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It's an old tale- man creates technology, man fails to use it sensibly and thereby inflicts all sorts of misery upon himself. This time around, the blight the good among us must suffer is the mobile or what is now typically called the cellular phone. A handy item, nice to have with you when you are hiking so you can call an ambulance if you fall and break your leg, nice to have if you are driving long stretches of empty roads and fear your car might break down. Why just the other week I was visiting a historic estate out in the boondocks. My mother and I taxied there and had to call a taxi to take us back to the train station. All the phones went out and we were trapped. Happily I found a woman with a cellphone who could allow me to call a cab. I nearly kissed her.

But I'll be damned if I'm not completely sick of people assaulting the public square with their ringing cellphones and their almost always inane conversations. Mind you, while I hate the sound of a cellphone ringing (part of the reason I leave my house is to escape the phone), I can get over it if it's an emergency or the person being called is a doctor needed in the operating room. But for this? "Hey, what's going on? Oh yeah? Yeah, I'm just walking down the street. Yeah. See the game last night? Oh- me neither. Yeah. Yeah. O.K.- well I'm going to work, so I'll talk to you later." Yep- real important stuff. Thanks for annoying all us for such an important reason.

I've decided to start a Dumb Cellphone Users list, keeping track of all the annoying places that folks have heard people use cellphones and some of the more awful conversations we've weathered. Please add your bad experiences to the list below and forward it on to everyone you know. Perhaps we can build a wave of public sentiment that will coerce the cellphone idiots to behave themselves and TURN THE DAMN THINGS OFF

1) At a presentation of the condition of public education at the Harvard Club in Manhattan. Yep, the idiot's phone went off twice.

2) At a small comedy production. We sat laughing at the antics of the layers on stage when some ass's phone went off. It rang six times before she figured out how turn off the ringer.

3) In a restroom. A friend of mine who works in an office stepped into the men's room at work. One of his managers was sitting on the can. My friend heard a ringing come from the stall. The manager took the call.

4) Showing just how rude people could be, I watched a woman walk into the quiet laundarymat, blabbering nonsense (Really, oh my god, that's what she said. But what did he say? Blah Blah..." She proceeded to drop her bag of dirty clothes in front of the attendant, gesture for a receipt, then walk out, having never said so much as please or thank you.

5) At Yankee Stadium, I once saw a man standing at a urinal, his right hand holding his phone, his left his...

6) While trying to have a quiet dinner with my girlfriend at a small restaurant. This twenty-something chick got not one, not two, no, four phonecalls in under an hour. All of them were silly, all ended with what amounted to a "Hey, I'll call you later since I'm eating."

7) [fill in the blanks and pass it on]


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