I recently helped my son move from Indiana to Texas. This meant 22 hours of taking turns driving the rented truck that contained his worldly belongings. In between sharing stories of old times and catching up on his endeavors, I noticed how much I used my smartphone on things other than making phone calls. I realized that my smartphone was much like the Swiss Army knife I had when I was young.
When I was 12 years old, I received my first Swiss Army knife for Christmas. I had just graduated to Boy Scouts and the Swiss Army knife was a necessary tool for every young scout. Of course, it was more than just a knife. It had a pair of scissors for nipping loose threads from merit badges. It had a saw for cutting up limbs for kindling. It had a magnifying glass which, aimed at the sun just right, would start a campfire. It had a bottle opener for opening the bottle of pop that every scout smuggled to the campout. It had a corkscrew that I could never figure out why a scout would need. It even had a fork and spoon to eat dutch oven stew. It was a must have tool for every scout.
Fast forward more years than I care to admit, I found as many uses for my smartphone on my moving adventure as I did with my Swiss Army knife. With the built-in GPS, it was our road map. It guided us around rush hour traffic in Chicago and found us the best route to take. We plugged it into the truck’s sound system and listened to classic rock (I raised my son well). We used it to find the nearest fuel station and the best places to eat. We documented much of the trip with the built-in camera. When it got late, we used it to find a deal on a hotel room. Then, we set the alarm to wake us early the next morning. It settled arguments over trivia and kept us abreast on the sports scores. When we arrived at his new home late at night, we used it as a flashlight to find our way in.
Smartphones have truly become the modern Swiss Army knife. We rely on them far more than we realize. Now, they just need a fork and spoon to eat dutch oven stew!