Too much of our life is centered on technology. People get excited about this gizmo and that gadget, waiting in line over night for the hottest device. To me it’s mostly a bunch of hullabaloo. I don’t need some hot new feature or the latest app, I just need something to make life a little easier. That’s why when I got my new smartphone, I was sure to keep it simple. I didn’t want to get distracted by any fancy stuff. Besides, it’s just not healthy to spend all that time on your phone. That’s why I’m keeping myself disciplined and only using my smartphone for work, email, and embezzling money from the local charity I work for.
I guess you can call me old fashioned. I still pick up the daily paper on the way to work each morning. And to me, nothing quite sounds as nice as hearing my favorite band on vinyl. But it’s difficult to ignore the convenience the smartphone provides. Daily life demands we are constantly connected, and from anywhere I have internet access I can receive my daughter’s vacation photos, text my colleague about a report, or funnel money away from an organization that brings literacy to low-income neighborhoods. There is something truly beautiful about a world in which, no matter where I am, I can polish a webpage to make that fraudulent account I established seem like it belongs to a legitimate textbook company.
Now as much as I appreciate what my smartphone can do, I don’t let myself get carried away. There are people today who can’t wait thirty seconds on an elevator without checking their texts or connecting to the Internet. Not to say I’m perfect, either. Sometimes I’ll be in a conversation, and I’ll be tempted to grab my phone and check for updates. Maybe it’ll be a task I should get a head start on, or maybe it’s a new donation from which a couple missing grand won’t be noticed. But I say to myself, Jerry, this person is talking to you; don’t you owe her some respect? You can check your account balance another time—you can always call that Russian bank you chose because it doesn’t ask any questions tomorrow.
As an accountant in charge of the finances of a literacy charity, my smartphone is often indispensable. There’s a constant flow of donations coming in, in addition to expenses for everything from educational materials to rental fees. And keeping my embezzling operation both clandestine and fast-paced is essential. Who would have thought just ten years ago that I would be taking five to seven percent from every donation, all from the convenience of my morning train ride? Not to mention forging a costly “literacy seminar” in a nonexistent Marriott’s ballroom, or paying for company ads to post on websites which I secretly own, all from my little device.
It’s also pretty good with email.
But to make sure you don’t get distracted on your phone playing games and surfing the web, you have to set up rules for yourself. For instance, I’m always sure to keep exchanges brief. Like with this email I just received from my boss: “There have been some mysterious expenses labeled ‘storage fees’ on this month’s report. Can you investigate?” And all I have to do is type “sure thing!” and get right back to whatever I was doing. Brief and to the point—if you’re not keeping it simple, you’re not doing it right.
Now when I first used my smartphone to siphon money meant to help poor people read, I was ecstatic. I couldn’t believe that all it took was an intimate knowledge of our accounting system and a few swipes of a finger. But as fun as it may be, you won’t catch me moving illicit funds at the dinner table. See, just because I can embezzle money from a charity at any time, it doesn’t mean I do. It’s easy to abuse technology, and it takes character to know when it’s time to stop.
I only want some peace of mind. In the end, isn’t that what we’re all looking for?