“iPhone’s Complaint,” by Jason Kaufman

Feb 6th, 2013 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Author Philip Roth, quoted in a New York Times article about his recently announced retirement: “Every morning I study a chapter in iPhone for Dummies, and now I’m proficient. I haven’t read a word for two months. I pull this thing out and play with it.”

Day One: Wow, is this thing amazing! It fits so perfectly in my hand, I just can’t stop touching it. Warm to the touch, responds to my every whim. The manual says I can even make it vibrate?!

Day Two: Did you know this little darling can talk? Her name is Sara or somesuch. Now, I’m not ordinarily taken with Jewish girls who talk back, but boy, has this one got chutzpah! When I asked her, “Sara, how do you feel about older men?” she replied, in that sweet and sour little voice of hers, “I’m not sure, Philip. Would you like me to Google that?” Would I?!? Only if I get to google her first!

Day Three: Just finished the all-important “texting” chapter and oy, what a mess! I forgot to change “conversations” and accidentally sent a dirty picture to Gloria Steinem. Boy, was she pissed. I immediately replied: “My mist8k — in10ded for D-lillo,” but she wasn’t having it. According to Dummies, this is called “sexting.” Gloria called it “turpitude” and threatened to call her lawyer.

Day Four: If I wanted to “twitter,” I’d give a guest lecture at Sarah Lawrence!

Day Four-point-five: Facebook? I thought I just got through saying I was done with books!  Forever!!!

Day Five: Apparently, there’s an “app” for everything.  Today, I searched for one that’d clean the house and make me a pastrami on rye, but all I found was something called “Grindr.” Who knew there were so many lonely young men on the Internet? One sweet yeshiva boy even offered to bring me knish! Yum!

Day Six: Going to visit Uncle Milty in Short Hills. Damnedest thing happened… Instead of Short Hills, the damn map app took me to “Shore Thrills,” a massage parlor in Ashbury Park. But hey, this is a “smart” phone! I didn’t even know I wanted a “happy ending!”

Day Seven: Don’t even get me started on this Wikipedia thing… Some schnook claims Hobby’s Delicatessen in Newark provided the liver that inspired Portnoy’s Complaint?!?  What a load of dreck! It was a chicken cutlet from Keller’s, and a helluva good time at that.

Day Eight: Would someone please explain to me why Angry Birds is actually game about angry birds?!? I was expecting some kind of feminist chat room! I keep having a dream about “logging on” and pretending I’m an angry, sex-starved older woman living in the Connecticut countryside. You think I could I pass for a shiksa?

…Day One-Hundred Thirty-Three: Little iFriend, what did I ever do without you?  Four months in, and I’ve got this great little sexting thing going with a southern gal named Nikki. Her “thing” is pretending she’s Governor of South Carolina. Ooo, the things she says… All that tax-hating Jesus-talk just drives me wild! Can’t wait to meet her in the “flesh.” Am also beating the pants off Franzen in Words With Friends—how many points is “goyishe yutz”? And did you know this thing can make phone calls?


Defenestration-Jason KaufmanJason Kaufman is not as smart as a smartphone, nor as beddable as Philip Roth, but he is a Jewish novelist who makes a mean high colonic.

His current novel, Knickerbockers, is based on the life of Jacob Ruppert, the beer baron who built Yankee Stadium and established America’s first sports dynasty.  He keeps his own iPhone diary at www.jasonkaufman.net, where he also explains why .net is the new black.


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