America was once a paranoid nation, one which (wrongly) thought there was a cartoonishly massive conspiracy around the assassination of President Kennedy and (rightly) pounced on Richard Nixon for underhanded doings. But when offered the chance to surrender all information about themselves to the man, humanity hungrily signed up. If there’s an upside to having a phone that can track one’s every moment (unless on a New York City subway), it’s this: you can account for your daily movements and feel terrible about how little you’re, well, moving.
On one hand, the app Moves serves as a handy pedometer. It tracks your every step, whether you’re walking or running, or if you’re aboard a bike. Insert your weight and height and you can get an estimation of how many calories you’ve burned. If you’re chained to a desk all day, you can track, with abject horror, how little you get up and walk around. If you’re a fitness nerd, you can track, with abject horror, how little you’re actually moving.
The app comes with a map, which is where it gets really interesting. Here, you can see your daily movements embodied in lines. This is your actual footprint, and if a tiny amount doesn’t scare you into being more active — in stomping more over the world — then little else will. The only drawback: This app is a battery drainer like no other — like Facebook, Google Maps and Twitter times ten. Then again, you might find that becoming obsessed with your daily actions is worth an occasionally spent phone.
If I Die
Speaking of living and health, remember this: You are going to die. There’s no way around it. You will cease to exist one day, whether because of old age or a terrifying disease or because you weren’t paying attention for half a second and got yourself dead. How you’re remembered post-mortem isn’t ultimately important: As Woody Allen once said, “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve it through not dying.”
But if you must be remembered, make it good. If I Die is a tongue-in-cheek — but toweringly grim — way to preserve what you are. You can record yourself on audio or video, leave notes, and as you await being enraptured by the great unknown, you can make a bucket list. You may go at any second — literally — so you might as well be prepared.