Ma, No Wires!
by Mad Dog
How important could it be for me to make a call
while Im standing in line at the supermarket? Unless of course Im calling the
cows orphan calves to apologize for having the butcher grind up Mom so I can have
|| Just before
Christmas I broke down and bought a cell phone. While this may not sound like a big deal
to you, for me it feels like I should be standing in front of a group of people at a
12-step program watching them nod their heads and chant "Hi, Mad Dog", all the
while wondering what buying a cell phone has to do with overeating.
I know, I knowIm pitiful. You might be thinking that
because youre a part of the population which thinks its about time I entered
the 20th century since we are, after all, in the 21st now (dont even think
about starting that debate with me, okay?). Then again, you could be in the other group,
which just crossed my name off their list of "People Who Havent Lost Their Mind
Yet" and is making a note to see how quickly a brain tumor starts to sprout out of my
I have to say: philosophically I dont like cell phones.
For some people they make great sense, like real estate agents, salespeople, and others I
try my damnedest not to associate with. But for most its just another way to annoy
the people around them. As if they need another weapon in their arsenal. The truth is, I
really dont need to be found all the time. I dont talk on the phone much as it
is, so how important could it be for me to take or make a call while Im standing in
line at the supermarket? Unless of course Im calling the cows orphan calves to
apologize for having the butcher grind up Mom so I can have meatloaf tonight.
I figure if Im home and not getting calls, why in the world should I walk around
with a cell phone and not get any calls? What could this possibly accomplish other than
make me eligible for a Xanax start-up kit?
|| I think we all
know the downside of cell phones by now: how distracted drivers are when theyre
using them, how obnoxious it is when they ring in the middle of a movie, and how loud
people talk on themloud enough so the person on the other end can be two time zones
away and not have to flip open their phone and waste precious battery time to hear. But we
might as well resign ourselves to their being around from now on. Cell phones and time
zones. In fact, in Italy there are now more cell phones than conventional ones. And a lot
more cell phones than time zones.
So what was my
rationalization for getting one? I live a strange life. I dont have a permanent
place to live and I move around a lot. For the past several years my only sense of
grounding has been a mail drop and a voicemail/pager so people have a place to send junk
mail and leave garbled messages. During all that time I carried the pager twiceboth
times to hear from women who never calledso it was really just a virtual answering
machine. And a very compact one, at that. Which is pretty much what the cell phone is too.
When I found out that for a lousy five bucks more a month I could have voicemail, get and
receive calls, have a cool looking clock with my name on the display, and get $30
worth of long distance calls for free, well, is it any wonder the practical side of me
said, "Get those rationalization wheels turning, baby"?
God, I hate when practicality beats out philosophy.
So far I havent carried it and, to be honest, I dont
intend to. Unless, of course, Im expecting to hear from some woman who wont
call. It will stay wherever my belongings are at the moment and be an even more high-tech
answering machine than the pager was.
Of course I have to admit that email is a
whole other thing. Im compulsive about checking my email. Once, twice, three times a
minute isnt at all unusual.
|| Back in the good
old days, when I actually did have a place to live, I had an answering machine at my
office but none at home. Friends knew to leave messages for me at the office because
Id check them when I got home. Those who didnt know, well, I probably
didnt want to hear from them anyway. See, the truth is, Im just not that
popular. Or important. Not many people call me and the last time someone did because it
was an emergency it turned out to be one in their mind only.
Of course I have to admit that email is a whole other thing.
Im compulsive about checking my email. Once, twice, three times a minute isnt
at all unusual. But that makes sense. After all, its not like regular mail which
comes once a day, so if you didnt get a letter theres no sense checking the
mail box until the next day. And its not like the telephone, which lets you know
when it wants you. (Like mail, theres no sense in picking up the phone when
its not ringing just to see if someone might be trying to reach you. Which
isnt to say I havent done that.).
But email? It could show up at any second. And it could be
important. Who knows when Tiffanny4U@xxxluv.com will have a new web site she wants me to
check out? Or someone will let me know about a weight loss program that doesnt
include throwing up after every meal? For that matter, it could be any of a thousand scams
I used to have to stay up all night watching infomercials to learn about, only now
theyre delivered right to my Inbox! Hey, for all I know the next email that arrives
might be about a 12-step program for people who buy cell phones after they swore they
wouldnt do it. I sure hope I dont have to call them to enroll.
©1999 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country. Read
them while talking loudly on your cell phone.