Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Can you hear me now? Would you rather not?

by Robison Wells

Yesterday, Jeff talked about the moral disintegration of society and how we're all being led down to hell by dirty books. (Or something. I didn't actually read the blog--I can only handle his crap in very small doses. What was his solution to the Great Dirty Book Crisis of '07? Quit using self-addressed stamped envelopes?)

No, today I'd like to discuss another moral conundrum, one of profoundly more importance and weight than that of sexy books. This issue is the real deal, and its immoral tentacles have wrapped so strongly around this nation and its youth that many of you may already be within its octopusish grasp. For shame.

Of course, I speak of none other than cellphones, those tiny foldable destroyers of souls. Satan's using our satellites against us!

I've always made my feelings about cellphones abundantly clear to anyone who has cared to ask--and to many who have never even considered asking, and occasionally to strangers on the street. For some odd reason, I don't seem to have a lot of friends.

My feelings are these:

1) Have you ever been sitting in a theater/class/meeting when someone's cellphone goes off? And then everyone in the theater/class/meeting turns and looks at you like you're some kind of idiot? (And they're perfectly justified in this because you ARE some kind of idiot.) And have you noticed that during these occasions, the ringtone on your phone just seems really, REALLY inappropriate? Cases in point: A former coworker set her phone to play a line a dialogue from Pepe Le Pew whenever her husband called (something along the lines of "Ooo la la, Mon Ami... *a bunch of kissing noises*). And then her husband would call her during sales meeting, and her face would turn really red, and she'd scramble clumsily to find her phone in her purse. And this happened almost EVERY SINGLE WEEK. Likewise, a fellow BYU student said today that his phone rang during a meeting with a professor, and it was set to play "Ridin' Dirty". I'm not familiar with that song, but I can imagine it's not BYU approved.

2) A study a couple years ago (I'd cite my source, but I can't remember it) showed that almost 90% of cellphone users thought that other people were rude in their phone usage. But that same study also showed that only 10% ever thought that they themselves were ever rude. This, my friends, is because (a) cellphone users are oblivious to their own idiocy, and (b) I hate them.

3) Some other recent surveys showed that driving while talking on cellphones is as bad as driving drunk. Worse, I think, because seeing you talking on your cellphone while driving makes me really mad, so then I drive crazy, too. And then I hit you. And then, while you're searching your glove box for your insurance card, I come up behind you and punch you in the head.

4) As Miss Manners would tell you, if you have guests over to your house, it's considered bad manners to take phone calls (other than to politely take a message and then hang up). But now, when we all have cellphones, people (read: people I hate) have no problem at all interrupting a conversation to take a call. Miss Manners is probably rolling over in her grave (assuming that she's dead).

5) If you added up all the conversations in the world that take place on cellphones, and subtracted all of the calls that were worthless and stupid, what would be left? (Please answer in a 500 word essay entitled "ZERO". To research for this homework assignment, please ride the bus somewhere, or eat lunch in a college cafeteria.)

6) President Monson said in a recent conference address that we should "avoid the philosophy that yesterday's luxuries are today's necessities". In the Apocryphal version of the Conference Report, he later added "I'm talkin' to you, cellphone jerks! Oh, and the dinosaurs died in the flood." And then he flew away on his magic carpet to fight an angry tribe of giants.

7) Technology is bad, and I've buried guns in the mountains.

Anyway, the point of all of this is that, despite my strong feelings on the subject, I bought a cellphone last week. It's a sweet red one, with some neat games and the ability to contact people "wirelessly". So, like, if I'm at school I can "call" my wife while she's at home! Yes, I realize that normal folk bought cellphones ten years ago, but I've always been something of a non-conformist.

And you know what's awesome? My ringtone is "Grim Grinning Ghosts", that song the ghosts in Disneyland's Haunted Mansion sing. It's pretty rad. Maybe I'll let you hear it sometime--I'll let you know the next time I'm headed to the movies.


