By Marc Snetiker
September 12, 2017 at 04:32 PM EDT
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Jan Brady. Edith Crawley. That Kristen Wiig character on SNL with the plastic hands. And now: iPhone 9.

The zeitgeist (and centuries of actual human experience) has offered us no lack of exposure to the ceaseless calamities of being the forgotten child, but Apple’s latest media event has all but solidified a new name as the most afflicted middle child we’ve met yet. So afflicted, in fact, it does not even exist.

Today we remember the iPhone 9, the short-lived phantom of a future phone that was born the instant the iPhone 8 entered our lives and brutally killed off in a freak keynote accident at the moment of conception of the iPhone X (which The Man would have you pronounce “10,” but The Man also wants you to use an animated panda emoji to call someone, so, grain of salt).

The iPhone 9 did not want for much during its approximately 20-minute non-lifespan on Earth. As a forward-thinking dream representing everything its gender-fluid younger sibling 8 could not, the iPhone 9 witnessed only the best display of humanity: hope. Hope that it, a scrappy iPhone from northern California, would include an even clearer retina screen and far more than a prehistoric 12 megapixels. Faith that a no-name mobile device from Silicon Valley could prove that optical image stabilization was the new normal in this country, regardless of party politics. Belief that if mankind could colonize the stars and reach the depths, then the youngest heir of the Apple dynasty could play its part in the development of global technology by running 40 percent faster on a CPU at half the power.

And then, Claudius murders Hamlet.

The iPhone X bazookas its way out of the uterus at 11:17 a.m., revealing astonishing confidence and a fully developed six-pack of glass an incandescent hue never before seen on the visible spectrum. It cackles as it uses its Super Retina Display to stab its sibling in the back before leapfrogging over it with its Facial Recognition and No Home Button.

And as the crowd goes berserk for the surprise cameo of the unexpected douche-mascot of applied sciences, the ethereal spirit of the iPhone 9 rises above its feebly stirring corpse and takes a moment to reflect on what it would have meant to suffer a full year of speculation and gossip as the last normal iPhone possibility before Apple begins the assault on the status quo with the Buzz Lightyear-like features of its double digits series.

The toll it would have taken. The anxieties it would have dwelled upon. The expectations it would have never met.

The soul of the iPhone 9 decides in this moment that there is beauty in the legacy it has solidified: a promise that once was, and a reality that will never be. And as it floats upward to the heavens behind QR codes and Google Glass and is met at the gates by Teddy Ruxpin, a smile spreads across the iPhone 9’s OLED display as it realizes that even the dick-ish new iPhone is going to one day be replaced by a marginally better, significantly more expensive model. And that you’re never going to win being an iPhone anyway when humans are so stupidly eager to spend all their money on shiny falsities. And that when all is said and done, humans are probably going to end the world on Twitter next week anyway. Requiesce in pace.

Sent from my iPhone X