Life: There’s no app for that

Sue wanted me to go out and shovel the snow off of her car so she could get to work. It seems awfully old-fashioned in this high-tech age that either of us should actually have to leave the house – her to go to work, me to shovel snow. Isn’t there an app for that? I guess not.

Millions of people with smart phones have learned this winter that an app exists that will tell them that their flights were cancelled, but nothing that will magically beam them to whatever sunshiny place they were going. Instead, they are stuck in the airport just like the folks with stupid phones. There is no app that lets you sleep comfortably in an airport. There are apps that will tell you the temperature of the beach you are supposed to be lying on, and that it’s happy hour at the bar. Is it even possible to have a happy hour in an airport? Let me check my Airport Happy Hour app.

There are all kinds of apps that can tell you exactly what time the next big blizzard of 2011 will hit, but apparently there is no app that tells you to stay off Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive in the middle of it. The good news is that there is an app that can tell you exactly how long you were trapped in your car during a snowstorm down to the very last second. I used my latitude app to find out if any of my friends were also trapped in the storm. It turns out that Bobby and his pregnant girlfriend were trapped in a car about a half-mile ahead of me. Of course, she wasn’t pregnant when they first got trapped in the storm. I guess there’s no app for that. I just got an invitation to their wedding on my smart phone. Sometimes I think their phone is a lot smarter than they are.

I don’t know what it’s called, but there must be an app that tells people to run down to the grocery store and buy every loaf of bread and roll of toilet paper every time someone says the word “snow.” I wonder if there’s an app that can tell me exactly how long the average family can live without bread? One hour? One day? After that, does starvation set in? And how long should you wait to panic?

“Two days without bread! They’ll find us passed out from hunger. Will anyone look for us? Or will they just find our skeletons? I suppose if we got into real trouble we could use our smart phones to call someone, but who can remember that number you call for emergencies? Why did they make it so long and hard to remember? Oh, that’s right, it’s in my smart phone’s memory from the time I called them. Remember? I couldn’t get my garage door opener to work. Talk about an emergency, I thought I’d have to get out of the car and open it myself.”

Can’t you just make bread if you run out? Isn’t there an app for that? Or as we used to call it: a recipe. I mean, if you’re so snowed in that you can’t make it to the grocery store to buy bread, it means you’re snowed in enough that you can’t go to work, either. That gives you all day to bake. I think I could be snowed in for an entire year and still not get to the bottom of my freezer. If only there was an app that would tell me what’s in there – and defrost it. Now that’d be a smart phone.

Jim Mullen is the author of “It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life” and “Baby’s First Tattoo.” You can reach him at

Copyright 2011, United Feature Syndicate, Inc.

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