Jewish World Review March 9, 2001 / 14 Adar, 5761
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- OKAY, that’s enough! Everybody get off the cel phones, already! I’ve had it! Between the geniuses in the cars attempting to talk on the phone, drink hot coffee, yell at their kids in the back seat, while they try to navigate a motor vehicle through crowded streets and highways, and the zoned out pedestrians off in their own little worlds, meandering down the sidewalk and into the street oblivious to traffic while yakking on their hand-helds, I’m on the verge of murder!
It’s against the law to murder, of course. We’re not allowed to take the law into our own hands -- our legal system is supposed to handle things like this for us. The bad news is, there are no laws which adequately mete out proper penalization for these phone offenders. But I have an idea.
After some exhaustive research, I’ve discovered several antiquated methods of punishment which modern society has, for one reason or another, done away with. I suggest that we reintroduce a few of these quaint penalties into today’s justice system as a way to deal with cel phone-abusing jerks.
Let’s examine motor vehicle drivers first, or as I call them, “car phonies.” The first clue that the person in the car in front of you is on the phone, is by the way their stupid head is titled to the right side. If you see that, you know you’re in deep do-do. Change lanes as soon as possible, or better yet, just pull all the way over to the side of the road until the danger has passed. There are as many varieties of drivers on cel phones as there are different forms of mental illness, but for our purposes here, let’s just take three of the most common types.
1. The big shot That’s the guy (or gal) in the BMW or Mercedes who’s got lots of places to go, lots of contacts to make, lots of deals to close, and lots of other drivers who’d love to see him sail off a cliff. This guy only knows how to drive two ways: zigzagging at breakneck speed through traffic, or coming up fast from behind and hugging your rear bumper. This wheeler-dealer is so busy on the phone that he never has time to use his turn signals. Solution: Draw and Quarter.
2. The “I’m-the-only-one-in-the-world” driver. This completely self-absorbed sloth drives at about the same speed that he uses to talk on his cel phone, r-e-a-l-l-y s-l-o-w-l-y. Which, coincidentally, is the same speed that his mind operates at. Crawling along at about a sixteenth of the posted speed limit, this inconsiderate imbecile totally ignores incidentals such as other cars, stop signs, traffic lights, driving rules and pedestrians. Solution: 9 hours of public humiliation on the pillory.
3. Soccer moms in huge SUVs. Riddle me this: What’s worse than a woman driving an SUV as if she were handling a Honda Civic? Answer: A woman who is also on the phone at the same time. An SUV is really nothing more than a truck, but evidently nobody let women in on this fact. With power steering, power brakes, push button this and push button that, the SUVs keep getting easier to handle, while at the same time, they are getting bigger and bigger. The little ladies want all that power, but they think they’re still driving the family Volvo. So, off they go -- tearing down the street, accelerating through yellow/red lights, taking corners on two wheels, cutting in and out of traffic, and all the time talking on their cel phones. Solution: Bamboo shoots under their acrylic nails.
Next we have the pedestrian “cel phonies.” You see them walking along the sidewalks, in the parks, at the supermarkets, the restaurants, the shopping malls, always doing the same thing -- which is basically not relating to human beings at places where human beings congregate.
In some respects these people are even more obnoxious than the “car phonies.” At least you can’t hear the car phone idiots. These “walking dead” have their heads cocked to the right, their cel phone pressed hard against their ear, their busy mouths droning on in lifeless monotone while their empty eyes look skyward. Always just a little too loud. Always just a little too removed from planet Earth.
At a supermarket recently, my wife and I were walking down one of the major aisles near the front of the store when we stopped short. A woman, who’s back was to us, had her cart sticking out lengthwise blocking the aisle completely. She was talking on the phone and totally unaware of anyone around her. In a normal tone of voice, my wife said, “excuse me.” With no acknowledgment at all, the woman didn’t budge and continued her conversation.
Assuming the lady didn’t hear her, my wife repeated the same two words, only a bit louder. With that, the woman turned her head to us (without removing the phone from her ear) and spewed nastily, “You don’t have to be so rude!” Of course I wanted to stuff the broad into her cart and shove her across the store, but I would be arrested and probably sued. Solution: Burning at the stake.
For those of you who think most people are using cel phones for significant communication, I ask only that you eavesdrop the next time a cel phone user passes by you in a store or on the street. Chances are you won’t hear, “She’s going into labor? Call the doctor! I’m on my way to the hospital right this minute!!”
More likely you will hear, “I’m walking through the door to the market, now. Okay, I’m headed to the vegetable aisle, now ... I’m passing the string beans ... and now the beets ... now I’m stopping at the corn ... did you want creamed or regular?”
More than once, I’ve actually seen two people sitting at the same table in a
restaurant, each on a separate cel phone. Now, I assume they are not talking to each other,
but you never know. Solution: A dinner with Hannibal Lecter -- as soon as
JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. You may contact him by clicking here.
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