Jeez, here I am, sixty years old, and only now realizing that I've had it wrong for most of my philosophically-inclined life: notwithstanding the oft-heard adage, money really can buy happiness.
I know this, because I've become increasingly blissful the more dollars I send in Apple's direction.
Like a drug dealer that gets you hooked on cheap highs before bringing out the expensive good stuff, my first taste of the modern Apple offerings was the iPod Touch.
It was cool. So easy to use. Such an elegant interface. I eagerly transferred my favorite CDs into iTunes, and thence to my new best friend, iPod'y.
After a while (just as Apple's nefarious marketing plan intended) the contrast between my eager-to-please iPod Touch and my often-cranky Windows laptop became too obvious to ignore.
So rather than indulging myself on my sixth decade birthday with a high-powered Suzuki scooter, I changed gears and found myself at Salem's Apple store handing over my VISA card in exchange for a newly released aluminum MacBook.
The past few months with Mac'y have been one long extended honeymoon.
Like iPod'y, she almost always does just what I want. And even when she doesn't, my MacBook is so cute, I don't get mad at her.
Deep in my heart, I knew what was coming next.
I'd spend time with people addicted to the really strong Apple stuff and get a contact high from them. I lusted after what they had, but tried my best to resist their entreaties.
"Come on, Brian, what's holding you back? Give it a try. You know you want to. I just love it. You wlll too. Why not feel as good as I do?"
A few days ago I surrendered to the inevitable. And a sign from Tao.
I'd been looking at iPhones on the Internet, fruitlessly trying to find a discounted rate plan. After my Tai Chi class I noticed that Dave, who didn't seem like a techno-freak, was holding one.
I asked him how he liked it. A lot, he said, just like every other iPhone owner I'd ever talked to. He showed me some favorite features. That pushed me over the edge.
And, the next day, through the door of south Salem's AT&T store, where I picked up two iPhones for my wife and me.
Ever since -- it's been a bit over forty-eight hours now -- if I start to feel slightly down, I just think "iPhone!" and pull out my newest Apple lover, who, like iPod'y and Mac'y, treats me so fine.
Even with only two-bar reception on the basic AT&T network at our home in the south Salem hills cellular wilderness. Almost everywhere else iPhon'y connects on the higher speed 3G network.
I love the GPS capabilities. Yesterday, after going to the dentist, I pulled over when I got to downtown and pretended that I didn't know how to find my Tai Chi class.
Typing in "Pacific Martial Arts," it just took a few seconds for the iPhone to come up with driving directions for the few blocks that separated me from Court Street. Complete with Google satellite imagery of the area, in addition to the street map.
Later, as I laid in bed, playing around with iPhon'y one last time before going to sleep, I went to the App(lication) Store.
Touching "Top 25" I saw that the #1 iPhone best "seller" (many apps are free) was iFart Mobile. Knew I had to have it, just from the title.
Best 99 cents I've ever spent.
I laughed hysterically for the next five minutes, listening to various farts, realizing that while comedy comes in many guises, there's nothing as satisfying as fart humor. I felt young again, like I was back in fourth grade (where most men spend a good share of their emotional lives).
Tonight I elevated my iPhone application purchases with another wise 99 cent outlay, for Koi Pond. Another marvelous bit of software. I love to shake iPhon'y, see fish food fall into the water, and watch my koi eat it.
The only people happier than iPhone owners are iPhone application developers, who are raking in the dough even in these tough economic times. People still have 99 cents to spend on essential items like iFart.
Which reportedly brought its developers $40,000 in two days, and hugely more since then.
Like a Newsweek story says, "There's Gold in Them iPhones."
Happiness too. Forget about seeking the meaning of life. Just buy the best stuff that Apple offers and let life take care of itself.
If you ever feel like there's something more that you're missing, fire up iFart and let
loose a big one (samples here). The void in your life will be filled with childish laughter.
Leaving you...fulfilled. Especially if you're of the male persuasion.
(When you get an iPhone, as most people on Earth eventually will, get this book also. It'll help you dive into the enervating iPhone pool much more smoothly.)