Cell phones. As much as I hate them with every fiber of my being, they are a necessity in today’s world.On-the-go college students are constantly shuffling classes, study dates and time with friends. As a result, we need to be in perpetual contact with the people who make up our day just in case our preplanned schedule doesn’t pan out.
Problem is, people don’t seem to follow any sort of decency laws when it comes to the use of their phones. In the realm of cellular communication, anarchy rules. People seem to think they can do anything on their cell phones as long as they avoid serious consequences such as angering a random pedestrian or being stabbed in the liver.
Since people have trouble following any sort of unwritten commandments, I will hereby suggest the world’s first cell phone decency laws (in no particular order of importance).
Law No. 1: Annoying ring tones should be illegal. Sure, your friends laughed the first time they heard your phone spout the “Alf” theme song, but now all they really want to do is cover the phone in a plastic explosive and put an end to their misery. Off-the-wall ring tones are neither “cool” nor “edgy” but instead, just a form of noise pollution that everyone hates. “Alf” sucks, and so do annoying ring tones.
Law No. 2: Anyone using a Bluetooth phone should be required to wear a special item of clothing that distinguishes them from regular people. How many times have you thought someone on a wireless, hands-free phone was saying “what’s up” or “hey” to you? To put an end to this awkward situation, we should force all Bluetooth-users to wear one of those “Dr. Seuss” hats that were popular in the late ’90s. You know, the kind the Cat in the Hat wore. That way, “Who’s that socially inept man wearing last decade’s fashion?”, would be replaced by “I see that gentleman over there is on his Bluetooth, we better not make any eye contact.” See? Easy as pie.
Law No. 3: Anyone in a public venue where silence is necessary should turn his or her phone off. Has someone ruined your movie-going experience lately by yakking loudly through a major plot twist? Since challenging a person to a duel is illegal in this country (though I am not entirely sure about Alaska), you aren’t faced with many options to shut this inconsiderate jerk up. Therefore, a law should be put in place that forces everyone to shut their phones off before a movie, play or church service begins. Your reward will be a quieter environment and a great sense of civic pride. Good job, citizen!
Law No. 4: Driving while chatting on one’s cell phone should be illegal. The state of Texas has no law forbidding the use of phones while driving, hands-free or otherwise. Thus, people will continue to be idiots and threaten the safety of everyone on the open road. How do we solve this problem? I favor putting a little computer chip in every car’s engine that greatly increases fuel consumption whenever a cell phone is used in the car. If there’s anything that Americans love more than talking to their family and friends, it’s their money. That would fix the whole “driving while loquacious” problem in a hurry.
In reality, any law-making body in the country will never pass a bill containing specific rules of cell phone etiquette.
As I’ve said so many times before on a number of different topics, the decision ultimately lies with the individual. Nobody’s ever going to force you to be a more considerate person with your Nokia, Motorola or Virgin Mobile phone.
So please, from everyone who has ever experienced a cell-phone related annoyance, be kind.
David Hall is a freshman news-editorial journalism major from Kingwood. His column appears every Tuesday and Friday.