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Stupidphones Are Great
Jenny Marshall doesn't have a smartphone, but her ancient flip-phone has many valuable features.

By Jenny Marshall

Call me touchy, but I'm sick of everyone assuming I own a smartphone. Here's the thing: I actually like my flip-phone. It has certain intrinsic benefits that not even the latest app can match.

First, let's talk utility. The charge lasts five days. I can fit it in my bra when I'm not wearing pockets. If I drop it, my only concern is how I'll bend over to pick it up in skinny jeans - not that I just simultaneously rendered useless my phone, computer and mp3 player.

Flip-phones also make great conversation starters. At any party I can befriend at least a dozen strangers, all fascinated that I own a still-functioning antique. Invariably, someone breaks the ice with, "Whoa, let me see that ancient relic!" From there it's a natural segue into favorite movies, dream jobs and relationship status.

Unlike iPhones, which are constantly swiped from tabletops and back pockets, flip-phones have a unique insurance policy: no one else wants them. My purse was once stolen from a college party, and when I found it chucked onto the neighbor's roof days later, I was pleased to note that the flip-phone was still inside. In fact, the only thing missing was my Zara sweater, which goes to show that mid-line apparel is worth more to petty thieves than functional flip-phones.

My phone even has the capacity to turn me into a role model. I was tutoring a high schooler in Spanish who cared more about Apple products than graduating. One day, she outlined for me her reasoning on why she deserved the iPhone 5 after scoring a "C" on a history test. When her mom saw my phone as I glanced at the time, she seized upon this as a teachable moment.

"See? Jenny is a college graduate, she is employed with health benefits, and she still owns a flip-phone!" I was the poster-child of an underprivileged success story. If you work hard and stay in school, even a flip-phone can't stop you from achieving greatness.

The secret lies in its understated cachet. Like vinyl records or Beanie Babies, I feel confident that my flip-phone will be a collector's item someday. And perhaps if I hold on to it for another half century, I'll make enough from it on eBay to afford the iPhone 55.

With a Perspective, I'm Jenny Marshall.

Jenny Marshall is recent graduate of UC Santa Barbara and this month moves to Spain to teach English.

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