For fans of Catcher in the Rye (none of whom I’ve ever met, perhaps because they tend to end up in prison), I should explain that I’ve gone with the World War II spelling of phoney, rather than the more popular e-less version favoured by JD Salinger’s antihero Holden Caulfield. And here’s why.
For the last couple of years I’ve been enjoying the services of a Huawei PSmart handheld device, known colloquially as a phone, though that’s the least it has to offer. I’ve discovered the delights of tap to pay, fingerprint and face recognition, and the ever-present possibility that the Chinese government are taking an interest in me. (Someone… Anyone…).
A couple of weeks ago it was brought to my notice that I was due an upgrade. “How could it get any better than this?” I thought, but I’m an inquisitive sort of guy so I decided to give it a go. Lo and behold, a new Huawei PSmart (the 2021 model) turned up a couple of days later, along with a delivery bloke who came in and set it up for me. What service!
It didn’t take him long and now I know why. Most of the stuff I enjoyed on the old phone didn’t have to be transferred because it’s not available on the new one. Upgrade? Up yours, more like.
There’s no NFC chip, so no tap to pay facility, and all the Google stuff that had appeared so effortlessly, as if by some dark witchcraft, on the previous phone was missing and not attainable because of the US Government’s antipathy towards Communism – not quite strong enough to prevent them trading goods and services to the tune of over $600 billion a year but enough to make them screw up my phone experience.
With a level of wit that you’ve come to expect from this column, I’m calling it a phoney war. And once again, we’re the victims – the ordinary man and woman in the street, who just want to mind their own business and scroll through a bit of clickbait every now and then.
Tempted though I was to defect and strike a blow against the megalomaniacal might of Google, I realised that, in terms of impact, my “blow” would register some way below poking a rhinoceros with a pine needle, and that when it comes to finding alternative apps to do all the things I’ve come to depend on, life is definitely too short.
After spending the best part of a day swearing and fighting the urge to throw the new, oversized device at the wall, I decided I’d rather live a long and peaceful life being exploited, spied on and possibly even controlled by sinister forces than die prematurely in a frenzy of techno angst.
Does that make me a phoney? Probably. But, to quote Groucho Marx, those are my principles and if you don’t like ’em, I have others.