Sunday, January 11, 2009

Quick, I Need Those Nuclear Launch Codes!

Just before cell technology took off and the price of cellphones dropped to the point where any teenage girl could afford to buy one and use it as the perfect driving accessory - because, let's face it, driving isn't enough of a challenge for most teenage girls, it's good to add a little more of a handicap, just for fun - mobile phones were all the rage.

Remember them? They were sort of like the precursor to cellphones. You could make and receive calls in your car, but the phone was hard-wired to the vehicle. They were the dinosaur in the portable-phone-evolution-chain.

Anyway, I used to drive an hour each way to work, and I remember being amazed at the number of people who absolutely had to be yakking on their mobile phones while they drove up and down the highway, usually at speeds that would make Dale Earnhart Jr. blush. At the time, I figured that at least fifty percent, and probably more, of the people making these calls were just faking it - trying to look impressive to all the peons like me looking out our side windows as they passed by.

Then technology evolved to the point I mentioned above, where even a Luddite like me has a cell phone and actually even uses it once in a while. So it's not unusual to see people talking on their cell phones pretty much anywhere. I expect to go into a restaurant sometime soon and see my server chatting with a phone to his ear as he tosses my overpriced entree onto the table and forgets my silverware.

But I was picking my son up at work this afternoon - he will be getting his license in a couple of months, but until then, needs rides back and forth to work - and I saw a guy walk into the grocery store where my son works, accompanied by, presumably, his wife and two young children. As he passed, I saw he had one of those ridiculously pretentious Bluetooth wireless headsets stuck to his face.

This guy was with his family and couldn't even be bothered to remove the thing that looks like a cancerous growth long enough to actually, you know, pay attention to them. Wonder how that makes his kids feel? Do they think, "Wow, dad's so cool and important he has to be in touch with his minions at ALL TIMES!"

Or do they maybe look at him and go, "Dad's an asshole. I sure wish he'd take that stupid thing off and have a conversation with me for a change."

Now, I know I'm making sweeping generalizations here. Maybe the guy's a bigshot investment banker and he needs to be in constant contact with his lawyer. Or his parole officer. Or maybe he's a bigshot surgeon whose patient is at a critical point in his recovery and it's imperative that he be available at all times, should the patient slip into a coma or something. It happens all the time on "Grey's Anatomy," right?

Or maybe the guy's an arrogant, self-important gasbag who's a little too impressed with himself. Hopefully the headset thingie is really important to him because he has to know everyone is snickering behind his back. I know I was.

Oh, wait - I was right in front of him. That's okay. I'm sure he was far too busy to notice, anyway.

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