But I've Never Written a Column on Cell Phones!

Sometime this week, I will take yet another step towards the loathed yuppiedom that will continue to consume my life to greater degrees as I get older. This has already happened a couple of times. The first step was receiving a personal computer for my high school graduation. The second step was purchasing my Palm Pilot last year. Step three comes this week, when I will activate my first cell phone.

Now, many of you may be shocked and/or appalled at my decision to get a cell phone, in that much of my comedic rhetoric has been based around cell phones (especially when I attended Boston University, where cell phones are more common than non-plastic-surgery-purchased body parts. But I would like to take this opportunity to squash the rumor that I hate cell phones. I do not hate cell phones. I never have. I just hate the people attached to them.

So, does that mean that I will soon hate myself? No more than I already do, because I will act responsibly with my cell phone. I don't hate the people that act responsibly with their cellular phones. Which brings us to the real topic of this week's column:

The Taftese Guide to Using Your Cell Phone Responsibly
or: How to Make Alex Taft not Hate You

Tip # 1: Turn that fucker off.

There is a time and a place for everything. The middle of class is not a time for your cell phone to go off. There was a guy at BU last year - let's call him "Mike," because that's what his name was - who perpetually left his cell phone on during class. Now, at MU, if a person's cell phone rings in class, I have never once seen he or she answer it. People at MU are polite. They will grab for their phone, embarrassed that it has rung in the middle of class and turn it off immediately. In some cases, MU students will even apologize vocally, or scream out, "I am not fit to live among you anymore!" followed by ritualistic suicide*.

Not only would Mike answer the phone in class, he would actually talk to his friends during lectures. Not only was this inconsiderate, rude, and distracting, it was also the equivalent of Mike taking a laundry marker to his Abercrombie and Fitch shirt and writing in humungous letters, "I am stupid." I don't think Mike was aware that his cell phone had an "off" function. It appears that many people aren't. Perhaps that they are afraid they will have to pay a $35 activation fee every time they turn their phone on. I am here to dispel that myth. Feel free to turn your phone off at movies, concerts, in class... indeed, you may save "minutes" by not having your phone turned on.

Tip #2: Don't be that guy

You know the guy who is on his cell phone on waving at the TV camera when he's at the baseball game? Don't be that guy. He fuckin' sucks.

Tip #3: Go Outside

There is nothing that I like to see more than a cell phone user heading outside to talk. They are showing consideration for others by doing this. The problem is that cell phone users are becoming more and more like smokers, in that they hang around outside when their phone rings or when they need to make a call. Will we soon see special cell phone rooms similar to the freaky glass-enclosed death chambers we see in airports that are pleasantly called "Designated Smoking Areas?" Perhaps. I think the real solution to this odd problem would be rule number 4 of cell phone ettiquite.

Tip #4: Take up Smoking

Did you know second-hand smoke actually has a greater risk of causing cancer than first-hand smoke? Why, you ask? Because second-hand smoke is filterless, whereas there is a filter on a cigarette. So since you're going to get cancer eventually from being outside with all of those smokers, you might as well reduce your risk by picking up a pack of smooth, sweet, Camel Wides. (Tip #4 Brought to you by the people at Phillip Morris, Inc.)

Tip #5: Get a phone with a "Vibrate" function

Just trust me on this one. You'll thank me later.


*--Yes, I realize that I have used this joke approximately 6 trillion times, but do you know what? Ritualistic Suicide = Comedy.

30 April 2001