When I spent a ridiculous amount of money on a brand new smartphone, I knew it was only a matter of time until I broke it, and sure enough, two weeks after I got it, I was touring a house my best friend was considering renting, and dropped my phone while attempting to take a photo of the view from the deck. The screen was shattered, but miraculously the phone still worked perfectly. I couldn’t afford to replace it right away, so I’ve been making do with a cracked cellphone screen ever since. The first couple days–when sending a simple text would coat my fingertips in bits of glass–were a bit rough, but after that, I’ve actually come to realize there are some unsung benefits of a cracked cellphone screen. Here are five of them…
1. It gives you some street cred. Sometimes, in my grander moments of delusion, I’m able to convince myself that a cracked cellphone screen makes me look tough. Like, maybe people see me take it out of my purse and they’re like, “Whoooaaaa don’t mess with that girl! Her phone is straight cracked!” Let people assume your screen was shattered in a shootout or while jumping from a train to evade capture. No one needs to know you actually dropped it on a deck while admiring suburban real estate.
2. It keeps you from getting lost in technology. When my phone had a perfectly intact screen, I had a tendency to check it constantly and get pulled further and further into the digital world, completely ignoring the real world around me. I would plan to just check Facebook real quick, and then I’d click on an article one of my friends posted, and suddenly I’d been scrolling through tiny Wikipedia pages for two hours. It’s a horrible habit, and it’s tough to break. But you know what helps? Scrolling through Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/whatever and having a giant glass fault line obscuring whatever you’re trying to look at. You can only squint and reposition your phone for so long before realizing you have better ways to spend your time, and they don’t involve your phone.
3. It encourages you to talk more and text less. Texting on a shattered screen can be kind of confusing and difficult. Important words are often obscured by cracks, and those pesky glass shards don’t make for the most comfortable typing experience. I found that after I broke my phone screen, I chilled out on texting and started making more phone calls. Even my friend Kyle and I–who previously had a strictly textual relationship–were forced to call each other and were able to enjoy our personalized Celine Dion ringtones for the first time. It was magical.
4. It’s a great conversation starter. Whenever I take out my phone to use a Groupon or show someone a Google map, they have the same reaction: “Oh my gosh, what happened to your phone?” Then I get to tell them about how it was crushed when I jumped off a waterfall to get away from Tommy Lee Jones. Voila: no more awkward silences or boring interactions.
5. It takes the pressure off maintaining a perfect phone. Once you’ve cracked your screen, it’s game over. The damage is (literally) done. You don’t have to worry about ruining your expensive, pristine gadget anymore. You can breathe a little easier when you take it out of your purse or hold it up in the air to get the perfect angle for a picture of your shoes. I’ve dropped my phone a few more times since the Big Drop of 2012, and none of them have been nearly as traumatic as that first time. I just pick it up, brush it off, and go about my day.
[Photo of cracked cellphone via Shutterstock]