Monday, October 16, 2006

Yes, I Can Hear You. Now Shut The F*&% Up!

The evolution of the cellular telephone, show here through the magic of stock photography.

In 1951, an American named Walter O'Reilly was the clerk of a MASH unit in Korea. Any communications between Corporal O'Reilly and Sparky at ICorps was conducted via a crude telephone unit which had to be cranked up and screamed into.

In 1987, then-Wall Street power mogul Gordon Gekko summoned greedy protege Bud Fox at sunrise from the shores of eastern Long Island. He was using a phone the size of a shoe box.

In 2006, the jackass sitting behind me on the 194 bus from the Port Authority Bus Terminal to the Wayne Park and Ride is firming up his plans for the evening and speaking loud enough for the entire bus to hear him.

It's been 20 years since the world's richest men had to use two hands to talk on a portable phone. Technology has improved astronomically. Just about everyone in the world has a cell phone and those phones range in size from tiny to minuscule Yet while the phones have become more sophisticated the people using them haven't. And while I don't plan on ranting about the downfall of common decency, I do have to wonder when privacy became as unimportant as the appendix.

Remember when eavesdropping was considered to be rude? I mean, if it were widely accepted, we wouldn't need any spies. I guess when it's thrust upon you so as to make it unavoidable, it's okay. If I were to turn around and stare at a loud-cellphone-talker, I'd probably get punched for making my point. Yet these people, having embraced the technology of wireless communication, haven't grasped that it is no longer necessary to scream as if you're trying to get the local gossip from Mabel the Town Operator.

Here's the thing: I don't care what you're doing tonight. I don't care what you want for dinner. I don't care who you ran into today. You'll be home soon so unless you're on fire, shut the f*&% up. And one more thing: wait hang on, my phone is ringing.

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