to foodstuffs, and quite rightly feels that my obsessiveness in this area is a little severe. I am working on trying not to say “you are going to eat those leftovers from FIVE DAYS AGO?!?!” when I am at his house, since his relationship with his tummy is his own business, and to my knowledge, he does not poison himself with any regularity. On the flip side, he also had to spend a truly miserable weekend with me out at the Farm where I managed to give myself water poisoning (algae in the water cooler, who knew?) and had to entertain himself while I spent the better part of the day communing with the toilet instead of taking romantic walks or going exploring. So he does understand and is very tolerant of my need for caution.

So I would dearly love a “Go Ahead and Eat That” App that would tell me yay or nay on whether something I am about to consider eating is going to cause gastric holocaust.

A “World’s Best Boyfriend GPS Locator” App sure would have come in handy during the years I spent endlessly dating badly while Charming Suitor was living only 2.4 miles away from me.

Ditto a “Profile Lie Detector” App for all those online guys and gals who create interesting fictions about themselves and waste the time of those of us who actually like their potential dates single, age appropriate, and honest. A "There Will Not Be Anyone There For You" Event App would also be great for Singles who often feel obliged to get reasonably dolled up and attend things they aren't actually interested in on the off chance their soul mate might be there.

While mine is pretty finely tuned, I have plenty of pals who could really use a “Gaydar” App, so that they can stop inventing romances with guys they “have such a strong chemistry with” but who are not actually on their team.

A “How Long Before I Kill This Plant” App would come in handy for people like me who have black thumbs, since plunking down $20 on a Home Depot potted orchid is only cost effective if I can get at least a month out of it before it is terminal.

Or a “Your Friend Will Get Three of Those” present detector App, to eliminate embarrassment at birthday parties, weddings and baby showers.

I would dearly love a “Safe to Leave the Bathroom” App that would warn me if my skirt was tucked into the back of my tights or if I had a toilet paper runner attached to my shoe. Order now and it comes with a trial version of a “You Have Something Stuck in Your Teeth” App.

And a "There is a Mindless Marathon of Some Stupidly Enjoyable Guilty Pleasure Show That You Are Too Embarassed to Tivo On This Weekend" App would really assist in creating the need to be at home of a Sunday.

For now, I am still enjoying the heck out of my IPod Touch, and the Apps that do exist. And I’m working on my knee-jerk “I WANT” reaction to the IPad.

If only a “You Don’t Really Need That” App was on the market to talk me off the ledge.

What Apps do you need in your life?


  1. Great post! I especially loved your ideas for Apps about dating, and I totally wish that someone would sell those. I also wish that someone would invent an App that would screen the e-mails that some online daters send, as in a Do not Send an E-mail with Dirty Words/Images Because if You Send Me an E-mail Like That I Will Not Only Block You But Post It Online for Everyone to See So That They Will Be Protected from the Likes of you App. Although I guess they'd have to abbreviate that or something.

  2. I must say, the "There Will Not Be Anyone There For You" Event App and the "Gaydar" App are my absolute favorites as (I shouldn't admit this) 3 of my exes are now gay...this after they dated MANY females after me (not my fault)!

    Also, THANK YOU for writing the food bit! I can't do leftovers over 2 days PERIOD...I'm weird about it...and milk? Sometimes it goes BEFORE the sell-by date because I "think" it smells. I appreciate someone being in the same boat! :)

  3. Great post! I am the same way about food stuffs and potential spoilage. I know people who have iron stomachs... one friend even worked in a food safety lab where part of their assessment of shelf life was to taste the food, even up to 14 days after the "sell by" date!!!! And she never got sick even once.

    Me, I don't do leftovers. Period. If others have an iron stomach, mine is a fluffy feather pillow. I don't even know how many times I have had food poisoning.

    Anyway, I started to ramble there. My point was, great post, and I would definitely download the food app in a hearbeat.