At 9/04/2007 9:01 PM, Blogger The Mean Aunt said...

Rob--I can't believe you thought Miss Manners was dead!

And isn't red a girlie color now?

Welcome to the dark side.


At 9/04/2007 9:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How dare you! I can't believe you would say all those things about people who have cellphones (I agree with you by the way, I hate them too) and then you get one! I cant believe it! you can't go to the dark side, you just can't!

At 9/04/2007 9:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cell phones SUCK big time. I mean you see all these guys riding on bikes by macy's and you just think "You would think that they would at least buy a car in stead of a cellphone" but noooooo they are to stupid. they would rather talk to they're girlfriends and crash a bike then buy a car and GET A LIFE! Stop texting and get A life Derek!

At 9/04/2007 9:51 PM, Blogger Marcia Mickelson said...

I totally agree. I have a cell phone, but only for emergencies and only 3 people (one of those is my kids' school) have my number. I only buy like 100 minutes every three months, so I hardly ever use it. Every time I see people talking on cell phones which is everywhere I go, I wonder, what can they possibly be talking about? What is so important, and how did they ever communicate before cell phones. BTW, my husband is totally anti-cell phones, and he just got one for the first time ever this week. Only for emergencies, and he only has 80 minutes until November. I bet he doesn't use them all up.

At 9/04/2007 9:53 PM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...

Well at least now you'll have an excuse when you are in a meeting and people turn and look at you like you are an idiot.

At 9/04/2007 10:13 PM, Blogger Sariah S. Wilson said...

I still don't have a cell phone. I win.

At 9/04/2007 10:31 PM, Blogger Jason said...

My husband and I figure most of the cell phone conversations go something like this.

"Where are you?"
"I'm at the store?"
"yeah, we're out of milk."
"Okay. Can you get some donuts too?"

At 9/04/2007 10:50 PM, Anonymous Jennie said...

Rob, a short time ago I would have agreed with you, but after these past two weeks of my siblings and nephews and nieces and I in eight different states having to plan two funerals, we were all very grateful to have cell phones with long distance no additional charge. Those naughty little nuiscances became our dearest friends.

At 9/04/2007 10:53 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Cell phones, like just about anything else, can be used for good or evil. It is very convenient, freeing, and comforting to me to know that my children can get in touch with me if something happens at home and I'm out shopping or my husband and I are on a date. When my daughter is out on a date, I'll feel better knowing she can get in touch with me and vice versa.

Cell phones also come in very handy in big places like amusement parks and Costco when you get separated from your group!

At 9/04/2007 11:18 PM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...

I long for the day when I don't need a cell phone, e-mail, or any other remote collar around my neck. Unfortunately when you are on the road up to three weeks a month and your job is coordinating sales in timezones from Hawaii to the Bahamas, it's not so much a luxury as a necessity.

But, one day, one day, I will throw it in a lake and never look back. [Insert maniacal laughter]

At 9/05/2007 1:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The worst place is church. We were up visiting inlaws and attending a ward in down town Salt Lake and a cell phone rang and a lady stood up and talked at the corner of the chapel. She told her caller to wait so that she could eat the bread, and then continued her conversation until someone pointed for her to go out into the hall. I think people lose brain cells when the cell phone rings...because they all of a sudden have totally forgotten that there are like 150 people sitting totally quiet (ok well except for my kids) and they think that no one can hear them saying, "I'm at church. I don't know where John is. He didn't come home last night..." Note to all cell phone users: We CAN hear you even when you think you're whispering!

At 9/05/2007 2:58 AM, Blogger Matthew Buckley said...

I used to look to Mr. Wells for moral advice, but that was before I witnessed him being turned away at the BYU library for breaking the BYU Honor code. I don't know what grave sin he committed, but the librarian used her secret honor code senses and could tell that he was not living up to the higher law. She refused to let him check out a book.

