It Lives in Your Pocket

December 16, 2009
We tend to look at parasites as dark little bugs that feast on the talents of it’s host without giving anything back, but that’s not what a successful parasite does. A parasite that can produce something that is both beneficial to the host and the parasite is called symbiotic mutualism. What is really weird is that we have a parasite that is usually located in our pockets. This parasite has made itself smaller to become a near necessity, when we hear it or when it rumbles the parasite can put us in a good mood or it can do the opposite. We knowingly feed this parasite in the hope that it will give us something back in return.

The cellphone is a unique parasite. We keep it alive by charging it and paying the phone bill while we get a taste of symbiotic mutualism. It plagues us when we see our phone about to run out of batteries only because we simply would not be able to use it. Like all parasites the cellphone, is something that we can live without it but why give up something that allows us to talk to almost anyone no matter haw far away you are from them. Talking face to face can be more enjoyable; however, with the cellphone we can talk when we are thirty minutes away from someone and tell them that we are running late. Instead of looking at their disappointed face when we try to explain to them why we were late.
The cellphone runs similar to a fungi parasite. I’m not talking about athlete’s foot. I’m not even talking about the mold that gets on bread. What I’m actually getting at is algae and how it bonds to a plant and gives the plant more food that what it would get by itself. The plant gives the algae the benefits of photosynthesis (food a plant gets from the sun). Even though the plant doesn’t have a choice whether the algae stays or goes, the plant lives a much easier life. The plant will live a longer life all because of the dark little bug we call a parasite.
A successful parasite produces symbiotic mutualism. While a successful phone something like the “iPhone,” not only gives the user the benefits of granting the ability of letting distant people talk, but it gives off several other benefits like being able to play music and surf the web which sets it apart from the competition with other phones. Even though the “iPhone” bill is something like $110 a month the owner still pays for it because of all it’s benefits. Someone does not pay $110 a month for something that isn’t beneficial to them. A bill and a little electricity is a sacrifice the owner chooses to make because the phone is worth it to them. The phone not only benefits the user, but it stays alive by bonding to it producing symbiotic mutualism.

Those parasites cellphones feast off of the electricity that we give them and thrive off of the phone bill we pay that allows it to live. The cellphone is the most accessible parasite in the world. No other parasite can be used anytime and anywhere (except underwater). The owners of these parasites always have them in reach; unlike the dinosaur phones of the 90s they’re small enough to fit in our pockets to fulfill it’s obligations of symbiotic mutualism. The near necessity parasite called a cellphone is something we can live without, but why?

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