Cell Phones – A useful tool or a tool of the Devil?

6 December 2009

Ed note: Sorry I have not written in a while, I have been researching a blog piece that might be a two-part entry and it has consumed my writing time. I have a few ready to print and will dole them out the next few days. In addition, I have to write my annual end of year and the end of decade movie reviews. The life of a blog writer is tough. I enjoy the research more than the actual writing.

I will admit it; I have driven whilst talking. I haven’t driven and texted though I have read texts while driving. It’s not a smart thing to do and I do know better but it’s right there and I have to use it, right? Hell fucking NO!

The first time I saw a car phone was the old batman TV show. I had no idea how it worked but it looked cool. Batman used it for good. As far as I know, he only called two people: Alfred and Commissioner Gordon. He did this in order to catch the likes of the Riddler, Joker, Mr. Freeze and Louie the Lilac.

In 1981, my Roycemore inmate classmate Steve Carlson had one in his father’s car. We all thought it was cool and couldn’t wait to make calls on it. Steve never let us make calls, what we didn’t know that it cost $8.00 per minute. The likely conversation would have been, “Guess where I am calling from?” Definitely not worth $8.00.

I got my first cell phone in 1997 when I moved to Myrtle Beach. I told myself it was only for emergencies, which there weren’t any. Then I started using it more because of the free long distance. In 2002, I ditched my landline. Why was I paying $50 for the privilege of having a phone before I even made a call? I felt liberated. I remember the phone company pleading with me to stay. The jig was up and they knew it.

Around this time, I saw that people were on their cell phones more and more. There they were talking at the store, driving to and from work, at the health club and even at restaurants and theaters. These are places where you shouldn’t be on your phone.

Who are these self-important people talking to? What is so urgent that you have to have to be talking to someone every minute you are out? There are maybe 10 important calls in the world at any one time. The odds of these assholes being on that call are none. Trust me, none. No way is some pompous douche or douchette who is pulling out of the Starbucks drive-thru on an important call.

Some stores now have a no talking on your cell phone policy. Good for them.

Most cell phones have cameras that shoot still and video. In the last three years, there has been a proliferation of jackasses’ videoing the concert they are seeing. We all know the video camera on a cell phone is up there with the Sony HDR-FX1. It seems that all of these people are always standing in front of me too. By the way, isn’t that copyright infringement? I can’t even describe the events of a ball game without the express written consent of the commissioner of major league baseball yet some dude with a flip phone can record a concert?

My then 13-year-old nephew Danny wanted a phone for his Bar Mitzvah, so like a sap I got him one. In that year and a half, he has had it he has made about 15 calls, all of them the day he got it. He doesn’t even know where it is anymore. His older brother, the newly minted driver, Nathan has an iPhone! When I was his age, I was begging for a phone…in my room.

When I go running in the morning, I see more people talking on their phone and driving. At 7:00 am! Who do you have to talk to at 7:00 am? If anyone calls me that early, even if I am up, I would run to where you live and vivisect you with a carrot peeler.

I know you think you are a good enough driver that you can carry on a conversation at the same time; you’re not. We all think so. In the past year, I have become a more defensive runner due to drivers who feel their conversation is more important than watching the road.

Every year I see more people running with cell phones at the Peachtree Road Race. Apparently running 6.2 miles in 85-degree heat with the second half uphill isn’t enough of a challenge. They sound like Stevie from “Malcolm in the Middle.”

“Yeah, huff-huff-huff, I’m at huff-huff-huff, heart attack huff-huff-huff, hill, where are huff-huff-huff you?”

It’s not just the road either. I have been hit more than a few times in Kroger, not in the parking lot, in the store by dumb asses on their phone and wheeling down the aisles.

Recently whilst having lunch, three people at the table next to me were all on cell phones! Were their dining companions not good enough to talk to that they had to talk to someone else?

How out of control has this gotten? Check out this video from “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

Which brings a bigger question, is there a need to be doing something else while you are doing something? Have we begun to multi-task our lives? (Maybe another topic)

Now we have texting. The first text message was sent in 1993. No one knows what it was. I can say with certainty the second message was “LOL :).”

There was a recent photo of some idiot updating his Facebook status at the altar. He was changing his status to “married.” In five years, he will be with the same woman, this time in court changing his status back to “single.”

I am involved in a texting relationship, with my nine-year-old niece Marianne, another “Curb” parallel. She snatches her mother’s phone to text me important messages like “Hey” and “My room is clean.” In fact, I was at her house in Huntsville, AL last month and she sent me 75 texts over a three-day period, most while we were sitting next to each other!

Do we really need to be in this much communication? I remember a simpler time when I would purposely call people at home while they were at work just to get their machine. That way I got credit for the call and didn’t actually have to talk to them. As an added bonus, the onus was on them to call me back.

Now anyone can get a hold of anyone at anytime and they do.

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