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Summer 2002

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Cell phones? Poppycock!

by Patrick Rafferty ’02

     I think we’ve all had our fair share of this. You’re sitting in class, taking (or passing) notes diligently, paying close attention to the professor (or the Mets game on your headphones), and suddenly you hear it. Whether it’s “Old McDonald” or “Joy to the World,” you can hear some tiny classic tune being played by a ringing cell phone.
     Needless to say, the professor stops class, walks over to the owner of said cell phone, asks them to stand up, and then socks them in the stomach. That’s what I would do anyway. Well, maybe only if I were tenured.
     I hate cell phones. It’s one thing to keep them in the glove compartment in case there’s an emergency, but beyond that, no need. Are you that important? Moreover, do you think you’re that important? If you were truly that important, you wouldn’t have a cell phone, or a pager, or one of those ankle bracelets that they put on hawks to track them in the wild (those are all the rage now in Europe).
     Think about the most important person you know. The President? The Pope? Bobcat Goldthwait? How many of them do you think have a cell phone? Exactly: none of them. They don’t have time for a cell phone. The Prez is busy playing Parcheesi with Saddam in the Middle East, John Paul (Van Damme) is hangin’ with the fly honeys at the Vatican, Bobcat is probably making another talking horse movie. They’ve superceded the cell. You can’t reach them, because they’re just that important. If you really were important, you wouldn’t have a cell phone.
     I’m in constant fear of the day that cell phones become less expensive than land-line phones, because then I’ll have to get one, if only to save money. Then again, perhaps the cheapness isn’t worth the health risk. I hear they rot your brain. Not that I buy that for a second. I suppose next they’ll be saying that asbestos might not be all that safe, or that you shouldn’t buy real estate near Chernobyl, even if you get a really good deal on eBay.
     Still, even without the brain rot, this cell phone thing has gotten out of hand. I do have a plan, however. We, the un-celled masses, can fight back. It’s a simple plan, really. It doesn’t even involve a Powerbook or Jeff Goldblum. It’s called “conditioning.” Me and my buddy Pavlov came up with this one a few years back, only we did it with doggy treats and overweight children whose parents sent them to fat camp. But the basic principles still apply.
     All you have to do is, whenever you see someone talking on a cell phone, walk up to them and calmly yet briskly slap the phone out of their hand. That’s it. Nothing rash, just slap the phone away and continue about your business as if nothing happened.
     If enough people do this, those with cell phones will begin to realize what’s happening, and eventually they’ll stop using them. Or maybe their parents will send them to fat camp…I can’t remember which. But either way, the cell phone problem is alleviated.
     Time is of the essence here, because even I am having my faith tested. Since I’m a dork at heart, it’s not so much having a window of communication open to me at all times that I find attractive. No, it’s more the beauty and splendor that goes along with a Motorola Timeport P8167 with a built-in microbrowser, voice-activated calling, and one-button voice-mail retrieval. Cell phones have gotten pretty shweet in the past few years, and between the price drops and my personal dork factor, I almost fell to the dark side. But then I found my savior.
     Yes, L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics changed my life. No! No! I’m kidding…it’s OK. My true savior is the Panasonic KX-TG2570S. It’s a regular cordless phone, only not at all. Whereas most cordless phones nowadays operate at 900MHz, this phone is beyond megahertz: it’s 2.4 gigahertz. What does that mean, you ask? Well, even though I live in the back row of Scribner, I can make phone calls from Tower is what that means. Oh yeah.
     Along with the range thing, it’s got a digital display, caller ID, a built-in answering machine, digital duplex speakerphone, creamy filling, and a mint candy shell. Plus, it counts as a serving of fruits and vegetables.
     So what’s the moral here? Cell phones are indeed lame, we’ve established that much. My phone is indeed rocking, we’ve gotten that too. What more is there to say? Well, in the words of L. Ron Hubbard: “Humans didn’t evolve from apes. What a bunch of poppycock.”

Beginning in his freshman year, Pat Rafferty ’02 was a regular humor columnist for the Skidmore News. This essay is an excerpt of one such column. All seventy are collected in The Life and Times of Pat Rafferty, available at the Skidmore Shop (518-580-5490 or www.skidmore.edu).


© 2002 Skidmore College