Pro Tip #1; or, How I Missed the Sticker Boat
I’ve only been in the Apple-sphere since iOS 7, and I only lived with that one for six months, so I can’t speak for any of the prior releases. However, I think my relative newness to the Apple-sphere makes me less jaded than some, especially journalists, including professional or semi-professional podcasters (and yes, those are increasingly a thing), and thus better suited to gage the respective iOS with respect to one another. Put another way, I fully appreciate any changes and improvements introduced by Apple into the latest release. IOS 8 was especially exciting, as, if memory serves, the share sheets were introduced at that time. Back then, I was just beginning to experiment with x-callback-url schemes, making new means of enabling or facilitating inter-application communications all the more welcome.
With the above said, I feel comfortable saying that each new iteration of the iOS has come with improved functionality, most notably by means of exciting new features, along with the under-the-hood stability and speed improvements. Actually, while on the subject, the general consensus seems to be that the S-years in the (now-abandoned?) tic/tock pattern of releases were primarily under-the-hood in nature. Though this pre-dates my entrance into the community, I believe both Siri and the touch-ID were introduced during S cycles, as was 3D Touch. Once again, Apple reporting proves itself a strange beast not yet fully domesticated and prone to random instances of unpredictability as a result.
S-cycle releases aren’t the only ones to introduce new features and functions, and this year’s iOS 10 is no exception. I’m no Federico Viticci (https://www.macstories.net/), who is now to iOS reviews what John Siracusa was to OS X (now macOS) reviews—freggin’ thorough. Consequently, such is not my purpose here, even were I so inclined, which I’m not. No, mine point, in keeping with this blog’s focus in general, is to whine about my feelings of being left out when normally I’m bursting with enthusiasm. I exaggerate, of course, as there’s much I’ve been enjoying about iOS 10 for quite some time, as I, naturally, took part in the beta program.
No, I’m speaking of the apparent Big Deal: iMessage stickers. I’m lead to believe there’s even a sticker store. I’m yet to encounter said store, if indeed it exists, though I’m fairly confident it does. Somewhere. Now, I’m not taking the stance of a, “Get off my lawn!” I almost regret having made the reference as the joke as become common enough with respect to the new iMessage features to be old already. Still, suppose it’s overused because it’s an apt description of most, their protests to the contrary.
I, too, am obviously protesting the out-of-touch codger moniker but I think my argument are more persuasive. Whenever I’ve heard a man over 35 get defensive about his hatred of the mere sticker, he immediately denies the hatred from the get-go. To hate something is to care about it; hello, my soon-to-be ex-wife. This man just “doesn’t get it.” Really. Not at all. One need not be a rhetorician to understand much is lost in human communication when context is removed, especially the contextual clues given by tone of voice and facial expression. We’ve all received a text that seemed to indicate the sender was upset, even angry, only to discover s/he neither felt nor intended anything of the sort. Emoji were invented for a reason, as were emoticons before them. The early days of texting were rife with misunderstandings. To the bitter end, my wife was succinct to the point of terse, one might say rude.
“Wanna see a movie tonight? I hear [Movie Title] is really good. Has a freshness rating of 90% on RottenTomatoes.”
“We don’t have to go if you don’t want to. It’s cool if you don’t. We can see something else or, you know, go another night or something. I’m down for what-ev-a.”
“Okay, let’s not go? Okay, let's see something else? Or it’s okay, let’s go see [Movie Title] tonight?”
Two hours later…
“I’m sorry, what were you trying to ask? I’m at work, you know.”
Under his breath and not texted: “You gotta be fuckin’ kidding me.”
Hell, I even have an app for inserting Kaomoji. ∩( ·ω·)∩ Got my hands in da air like I just don't care. Except I do, and very much. (-_-メ) That I’m supposedly too old for stickers wouldn’t stop me from letting them fly with glee, if not exactly wild abandon. As long as I’m not hitting on women much too young for me, I feel no particular pressure to adhere to anyone’s standard of what constitutes age-appropriate behavior. (Discerning readers noted the inclusion of much in the previous sentence. Hey-o!)
I perhaps should feel badly about this particular post, which at its heart of hearts, is my shouting in a quiet voice to an uncaring world that no one likes me and I know this because I've no one with whom to share stickers. I don’t feel badly, however, because I simultaneously know none of that is exactly true. I’m no middle-aged emo. The world is the world is the, as Geddy Lee sings in Rush’s “Tom Sawyer,” and the world has never cared. The bright-eyed eighteen-year-olds I teach often write of the lack of kindness and respect or morals in the modern world. People today have grown so mean, they proclaim. Clearly, these students know little or nothing about history, writ large or small, which rather convincingly hammers home the point that people suck. We always have; we always will.
I’m comfortable enough in my own skin—or so I thought. Doubts ever linger, and death ever calls. Once, no self-confidence was to be found anywhere, imperfect, fleeting, or otherwise. I remained mostly isolated until the age of twenty nine, when a younger, hipper girlfriend—sounds like a corny romantic comedy, doesn’t it?—opened up new vistas of experience and possibility (just before tearing my heart to shreds). Next came my discovery, at age thirty, of alcohol. Hadn’t drank before then because I had so few friends, often none. That, and I associated alcohol with obnoxious assholes. Wasn’t until grad school that I found out that a wide range of individuals and groups drink, including well-respected professionals.
The problem this post bemoans isn’t that I’m unworthy of love or friendship. Nor is it even that no one loves or likes me, at least no one per se. The problem is simply there’s no one left to love or like me beyond surface collegiality. I aged out of hanging with the twenty-somethings, something I could do well into my thirties given my baby face and proclivities. Even if I could, I grew weary of it.
No, I didn’t finally mature. Just had enough. Do anything long enough and it can become tiresome. Didn’t help that this body can’t recover from a hangover as it once did. Even in my early thirties, the feats of hangover strength I displayed could match those of any twenty-year-old with a fake ID. Not so much now. Or anytime recently. In fact, I stopped drinking three years ago. I stopped as I started, for no particular reason. If I had to name it, I’d say the cessation stems from know-thy-self, and I know a depressive, anxious, possibly suicidal Rick shouldn’t be drinking alone. The well-seasoned pro knows how far he can go, don’tcha know?
Perhaps more damaging, I’ve aged out of dating women of an age, how to word it, when the greatest number are unmarried. I had great success with divorced women upon a time, women in their mid-twenties who had married Mr. Bicep, had a horrible experience, and now found Mr. Doctoral Student rather appealing. By now, like myself, they’ve moved on to more successful second marriages. Statistically, the vast majority, unlike me, will remain married. For one, children are now part of the equation; if they divorce now, it’s likely once the kids have left the nest, a time too far to await.
As for friends… This is a patriarchal society heavily invested in the familial unit and exerts much power (in the Foucauldian sense) to influence the state of affairs in that direction. People spend the holidays with those they despite just because that’s just what you do. Try organizing your friends for a mountain-cabin Thanksgiving. Good luck if you’re over twenty-five and not a graduate student. Certainly doesn’t help that my friends tend to be females. I like conversation and fine wine, what can I say?
Yeah, this is not my finest hour on many levels.
Oh, Pro Tip #1? With iOS 10 on a 6s or 7 iPhone, which have the raise-to-wake feature, you need only swipe left on the lock screen to bring up the camera. Super fast and super easy because it’s not even necessary to unlock the phone. Just raise, swipe, and click. Poof! Photo taken.