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How to start a rumour with an iPhone

It struck me the other day when I read a message from a friend on Facebook. “Who’s Alan?” he wrote.

Alan? I wondered. Alan? I don’t know any Alans. I went back over what I had written to him. I was explaining why I needed a polio shot and other vaccinations, according to my new doctor. A man came back from Pakistan with polio, I meant to write. But it came out as “Alan came back from Pakistan with polio”.

This is what happens when you type out emails on an iPhone touch screen. Goodness knows how many garbled SMSes I have subjected my husband to, or how many rumours I have inadvertently started. My friends and colleagues have learned to tolerate missives that strain the limits of comprehensibility. I am working on my technique — poking with greater accuracy — but if I don’t watch the keypad like a hawk or I go too fast, my spelling soon disintegrates into anarchy.

Make no mistake, I love my iPhone and cannot imagine living without it, but I have had to learn to live with its flaws as well as its fancy schmancy features. (I love the ability to make notes and email them — bus trips and ferry rides have become so much more productive; in two years’ time, I might have a novel.)

Still, the iPhone interface, devoid of the buttons and bumps and notches I associate with more conventional handsets, takes getting used to. I have my doubts about the story of the man who mailed a picture of his genitals to a woman other than his wife and then told her it was an iPhone “glitch”. “It was a close-up shot of him pleasuring himself taken at the exact moment of maximum pleasure,” she explained.

But anyone who has ever attempted to take a photo using an iPhone will know how hard it is to get a clear shot while concentrating hard and holding the device with both hands, let alone masturbating and poking the virtual camera button at the right moment to capture the money shot. “It’s such a good shot that one must wonder if he actually practiced it a few times before getting it right,” she added. Either she’s making it up or her husband enjoys fine motor coordination skills worthy of investigation by NASA.

If I lived in New Jersey, the location of the mystery wife, I might be tempted to ask her cheating, slimeball other half to give me some tips. After he washed his hands thoroughly of course.