The Universe Gave Me Another Smartphone And I Totally Deserved It

by Mallory Ortberg and Logan Sachon


Mallory Ortberg dropped her smartphone in a bowl of pee. She went without a phone for two months, waiting patiently for her upgrade date, at which point she she could get a new smartphone for a low price.

The day of her upgrade date, so long and patiently awaited, turned out not to be the day of her upgrade date, but a date one year from the day of her upgrade date. She was still phoneless. She was defeated.


Logan Sachon: Mallory can you give me an update on your phone situation?

Mallory Ortberg: I HAVE A PHONE! /releases doves /puffs of white smoke. Like how they do when they choose a pope. You know, the doves and so on.

LS: Tell me how this happened. How did this joyous feat come to pass.

MO: So after the little flippy phone that I ordered from [SHITTY WIRELESS PROVIDER]’s website got here, I took it into one of their many retail stores and asked to have it activated. And the fellow working there said it wouldn’t work because it was a prepaid phone and I had a contract and somehow they’re incompatible. Which seemed silly because I need a phone and here’s a phone that obviously works if you open it up, surely you can perform your corporate magic somehow, Mustafa. Also I do not recall seeing the words ‘prepaid’ when I ordered the phone. But I am not the most scrupulously detailed person always, so the culpa may be mea, you know? Anyhow, I just kind of stood there helplessly asking him if there was anything he could do to help me, and he said “not really,” which I found maddeningly vague. So then I just despaired and went home and was mad for an hour and then stopped being mad

Anyhow, I complained about it at work a lot, because I’m never one to suffer in silence and some of my coworkers took pity on me and said “Oh wow, two months, that’s forever, I think I have an old [SHITTY WIRELESS PROVIDER]-enabled phone you could have. I’ll get my mom to send it.” And I sort of just didn’t care or believe them because then I was numb. Surely the phones would blow up in transit or be poisoned husks of ivory or something. But after another few weeks the Droid got here and I went in and had it activated. and it’s been so great. I posted my phone number to Twitter just because I missed getting texts so much, which was really fun. ALSO did you know that when you get a text on a Droid, it growls “DROID” at you in a very whimsical manner. Very droll.

I’m very happy. I would say the Droid is more fun than the iPhone. And it was free! Well, free minus the $50 i spent on the flip phone that didn’t work and also minus the two months’ worth of phone bills I paid when I didn’t have a phone, but other than that: free.

LS: After all of these trials you’ve been through, have you learned anything? Is there a lesson here?

MO: Nothing ever changes. I’ll probably do something to ruin this phone too. It’s inevitable. There was no lesson here except that entropy is the greatest force of all and if you avoid action and wait long enough you get free stuff from people who are tired of your passivity negatively affecting them.

These are all joke lessons. HERE IS THE REAL LESSON. The real lesson is that if you are determined enough it is worth some time and inconvenience to not spend money on a phone. Those two months were definitely worth it. I think it’s crazy for me to spend hundreds of dollars on a really nice phone when I know I can’t be trusted not to destroy it. No matter how careful I am, because I’m clumsy. So it was right to hold out for a used, sturdier phone.


Mallory Ortberg lives in San Francisco. Her phone number is on Twitter, apparently.