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Spotting cellphone Sinners

IT holds the key to the sins that so easily beset us. And like the legion of other transgressions that litter our lives and cause us untold grief, it goes by many names: cellphone, cellie, mobile and if you are really feeling particularly 'stocious' you knight it the cellular phone. Regardless of the name we choose -- as a communication instrument for business or pleasure -- it is liable to cause us to sin. Make no mistake about it, in this digital, instant-everything age, a working mobile phone (with credit) is important to have in order to help us make snappy business decisions and to keep us in touch with our offices no matter where we might roam.

Sadly, perhaps because of its recent arrival on the scene, that is, eons after the posting of the Ten Commandments, save for the occasional 'cut-eye' or exasperated eye-rolling from our neighbours, many cellphone sinners are blissfully unaware that they are tending Satan's garden. But never fear, ever the finger-pointer of other people's faults, never mind that several fingers (mine) are pointing back at me, let me offer my unasked assistance to all of us caught in the deadly clutch of this instrument that separates us from all that is right and good.

Whether we like it or not the cellphone, which has become an extension of our hand, is one of the latest symbol of social status. Forget, the BMW, the Mercedes, the townhouse kotched a top Long Mountain, if you don't have the latest cellie on you hip, whether Blackberry or I-phone 'you not saying a ting'. And to separate the rest of us from the Peanut vendor or your local newspaper hawker who by the way, also has a mobile, we upgrade to the latest model, always keeping ahead of the game, lest we (God's forbid!) be caught dead with the same model phone as 'Peanie'. But it is not enough that we go into hock (monthly instalment plan-style) to buy the phone -- now that we have it everyone within 'hearing distance' needs to know so. This leads us to the No 1 sinner.

About 72 per cent of participants in a Synovate (a research marketing group survey) reported that people speaking too loudly on their phones, particularly in public places, was the most irritating cellphone behaviour.
Everywhere you turn someone can be seen talking on a cell-phone. But, have you ever sat beside that loud-mouthed, 'never-see-come-see' moron who has his phone on the sexiest of ring tones (You know, the one about Sexual Healing -- never mind that his last 'date' was when Clinton was in the White House)? His phone rings several decibels high and to add insult to the injury to your ear, 'Duffus' answers it and pursues a very loud conversation oblivious to his surrounding audience.
Last week, at a funeral repast I attended, in the middle of the remembrances for the dearly departed, the 'Claffie' sitting directly beside me, proceeded to conduct a business meeting (he was obviously the chairman) on his cellphone oblivious to the speaker who was in the throes of his tribute.

Don't you just hate them? They make you rethink your dislike of all the Hollywood self-professed sex addicts. These fanatics are people who before the cellie could not spell to save their lives or to make matters worse, if their names were written on the proverbial 'bulla-cake' they would have eaten it with the same aplomb as any prime minister signing a new bill into law. God save us all from them. Now they are e-mailing and texting as if their lives depended on it. Proper spelling be damned -- and full-speed ahead with all the OMGs! and LOLs. Whether inside or outside of meetings -- they don't care -- it's all good because in their book -- they are on the right side of heaven as long as they are not a part of the afore-mentioned loud-talking crew. The news for our text addicts is that they too will be shovelling coal with the pointy-tail man down below. Be present at the meeting in body and soul. If your audience does not have your attention you have committed a sin. So, do pay attention to us -- we here in the room with you deserve your eyes and ears. Stop the pinging.

There is a specially selected group of cellphone users for whom an extra-hot section of hell is being prepared. These are the men and women who refuse to turn off their phones regardless of the environment they are in. You see, it is they and not Barack Obama and his likes, who hold the key to the continuance of the human race. It is not unusual to find these 'general-managers-of-the-world' saddled with at least three mobile phones on their hip and one dangling precariously from their neck. Just in case you didn't get the memo, let me read it for you: 'Turn Off Your Phone'. The world will not collapse if you do. One wonders what they did before the cellphone and earth-shaking decisions such as what to choose for lunch had to be made? I will leave you with a true story about one of these minions of Satan. Last year I was front row and centre at an annual general meeting, where the outgoing president stopped in the middle of his speech to answer the loud ring of his cellphone and proceeded with a conversation. Now I ask you? The audience's only inkling of the slight home-training he may have had was the hastily 'excuse me' he casually dropped on the open-mouthed audience as he continued for another minute or two. He gave new meaning to the name 'bhutto'.



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