Please help, my brain’s got a plug-in

The Jewish Chronicle Online, 2/09/2010

My BlackBerry addiction is so advanced that I keep walking into lampposts

I read last week that people are spending seven hours a day on their mobile phones and the internet.

“What’s the matter with them!?” I thought. “Why are they wasting the other 17 hours?”

BlackBerries are definitely a danger to people’s health.

I was walking along Oxford Street checking my emails the other day when someone shouted: “Look out! Duck!”

So I ducked, and narrowly avoided being decapitated by the open door of a huge truck.

It’s hard to believe that I’m the same man who only a few short months ago leant across the breakfast table towards my client who’d been proudly showing off his new BlackBerry and took from my jacket a battered red memo book. “Rymans, 79p, the early BlackBerry, Mark I model,” I said.

One week later, I cracked and bought myself a BlackBerry.

I still don’t know why.

This Monday I got back after my BlackBerrying had ruined my holiday with my daughter.

At Gatwick I’d said: ” Lily, l promise I’ll have a BlackBerry-free holiday.”

“Dad, do you know how many times you’ve said that?” she said, looking as if I’d just suggested we talk in Serbo Croat for a week.

The whole holiday turned into a BlackBerry battlefield.

I lost count of the number of times I heard: “Dad, PUT the BlackBerry down!!” Every day she hid it, and snatched it out of my hands at the breakfast, lunch or dinner table.

I love my daughter. But I also love my BlackBerry. I’m really trying to give it up.

I was walking along Brook Street last night, emailing myself an urgent diary reminder not to check my emails for the whole of today, when I walked straight into a lamppost.

I gave myself such a tremendous blow to my head, that I sank to my knees.

I’m sure the A&E departments must be full up with investment bankers, bandages on their heads.

“Oh, sometimes I do wish we could just get a drunk who’s been in a fight, or a good old-fashioned ecstasy overdose,” I can hear a nurse saying.

Naturally, I sleep with my BlackBerry under my pillow. I wake up five or six times a night but it’s not for the trip to the bathroom that middle aged men often have to make – it’s to check the BBC news.

God forbid some breaking news happens somewhere without me knowing. If there’s something going on in Ougadougo, I want to be the first to know!

I asked my mother yesterday what she remembered about me as a child; nothing seemed to spring to mind.

“Mum, you must remember something about me!” Finally she said, “Well, you were always reading the newspapers.”

People never change.

Sometimes in meetings I put it on silent. But I’ve now developed phantom BlackBerry symptoms. I feel vibrations and the BlackBerry isn’t even in my pocket. My big dream these days is for someone to invent a BlackBerry with a battery that lasts a whole week.

It went flat again this morning at the breakfast table.

“Please can you give me a quick boost?” I said to Tom, Claridge’s head porter, handing him the battery. “Sir, you’re a very handsome, witty, successful man,” he said.

I know I’ve got to get to grips with my BlackBerry addiction, before it ruins my life. I’ll definitely do it – just as soon as I’ve finished writing this column. On my BlackBerry