Cell phones, onion rings and other life hazards
Posted: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 8:01 pm
Remember the good ol’days? I’m not talking about the early 1900s. I’m talking about just a few years ago ... when a cell phone ring had significance. I remember when doctors were the only people in a small town who had cell phones. When the cell phone rang, you knew something really BIG was getting ready to “go down.” Everyone listened carefully. A surgeon would answer the phone and say something like, “OK, prep him and I’ll be there in 10 minutes. And don’t forget to find my Aretha Franklin cassette tape.” We all felt like we were in on something really grand.
No more. The glamour is all but gone. Cell phones are now used in the dairy aisle of Walmart for average everyday dairy dilemmas. We hardly even turn our heads to hear the stimulating conversation which is said almost in a scream, “Aunt Gladys, did you want NO fat sour cream or LOW fat sour cream? Yes, they’ve got both. The NO fat is in a little green carton with yellow letters! The LOW fat is in a pink carton with a cow head on it! No, I don’t remember which kind you used on the pea salad for your Bingo-night birthday party! Yes, I got the Preparation H. No. They only had the small tube. I know. Highway robbery. No, I didn’t forget Uncle Henry’s bag of orange slices and MeeMaw’s Metamucil.” I think I speak for the general public. We all want to be spared that conversation. Too much information.
America’s fascination with the cell phone has now led to legal controversy. The question is, “Should we outlaw cell phone usage while driving a car?” Some states have enacted state law to that effect. I have no problem with that. But in order to be fair, I think they should consider prohibiting other forms of driver distraction.
More than three siblings younger than age of 10 should never be allowed in the same moving vehicle. Let’s be honest. Car seats are only one aspect of safety when dealing with children. When three siblings ride together in the same vehicle, it’s never safe. All of society is in jeopardy. The two older children will start fighting over the Teenage Mutant Ninja turtle with the missing leg. Baby sister will start crying because she wants some Lucky Charms. Danger is brewing. We know that within minutes Mom is going to be turned around pouring Lucky Charms into an empty Sonic cup while pointing at the older two saying, “Don’t make me pull this car over. Don’t do it. I can take away that X-Box, mister. I can make your life a living nightmare.” All of this is occurring while the mini-van is going 65 m.p.h. down Highway 22. How safe is that? Precisely.
Eating from a fast food bag should be illegal while driving. How many of you have ever accidently dropped the biggest onion ring ... and you nearly took out three lanes of traffic while trying to retrieve it from between the seat and the cup holder? Yeah. I know. The truth hurts.
What about heated marital conflicts? Have you ever seen a couple in the car next to you who are screaming and doing the finger pointing and arm flailing? I know. It’s scary. You have a sneaking feeling they’re going to engage in abrupt stops and excessive door slamming. One of them might even try to eject from the vehicle while it’s in motion. I think I’d feel safer if the driver were on a cell phone with a therapist, wouldn’t you?
I’m not worried about cell phones while driving. However, I do believe that every person should be required to attend a cell phone etiquette class before being allowed to purchase one. Kind of like a hunting safety course. That’s legislation I would be willing to support. I think that it’s important ... RING, RING ... Oh, wait a minute. I’m sorry. I really need to get this one. It may be a dairy aisle emergency.
Editor’s note: Lisa Smartt’s column appears each Wednesday in the Friends and Neighbors section of The Messenger. Mrs. Smartt is the wife of Philip Smartt, the University of Tennessee at Martin parks and recreation and forestry professor, and is mother to two boys, Stephen and Jonathan. She is a freelance writer and speaker. Her book “The Smartt View: Life, Love, and Cluttered Closets” is available at The Messenger, The University of Tennessee at Martin bookstore or by mail for $10, plus $2 shipping. Send checks to Lisa Smartt, 300 Parrott Road, Dresden TN 38225. She can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 5.13.09
Lisa Smartt, The Smartt View