Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Hold That Cellular Phone Call. Please!

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Hold That Cellular Phone Call. Please!

Article excerpt

Time was, we thought that large numbers of those who used cell phones were into drug trafficking. We thought that because it was true.

Recently, however, there has been a sea change. Cell phones these days still are the cornerstone of nefarious goings-on, but - thanks to sophisticated marketing - they have gained unquestioned legitimacy among those not wanted for parole violations.

The phones are ubiquitous (close to 50 million subscribers) and intrusive (golfer Phil Mickelson twice was interrupted in a recent tournament by the same ringing cell phone, according to Associated Press). But nowhere are they more in evidence than around sports. Listen to the cell-phone users at and around games and you will fast learn that many of these people who get paid to attend and report, or fans who pay just to sit and watch, have many other things on their minds. Many, many things. Almost none have anything to do with sports. Here's what they talk about, in descending order: 1. Problems with boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives: 96.4 percent. 2. Broad-based gossip: 29.7 percent. 3. Trashing the boss and/or the publication, station, or network worked for: 18.3 percent. 4. Where to have dinner: 10.8 percent. 5. Legitimate conversation relating directly to job and task at hand. 0.000873 percent. The far-flung Sporting Scene staff realizes the numbers add up to more than 100 percent, but The Sporting Scene Department of Polling says the results are, nonetheless, statistically viable. Notice the reference five paragraphs previous that starts: "Listen to the cell-phone users ..." This is what is incredible. You cannot help listening. For reasons that aren't clear, when cell-phone users start talking, they somehow feel as if they have been covered by an invisible, soundproof bubble that keeps their millions of casually chosen words from reaching the ears of those nearby. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. They prattle on, oblivious to us, about their love lives and their gender-specific ailments as if we have been struck deaf for the duration of their call. …

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