Thursday, January 17, 2008


Back when the original Star Trek was just about the coolest show on TV, we all fantasized about how great it would be to have a “communicator” like Captain Kirk. Just hold it in one hand, flip it open, and start jabbering away. And what lesson did we learn from this?

“Be careful what you wish for.”

The proliferation of cell phones seems to be in direct correlation to the breakdown of civility and manners these days. Yes, I know I’m painting with a broad brush here, but it seems that I’m surrounded by “phone-morons” everywhere I go.

Case in point, Tonight: On the train, riding home, reading a magazine. Bimbo next to me (Yes, she’s a “bimbo” by dint of her rudeness. I have decreed it so.) flips open her phone, and starts “tawking” (I’m a Long Islander, remember) to what sounded like a nursery school. She proceeded to ask all sorts of questions about how the “situation” went, and how, “He can be so sensitive,” and BlahDiBlahBlah.

And this was all at High Volume, like she was the only one on the train.

My God, Woman, SHUSH!

Same thing the previous night. Pulled out of the station, and this yutz across the aisle opens up his phone and starts yammering away. Weird thing is, I know him. Years ago, our sons were on the same Little League team that we coached. He’s a lawyer, and was talking about Lawyerly Things, and contracts, and “Offered him a hundred-thousand,” and BlahDiBlahBlah. He was so wrapped up in himself, he didn’t even see me.

But that’s just as well, as I was working myself up into a High Dudgeon. Had he started in on a second call, I was all set to snap, “Jack! Come ON!” But he didn’t. Saved us both some embarrassment.

And what of the law that says you have to be “hands-free” when phoning and driving? Did that law expire? Because I see dopes doing the one-handed “drive and tawk” CONSTANTLY.

Here’s what I do: If I’m in front of them, I step on the brake and gas simultaneously. THEY end up slamming on their brakes. If they drop their phone, too bad. (Yes, I know, I’m an immature idiot, and I’m gonna burn in hell. I’ll save you a seat.)

And who are all these people talking to, anyway? I have a cell phone, but if anyone asks my number, I have to look at the back of it, where I have it written down. (Yes, really.) I give it to them, and then say “But it’s almost never on, so don’t call me.”

Naturally, they then ask, “Well, what do you have one for, anyway?”

They never like my answer: “It’s so I can call my wife and tell her I love her if we get attacked again like on 9/11.”

The firemen I know, they understand. I was at Ground Zero on 9/12, doing search and rescue. I saw firsthand how quickly life can change. The civilians I tell that to think I’m morbid. Tough Teats.

Realistically, I know things aren’t going to change. Morons are morons, and if they didn’t have a cell phone up against their pie-hole, they’d be doing something else that would peeve me.

But I can’t help wondering: If everyone has a “communicator” these days, shouldn’t some of us have a “Phaser” as well? It’s not like I want to turn someone into a pile of ashes. But you can bet if I did have one, it’d be set on stun, and I’d be zapping more than a few folks. Every day.

I’m just sayin’…

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