I took the book and tried to check it out for him, but when the librarian turned her honor code senses on me, she passed out.

Not sure why.

At 9/05/2007 8:49 AM, Blogger dakwegmo said...

I was attending a performance of "Taming of the Shrew" last week, when a cellphone rang in the audience. Without missing a beat, the actor playing Vincentio says, "If that's my agent, tell him I'm busy."

At 9/05/2007 2:01 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Rob, you should at least know the tune for "Ridin' Dirty" (Chamillionare) - it's the basis for White and Nerdy by Weird Al. (No, I don't know what "Ridin' Dirty" means, either.)

I'm required to have a cell phone for work, but I rarely use it. In the past 5 days, I've only dialed two numbers (and one was for my voicemail)

Rob, you should put this item on your wishlist:

At 9/05/2007 2:10 PM, Blogger Karlene said...

I totally hate cell phones, and yet with teens, it's a heart-saver. I don't know how my parents handled the stress of having me not show up at curfew and no way to get ahold of me.

Also, it allows me to be a working mom. I couldn't do what I do without one.

But yes, the most important factor is being able to call my husband and ask him to pick up toilet paper on the way home.

At 9/05/2007 2:46 PM, Blogger The Mean Aunt said...

Someone was yakking on their cell phone while taking the sacrament?

I must now go bang my head against the table.

Perhaps we can work cell phones into a primary song about reverence to help future generations.

Reverence is more than just quietly sitting,
It's turning your mobile phone off. . .

At 9/05/2007 6:23 PM, Blogger Tristi Pinkston said...

dakwegmo -- that is seriously funny. Wish I'd seen that!

Mean Aunt -- you should write that up and submit it for the next Primary song book. Seriously, you should.

At 9/05/2007 7:12 PM, Blogger Annette Lyon said...

Cool! Now when I see YOU driving while on your new trusty red contraption, I get to run into you.

At 9/05/2007 10:25 PM, Blogger Josi said...

You guys are nuts. Cell phone hating? You need to go to the DMV or try and get a building permit in a small town, then you'll know what real aggravation is :-) I love my cell phone, I love that most people I know have cell phones, and I know where Rob buried the guns, so call me--I'm wireless.

And Ridin' Dirty is about having a gun in the car and getting pulled over when one doesn't have a concealed weapons permit. Just so as you know.

At 9/05/2007 11:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My ethics and values professor answers your phone or text if you phone goes off while in class, even if it's on vibrate. Today somebody's cousin called and he answered the phone. The kid just took the phone out of his pocket, turned it on, and resignedly handed it over to the professor. The caller got so mad she hung up! (No, he wasn't being rude. He was extremely polite.) It was pretty funny.

At 9/06/2007 2:14 PM, Anonymous Rufus Quail said...

Cleverly written. You could make a living at this.

At 9/07/2007 2:56 PM, Blogger Worldbuilder Robin said...

As a person who serves the public, the most annoying is when people are at the checkout stand (or reference desk; I'm a librarian)and talking on their phones. I feel like I'm interrupting them just to give them their change or ask them to fill out the rest of the form (yes, that big blank part that asks for information from you really does need to be filled out). But hey, they're coming to ME for service, and then they ignore me to yak on their phone? Come back when you're done talking, 'kay? Next!

Personally, I feel that cell phones are part of a huge trend in people wanting to shape their worlds to meet their own needs. Tivo means you can watch your shows whenever you want, iPods mean you can listen to your entire music collection at once, and cell phones mean you can ignore everyone around you and talk to whoever you want, whenever you want, even if they're nowhere near where you are. It's all about having what you want right at your fingertips. Or in your ears. Or something.

At 9/09/2007 2:00 AM, Blogger Janette Rallison said...

You forgot about the worst part--which is that you constantly lose them.

But on the plus side--you feel just like Captain Kirk when you flip them open to talk. I so want to stand on a street corner somewhere and say, "Beam me up, Scotty."


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