When I was just learning to read, one of my favorite books was Dr. Seuss’ One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. For some odd reason, the weird but wonderful rhymes in that picture book set themselves indelibly somewhere in my brain and have stayed there ever since. Interestingly, it looks like other words, not quite as rhythmic, may join them: the names of the latest smartphones — and their upgrades.

It’s not just the media and consumer frenzy that Apple has managed to whip up with its new iPhone 4, or the attempt that Motorola is making to try to pull at least some of that PR candy away with its upcoming Droid 2 (or whatever the phone is called at the moment). It’s the general idea that purchasing the latest bleeding edge technology — whether you need it or not, whether it’s proven or not, just based on the fact that it is bleeding edge — has become a lot more a part of our culture.

Oh, I can understand the urge. I’ve worked with and written for tech enthusiasts for longer than I care to reveal, and I know what a kick it is to try out the latest and greatest device (or software) — especially if you have it long enough to really kick its tires.

But what I’m not sure I can understand is how many people get caught up in that frenzy of “I need it — now!” Especially considering today’s economic climate, which, while there are some positive indications, certainly hasn’t completely turned around. Heck, every time I hear a report on the subject, I’m told that although things look like they’re getting better, the job market is still stagnant. And there are even still occasional layoffs. So why are all those people convinced that they need the iPhone 4 or the Droid 2?

I dunno — maybe it’s just me. I tend to hold on to my tech to the point where it becomes embarrassing. For example, when I gave in and bought a Droid, the five-year-old phone it replaced was so legacy that it didn’t have the ability to do much more than be a phone. (No, I take that back — it could do a bit of Web browsing, if you had a lot of patience and were willing to squint at a bit of text on a very small screen.) And this weekend, I finally replaced the Asus Eee PC 701 netbook that I bought back in 2007 with a current model that has a 10.1-inch display and a reasonably-sized keyboard. So perhaps I simply wait too long between purchases.

Or maybe I’m just not paying enough attention. After all, the new iPhone 4 isn’t only a really snazzy piece of technology, but it has a new OS that, according to all reports, is much improved over its already-sweet predecessor. I have to admit, I thought that the HTC Evo 4G was incredibly cool — and reports of the new Droid are very tempting.

But my current Droid, which is all of six months old, is still doing everything I need it to do — and then some. And I have many friends who are iPhone owners who have — at least, until recently — continued to boast about happy they were with their devices. And yet, we are all now looking at these same previously beloved products uneasily, as though, overnight, they started to grow mold.

So maybe, it’s simply the human reaction to somebody shouting in our ears, “Look at this! This is better! This is really, really cool! You want this, right? You know you want this!!!!”

Just like the Dr. Seuss rhymes of my childhood, which I repeated until I knew them by heart. Although now, they are merging with the hype that is being repeated today:

This phone has a lot of RAM
This phone has a video cam  
My, what a lot of phones there am!