The end of civilization (Part II)
May 14, 2008 | 8685 views | 0 0 comments | 1482 1482 recommendations | email to a friend | print
by Buckley Jensen

Terri Winder’s column last week (May 7 SJR) made my blood pressure spike! I was not upset with Terri, but with the subject she broached. I agree with her. Just thinking about it makes me crazy. If you read the San Juan Record, you may recall she said that cell phones and the associated terrorist activity known as TEXTING is going to be “the end of civilization as we know it.”

We have global warming, a $9 trillion national debt, near $4 gas and skyrocketing food prices in line trying to destroy civilization. However, the thing that has contributed most to the demise of my personal sanity the last few years is the cell phone. So, good for Terri. I consider her column a call to arms and I add my pen to her cause.

I grew up in a household where politeness and “doing unto others” was preached until I was brainwashed. Many times I have endured rudeness in silence when I really wanted to shout it down or punch it out. The last several years, most of these primal moments have come as a result of a cell phone experience.

For example, I was sitting in a theatre watching a gripping film back when cell phone technology was in its infancy. The lady next to me got a call. To my amazement she proceeded to tell her daughter how to make a cake.

She did not hush her voice. She showed no remorse at ruining the cinematic experience for everyone around her. I was so dumbfounded by her rudeness that I just sat there.

About 10 minutes later the phone rang again, and she was equally rude giving the instructions on how to make icing. By now I was fuming. The third call was to find out how long to bake the cake.

Instead of grabbing that offending phone, or grabbing that woman and shaking her while screaming how rude she was, I just sat there with my guts boiling. That was the day I began despising cell phones and the rude people who owned them.

Similar intrusive things have happened to me with cell phones in the decade that has come and gone since my cake-a-rama introduction to electronic rudeness. Just the other day I went into a convenience store. I got a cold drink in my own cup. The clerk (not a teenager) was talking on her (what else) cell phone.

I was the only one in the store. I could hear every word she said and it was painfully generic. Instead of excusing herself for a few seconds and taking my money and getting my change she kept on talking. I held my $1 bill up and waved it. She looked annoyed and kept on talking. I am less of a “wus” (a euphemism for “gutless wonder”) these days than I was 10 years ago.

In a loud, gruff voice, I said… “Lady, if you won’t take my money I am leaving.” She again looked annoyed and gave me a little finger wave which translated said, “Go away you impatient jerk… can’t you see I have a crisis here?”

I listened to another 30 seconds of the drivel eminating from her pie hole and walked out with my drink and my bill unbroken. First sin I have committed in years. Probably should feel bad about becoming a thief, but I don’t.

Terri is right. Our civilization is falling apart! If they really do keep a little book in Heaven with all our sins recorded, most of mine will be under the heading “ sinful thoughts caused by rude d#%@ cell phone users.”

Truth be known, I don’t like regular phones much either. Four years ago I had a new phone installed and the phone company put my name in the phone book incorrectly. The folks at the telephone company said there was nothing that could be done until the new phone books came out.

And then a strange and wonderful thing happened. My phone essentially stopped ringing. No telemarketers. No inane surveys. No one asking me to take the nursery next week at church.

Even the “save the planet” fanatics couldn’t find me. It was almost as good as being on a camping trip before cell phones. Pure peace and quiet. I told those who really needed to know where I was in the phone book, and the rest of the world went away. I called the phone company and told them to leave my name as it was.

It is a hypothesis of mine that many (most, for teenagers) telephone calls are unnecessary. I survived puberty without a cell phone and only made 1/10th of the phone calls of current 21st century teenagers. And so did a lot of you! Have you ever paid attention to what a love-struck teenager or an air-head clerk in a convenience store are actually talking about? I rest my case.

I guess it is a status symbol to have a phone permanently glued to one’s ear. Kinda like a flat-top hair cut was when I was that age. Every generation needs something to prove they are “with-it.” The difference being that my generation didn’t offend everyone within earshot.

So now my rant is over. I feel better. Actually, I can remember a few times in my life (like when the kitchen was on fire, or the toilet was plugged) that I was glad I had a phone. But there is little doubt I could have lived without most of the rest.

With my phone basically silent the last four years, I have never been happier.
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