This article is part of the our April 1st series.
Let’s face it: The “Grim Reaper”—aka “death”—comes to us all, and many technical, medical, dietary, and other approaches are used in attempts to delay the inevitable. Some of these work in certain situations, but most of these strategies rely on costly, complex, time-consuming medical procedures or personal-care and wellness “discipline.”
Now, a startup has developed a scheme that attempts to literally repel such a visit by the Grim Reaper (GR). They have developed a smartphone app called “Text Me/Go Away,” which leverages the well-known social phenomena. It’s now perceived as normal for someone to check their phone within a few seconds when a text message arrives, and even feel compelled to answer it immediately.
Here’s how it works. When the smartphone user feels the presence of impending demise as manifest by the sense of a life-ending visit from the GR, he or she invokes the app that was previously downloaded. The app then sends a text to the phone, which the user checks immediately and says something like “sorry, can you wait a second, I have to answer this,” then types and sends out a “dummy” placeholder answer.
Immediately upon sending that dummy response, the app sends yet another text message to the phone, and the cycle repeats. As the cycle continues and after some number “message received/I have to answer this one” cycles, the GR will undoubtedly give up, in effect saying “sorry, I have other stops to make today, I’ll come back at another time.” Result is that the GR is put off, at least until another day.
Even if potential users of the app are skeptical about its efficacy with respect to the Grim Reaper, the app’s developers add that it can be used to ward off annoying, chatty co-workers who insist on dropping by and chatting about their weekend, family, sports, medical issues, house/apartment-hunting, or anything else.
The app even has a “call myself” mode whereby the phone rings itself in a user-settable number of minutes. This allows the user to say “sorry, I have to take this call, it’s important.” However, the company says it is not sure how effective this feature is for holding off the GR.