Sunday, March 24, 2013

'Sarah, Get Me Aunt Bea Please...'

From today's Times and News-Star

There is no such thing as “texting and driving.” You can’t do one and the other simultaneously. There is texting and TRYING to drive. But not texting and driving, at least not driving as they teach it in driver’s ed.

The phone. I’m afraid it’s like the Super Bowl, LEAP and ACT testing. We’ve taken a wonderful thing and let it get way, way out of hand.

You’ve got to go back a few years for the best telephone commercial. It featured Bear Bryant in his Alabama football office, telling the world not to forget to call their mommas.

“I sure wish I could call mine,” the elderly Bear said, and in such a way that you felt guilty as sin if it had been longer than five minutes since you’d spoken with your mom.


No question that A. G. Bell scored big when he invented the telephone. But in this final of three essays on our hang-ups with the modern telephone, I stress that Mr. Bell would have suggested this device be treated the same as pain medication: use only as needed, and keep away from children.

Many of you have told me that poor phone etiquette drives you crazy. Trying-To-Drive Texters are Public Enemy No. 1; I counted the first 12 cars that came by my house Saturday morning, and 10 of their drivers were texting. Seriously?

Second, you’ve got your people who will answer their phones in the show, in the movies, in church, and even – this was in “Annie’s Mailbox” in Sunday’s paper – during a funeral. The guilty woman actually took TWO calls.

Boy, if ring tones could kill…

You know those things that hook onto the back of an ear and look like half an Oreo, and people wear them and take phone calls? I guess that part is the ‘hearing’ part. Once during the hymn of invitation at the close of a church service, I saw a guy wearing that thing as he approached the pastor. Sothis guy was going to interrupt his conversation at the altar with the pastor if he got a call? Unless he was expecting to hear straight from heaven on his cell, I’m not sure the guy was terribly sincere. If there is one time you do not need your phone, it is when you pray. If you can’t connect, the phone is not what will help you.

Below are the times you take a phone into church for the purpose of receiving calls: when you are awaiting a liver transplant. That’s it!

If I hear a phone ring in the movie, that’s my first question, audibly: “Liver transplant?”

It’s also rude to take calls when a bunch of you are eating. If it’s not your spouse or mother, just wait. (Unless you are waiting on a liver.) This is why lines were invented, so people can get into them and wait their turn. Nobody wants to wait for their turn anymore, but worse than that, most people want to jump ahead.

No, we don’t want to go back to the party line or having to call Sarah in Mayberry to get connected, although there was a certain amount of charm in that. Best of all, the chance of either of those things being fatal was a lot lower than your fatality chances when texting and trying to drive – or more scary, driving while the person coming TOWARD you is texting and trying to drive.

A phone at a funeral is bad. A phone causing one is worse.