Do you have any idea what it’s like to finally have something go right for the first time in about one month, seventeen days, and six hours?
I don’t, because it turns out that nothing went right after all.
See, I’ve been looking for some kind of app that will let me keep track of how long it’s been since the last recorded alien incident; thereby uncovering a pattern in communication time and being able to calculate how far away their planet is from Earth. The app had to be old – I haven’t updated my phone in a few months, which translates to two thousand app years – and preferably free.
After five app years spent searching, I found it. It was probably the only free app of its kind left in existence. I couldn’t believe my luck. Nobody makes free apps that are any good anymore, I thought. Yet this app had received an incredibly high rating.
I opened the app as soon as it finished installing. It was everything the description had promised – convenient, accessible, and easy to use. I was thrilled. I went to bed that night with a feeling of optimism; knowing that the day was close when people would no longer laugh at my theories of aliens. I would be able to prove them all wrong.
The next day, the first ad appeared.
It wasn’t very big – just a tab at the top of my screen. It didn’t interfere with the work I was doing within the app, and it didn’t take me to another site.
It did, however, advertise a matchmaking facility.
There was no way to remove it.
As if sensing my frustration, a window popped up. Don’t like ads? Neither do we! Download an ad-free version of this app for just $9.99.
I realized immediately what it was doing, and I was determined not to be beaten so easily. With my jaw set firm and my hands steady, I selected the option that said No, thanks.
The ad changed to one for people with IBS.
I did my best to ignore it and continued setting up my countdowns. Soon, another window appeared.
Are you sure you don’t want to buy the ad-free version of this app for just $9.99?
It was taunting me. Still, I selected Not today and returned to my work.
A minute later the ad changed again, this time to something more tactful.
Click here to find out everything you ever wanted to know about cheese!
I did not ‘click here.’ I was, however, grateful to see an ad that was at least somewhat relevant; considering that I had been looking up milk recently for an assignment in Health. Naively, I breathed a sigh of relief that the ads had finally began to correspond to my interests.
The next ad was for a pregnancy tracker app.
I screamed and threw my phone out the window. Only not really, because I was on the bus and it would have drawn even more attention than having the ad on my phone in the first place.
I’m sure you can guess that Richard Harrison chose that time to look over my shoulder.
“You’re PREGNANT? Were you raped? I didn’t think you’d ever even seen a dick!”
My response: “I’m looking at one right now.” Crisis averted. And yes, you can use that.
His words had attracted attention anyway, however. My phone was the sole object of interest for a swarm of mindless middle schoolers.
By then, it had changed to advertising catheters, which – thankfully – was too long of a word for the prepubescent morons to understand. Their brains exploded on impact, and soon the game of high-fiving people in the face took precedence over what my phone was doing.
Left in peace, I glared at my phone. The app had dealt an impressive blow – but I still had the ultimate power.
I allowed my index finger to rest upon the app’s icon. The surrounding apps began to tremble in fear of what was to come. They had all seen this before.
And so it was that I deleted my first and only countdown app, wiping it out for good with a touch of my hand. It had been a hard-fought battle, but in the end, it was won; and the tortured and bitter truth was revealed.
I can’t stand to have a matchmaking ad on my phone even for aliens.