Columns, Opinion

KIRLAND: Hold the phone

Does the iPhone have a breathalyzer? I know it has applications that allow you to play beer pong and even chug virtual beers, but I haven’t heard anything about a breathalyzer. The geniuses at Apple – who normally create software, hardware and recently phones that all other companies immediately emulate – are obligated to scheme up a way to measure your blood-alcohol content through the iPhone.

Imagine a world where your phone would measure how drunk you are on a Saturday night and automatically shut off before you make any calls you will deeply regret in the morning. Maybe it would not have to shut off completely. Perhaps this new phone would be so smart that you could make a ‘Do Not Call When Slammed’ list, and those numbers would temporarily be erased from your phone until you got a chance to sober up. You wouldn’t want your phone to shut off completely when you have had too many drinks. It would be impractical and pretty dangerous depending on what creepy fraternity house on Ashford Street you need to call your friend to save you from.

Besides, if your phone powered down completely, you wouldn’t be able to make what I would classify as ‘Stage One’ drunk dials. These calls are harmless. In fact, they are mostly playful and fun. Stage One drunk dials involve friends at other schools, cousins your own age and often siblings. When you’re feeling pretty good on a weekend night and hear a song or see something that reminds you of someone from home, you give them a call. The calls in this stage are characterized by periods of shouting, lots of laughing and phrases like: ‘I miss you and love you, man – can’t wait for summer!’ There is more than an 80 percent chance you will remember these calls in the morning.

‘Stage Two’ drunk dials are a little more dangerous than the previous stage. They are not as fun or harmless because they involve your parents. Sometimes when you get past the point of a nice buzz and get a little loopy, operating your phone becomes as hard as solving one of those math problems that asks what time those two stupid trains approaching one another will meet. So, instead of scrolling down your phone book list and calling your friend Molly, you tragically select Mom. By the time you realize it is your innocent mother answering your call, it is too late. Now you must concentrate hard to sound like you are in complete control of yourself – but you are not. It is a high school curfew call all over again. The best way to deal with these calls is to take what worked for Stage One calls and say, ‘I miss you and love you, Mom – can’t wait to come home this summer!’ The chances you remember this call dip to about 62 percent.

Prank calls are typical ‘Stage Three’ drunk dials. When you get past the loopy stage, it seems just as funny to prank call people as it was when you were 10 years old and at your friend’s birthday sleepover. This is a more common practice among males than their more mature female counterparts. This stage often involves ‘borrowing’ phone numbers – of people who aren’t in your phone book – from your friends’ phones and calling them from your phone. A growing trend among inebriated males is to call the number they have just borrowed and inform the person that there is a ‘Grabon emergency.’ The poor, confused person inevitably asks, ‘What is a Grabon?’ The drunken dialer then answers, ‘Grab on these nuts!’ Funny? Maybe. Memorable? Not very – there’s about a 31 percent chance the caller remembers this type of call.

All three stages are relatively harmless compared to the final fourth stage of drunk dials. The calls in the fourth stage are the ones you hope you forget in the morning because they are the calls you make to ex-girlfriends or ex-boyfriends. It always seems like a good idea at the time. You miss her or him. Unfortunately, in your extremely post-loopy state, you don’t think of the ramifications of saying things like: ‘I still love you,” ‘I made a huge mistake’ or ‘Your boyfriend is a dirtbag – you should still be with me.’ My research indicates that the chance of remembering the specifics of these calls is under seven percent.

I am 100 percent sure that the world will be a safer place if we all write to Apple and ask them to create the drunk-dialing-proof phone. It would be great to wake up hung over and only have to worry about the painful headache that blurs your vision. This headache does not need to be exacerbated by scrolling through your phone book only to realize you called your best friend, mother, a random number and your ex all during the previous night. Help us, Apple.

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