This tirade is an addendum to my Grumpy Old Men article, but it deserves its own place here as it is a subject about which I feel, well, strongly and strangely obsessive!
What a con the whole industry is! I struggle to decide my order of despair for all the different aspects of mobile telephones, their use, and the entire industry and culture surrounding them. I find it deeply significant that none of my five closest friends possesses a mobile telephone. Obviously, I don't have one either. If this article induces just one person on the whole planet to dispense with theirs, I will be a happy man.
THE ZOMBIE EFFECT - I'll come to the health risks later, but this one topic, for me, is adequate proof that mobile telephones affect your health. WHY WHY WHY do people walk along the middle of the pavement, holding their mobile telephone at arm's length trying hard to focus on an inadequately small ill-lit screen, without a care in the world, oblivious to all around them?
THE SILLY WALK - What is it that makes normally sane people stand in the middle of car parks doing that silly walk that mobile telephone users adopt? It involves taking one or two steps in a random direction, before spinning through a random number of degrees either clockwise or anticlockwise, before repeating ad nauseam. The overall effect is a cross between a drunk on his way home, and a wounded moth doing circuits of a lampshade. All in all, it is like a parody of John Cleese's famous 'Ministry of Silly Walks' sketch. Oh, I forgot to mention the obligatory extended finger in the other ear...
THE SHOUTERS - WHY WHY WHY do supposedly intelligent people earn good money, do extensive research to decide which model to buy, then suddenly forget that you don't have to shout when using a mobile telephone?
THE BANALITY - I love it (NOT) when someone is having a particularly banal conversation on their mobile telephone, and (see SHOUTERS above) everyone around is glancing pityingly and knowingly at everyone else. Why don't they come with a standard set of pre-recorded messages, so that you just press a button, and it automatically sends one of "I'm on the train/bus/toilet", "I can't hear you", "My batteries are going", or "We're just going into a tunnel" etc., etc.
THE RING TONES - It has always surprised me that people allow their mobile telephones to ring so loudly in public. It just seems so rude. Then (probably another example of the inherent health risks) they choose the most awful ring tone. The new (I think they are called polyphonic) ring tones aren't quite as painful as the old ones. The vibrating model seems a much more socially acceptable alternative, although I suppose ladies can't feel it go off in their handbag. The first time I ever encountered a vibrating mobile telephone , I was in a pub with a friend, who was just taking a mouthful of beer, from a fresh pint. He suddenly threw beer into his face, and I asked him, amidst fits of (my) laughter what had happened! And today, I read that you lot pay up to £4 for a ring tone. Perhaps that should be under Health Risks below. (Or Wealth Risks?) I can just about remember when that would have got you most of the Rolling Stones' early hits... Probably just putting "download free ring tones" here will increase my web site traffic from the Sad Ones.
THE HEALTH RISKS - I think I have adequately covered this already... But why do people buy mobile telephones, for some unknown reason, then leave them on their desk? Actually I haven't said enough about the health risks. They turn you rude and stupid as well. Picture two people, sitting quietly talking. One of them gets a telephone call. He says, (wait for it), "Is that mine?! Oh, I'd better get it!" He then just ignores his friend for the next five minutes.
THE SECURITY RISKS - So there you, on a street corner, hunkered down, one hand over an ear, and, lo! and behold, some yobbo comes and takes your mobile telephone and runs away!! Then parents pay often hundreds of pounds for little Johnny's mobile telephone, then he does the same, and gets mugged on the way home from school. Owning a mobile telephone proves Darwin's "Survival of the Fittest". One day, along with my five closest friends, I will be the only man on the planet!
MISSED CALLS - Have you ever heard the mewls of misery that accompany the cry, "Oh no, I've got three missed calls"? Surely you can't actually HAVE a missed call?
THE SAD ONES - Men in supermarkets telephoning their wife to ask what to get, because Tesco's have run out of little Johnny's Crispy Breakfast Cereal. This also seems a good point to mention the ones who carry on their conversations while receiving some sort of service from someone else, typically the ones who carry on their conversations at supermarket tills, in shops, or while buying a bus ticket.
THE SAD ONES, PART TWO - Heated debates about who has the best contract. Get REAL!
THE SADDEST ONES - TEXT MESSAGES - I spend time teaching my voice recognition software to understand my clear voice so that I can be radically more productive. Most of the rest of the world is converting sound into words, and removing the vowels, then, using a system which can perfectly well relay sound, they then send the message to someone else, who then tries bravely to put the vowels back in the right places. And why spend minutes typing a message with two thumbs, that would take two seconds to speak?
THE TRULY SAD - The Truly Sad are the ones who use the hands-free attachment. Yes, they're the ones who stand on train platforms and appear to be talking to themselves, usually quite loudly to be sure that they've been spotted. They probably are talking to themselves, but wear a hands-free attachment to try and look normal. NORMAL!?!? HaHaHaHa!! Have you noticed that whenever you see one of the Truly Sad, it's always in a place that's small enough to still have its own Village Idiot?
THE PUNCH LINE - I'm not sure how much I have ever spent on telephone calls from those stylish red boxes on street corners, but I am sure it must be a fraction of the cost of a mobile telephone. If I need to make a call from a pub, I can use that nice quiet area, none of this car park business for me. Oh, and I've never lost a public telephone, and then had to carry on paying my contract for the rest of the year. Oh, and I've never sat alone, talking to someone else who is sitting on their own, somewhere else. How can you all have been duped into buying something that is really only needed by pimps and drug pushers? Ever had the feeling you've been had!? Hey! I bet you all fall for 3G next!
Mobile phone jammers are now available at only £130...