Monday, April 13, 2009
By Jeff Yeager
[The following dream began haunting me in my sleep shortly after I wrote an article suggesting that people might be able to save some money and simplify - and therefore improve - their lives, by giving up their cell phones. My naivety about the hell-storm of controversy that that suggestion would unleash stems from the simple fact that I'm 51-years old and have never owned a cell phone. And nothing awful has ever happened because of it. See Matt Lauer get on my case about cell phones in this recent interview:
I had the nightmare again last night, the fifth time in as many days. It's always the same. The still of the night is suddenly shattered by a mob of angry strangers, emerging from the darkness and surrounding my house. Some are shouting: "Heretic!" "Idiot!" "Luddite!" Each carries a blazing torch in one hand and a small, silvery object in the other.
I can't quite make out what they're clutching so tightly, so pensively, in their other hand. Then I hear a phone ring. One of the torchbearers puts the object to his ear, and then I realize that everyone in the crowd has a cell phone.
Other phones begin to ring, and more and more people in the angry mob answer their cells and begin talking. I can't tell what they're saying. It sounds like gibberish, like crazy talk, total nonsense. It's like they're talking, but not listening; it's like the conversation is unreal, unnecessary.
Some of the phones play a tune when they ring... the theme from 2010 Space Odyssey... the Stone's Sympathy for the Devil... Pink Floyd's Money.
Finally all of the phones stop ringing and all of the conversations simultaneously stop. A delegation of five burly looking men is dispatched to my front door. They grab me and pull me out onto the porch, knocking me to the floor. Then they're on top of me, pinning my arms and legs, while the ringleader begins trying to undo my belt.
Suddenly I'm viewing the scene from above. Only now it's not me lying on the porch. I've morphed into a young Ned Beatty. And then I hear Dueling Banjos playing, from the movie Deliverance; but it's only the mob leader's cell phone ringing. He answers it, mumbles some more nonsense, and hangs up.
"Now stop fighting it!" he says to me as he finally finishes unbuckling my belt. "Do you hear me now?" he says, which brings a hearty snicker from the encroaching crowd.
"This is for your own good. You need this," he says as a he slides a nerdy-looking leatherette cell phone carrying case onto my belt. Inside the case is a cell phone, just like the one everybody in the crowd is carrying, complete with rollover minutes and a non-cancelable annual service contract.
"Just wait and see," he says, as his cohorts let me up from the floor. "This will totally change your life."
"But, but," I stammer, "That's what I'm afraid of! I don't want to change my life. I'm happy with my life just the way it is."
The leader shakes his head in disgust as he and the rest of the crowd descends back into the darkness. I hear them mumble as they go. "Loser!" "Nut job!" "Crazy man!"
As I stand alone on my front porch, the cell phone on my hip begins to ring. The tune it plays is instantaneously annoying, but it takes me a moment to recognize it.
"No!" I scream, only then realizing the full extent of the inhumanity which has been inflicted on me, "No! Please! Not Muskrat Love!"
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