Scientists call it the cell from hell. It's a one-celled organism that can morph from plant to animal to attack anything in the water, even you. It lurks in sewage infested water to release a toxin that shreds flesh while destroying both immune and nervous systems. Fish gladly hurl themselves ashore, preferring suffocation to the agony inflicted by this little monster.
As horrifying as this indiscriminate killer may be, it's not what most of us think of when we hear the expression -- "cell from hell." We think of cell phones, the latest technological success to enslave us.
Joe Brennan is a man on a mission. You see, he's in a 4 way fight to get the Democratic nod for the state assembly. And even if he wins, he'll have to face Dawn Berrigan in the Fall. So now he's promised that, if elected to the state legislature, he'll introduce legislation to ban people from using hand held cells while driving. Who knows, maybe Northampton County Council will amend its Code of Civility to regulate cell phone use.
I'll admit I used to detest people who are always on their cells -- at restaurants, movies, in cars, even on the john. Ever stand in an express checkout line behind some lady with 48 items who talks nonstop on her cell while fishing for a minuscule credit card inside the bowels of a 100 lb. purse? Or overhear some guy telling some girl from his cell what a nice night he had while he's sitting on the throne of a public restroom?
But now that I have my own cell from hell, I realize those poor slobs, like me, are really just slaves. I got my cell about two years ago, convincing myself I need it for my business as a title searcher. True, the Recorder of Deeds office already has about 1,000 phones and I don't get any calls in the middle of the night for emergency title searches, but you never know. Now, three cell phones later, I actually have 4 separate cell accounts for various family members. And I can see now that it's really important to answer that ring, even on the john. Yes, I am plugged in, even when I am plugged on. I have Internet service and even had one of those earpieces that make you look like a Secret Service agent, but lost it.
Here's the problem. Once you make the mistake of getting a cell and giving someone your number, you better answer that phone when whatever goofy ring tone you've preset starts to go off. (For me, it's the Mexican Hat Dance.) If you don't, be prepared to get the third degree from whoever called you.
This explains why so many women talk on their cells while they're driving. Unlike men, they don't wish to be rude, and feel compelled to answer when that phone rings. They go through stop signs, turn without blinkers, and commit numerous other traffic offenses, completely oblivious to the dangers of the highway. The other day, I decided to count them as I approached my job. EVERY woman on the road was talking up a storm. And then a fellow title searcher, who happens to be male, drove by and screwed up my entire theory about unsafe women drivers.
He was reading the newspaper!
I'm not sure whether talking on the cell phone while driving is as unsafe as some of the other things we do on the road, whether it's reading Bill White's latest column, gobbling down a slice of pizza, or singing along with the Beastie Boys. But Joe Brennan still has a great idea because it gives me an excuse to ignore that phone.
"Where were you? I called 28 times!"
"Sorry, Joe Brennan made it a crime for me to answer the phone while driving. I could be executed."
Anyone who gives me an excuse for ignoring my cell phone gets my vote. Now I don't live in Joe's district, but I'm voting for him anyway. I'm a Democrat and we do that sort of thing.