Wednesday, 22 January 2014


Mobile 'phones?  Mobile ruddy 'phones?  Don't get me started!  Am I alone in considering them to be the most irritating, infuriating, antisocial invention of modern times?  Help me salvage some rapidly-fading remnant of my hard-pressed sanity and tell me that I'm not the only person on the planet who thinks so.

Don't get me wrong though.  Mobiles are all very well - in their place!  And that place is for making or receiving important calls which, if missed, could leave us knee-deep in the soft, smelly brown stuff.  The trouble is, however, that very few calls or texts actually fall into that category.

The telephone, once a practical and useful tool, has now been demoted to a mere toy - an idle distraction for the easily bored and the feeble-minded, who can never be content to simply be alone with their thoughts on account of not having any to begin with;  who have absolutely nothing to say worth saying, but, thanks to the workings of a perverse fate, now have the technology with which to say or text it anyway.

Example:  "wot r u up 2  did u c big bruv last nite  c u l8r"

Just think - all over the world, literally millions of people are exchanging such pointless, badly-spelt and punctuation-free drivel countless times a day.  And simply because they can, not because they actually need to.

"But if people are using their mobiles to keep in touch, then in what way are they being antisocial?" you might ask.  Pay attention the next time you see a group of people anywhere.  It's not uncommon to see friends or partners oblivious to one another as they gab or text away on their mobiles to someone else.  Why not just go out with the person on their 'phone if they'd seemingly rather talk to them at the expense of whoever they're with?

That's why they're antisocial.  They drive a wedge between actual physical company and divert the attention of those who should be interacting with each other, as opposed to some ethereal voice or illiterate text on a mobile.  If you were out with some friends who barely spoke a word to you because they were engrossed in deep conversation with one another, it's a safe bet that you wouldn't be too impressed by their manners.

So in what way is it any less rude to ignore those you're with to talk or text on a mobile to someone else?  That disembodied master or mistress whose imperious summons (heralded not by a heavenly fanfare, but rather a tacky and irritating ring-tone) must be answered immediately and cannot be ignored.

Well, excuse me, but I've always thought that technology was supposed to be at our disposal and for our convenience, not the other way around.  Hear that mobile ring - see its slave give a convincing impression of someone who's just had a tub of itching powder dumped down the back of their neck as, seemingly in the throes of spasm, they frantically check every pocket or aperture that fashion provides in order to obtain their regular fix of 'mobile madness'.

This madness, however, isn't confined only to adults.  Children as young as 11 or 12 are falling victim to Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), brought on by continually texting their friends. RSI?  That's got to be one hell of a lot of texting!

How sad.  Where kids once merrily played together in fields and parks or each others' gardens, they now spend a disproportionate amount of time in their rooms texting (or emailing) their pals, instead of interacting together face-to-face.  And, just like 'adults', when they are with their pals, they often ignore them while they text friends who are elsewhere.

"A fool and his money are soon parted" runs the old saying.  Considering the obscene profits reaped by mobile 'phone companies from the exchange of  unnecessary communications between simpletons, it's plain to see that this maxim is true many millions of times over.

So, let me ask you a question.  Do you possess a mobile  'phone?  Or does a mobile 'phone possess you? 


Mr Straightman said...

Never owned one, never will own one, have zero desire to own one!

DeadSpiderEye said...

Well the modern world is strange, Harry Potter, how does that happen? but to be honest, the price of beetroot concerns me more than mobile phones. Beyond the annoyance provided by being rang up in the chip shop queue, I find 'em pretty benign. Was there some particular incident that inspired this reflection on the perils of mobile telecommunication?

tongalad said...

RTS? Repetitive Strain Injury? Surely you mean RSI?

And yes, I agree that the predisposition many have today towards their phones is a major factor in actually alienating us from other people we are actually with.

Taking an important phone call? not a problem! Answering an urgent text? Go ahead!

Discussing the entire minutiae of the last series of Sherlock? GIVE IT UP PLEASE!!!

Colin Jones said...

I first bought a mobile in 2003 to make sure I could always contact my increasingly frail mother, she died four years ago but I now have two phones- one for emergency use in case the landline fails(which it did last June so thank god for the mobile) and the other is a smartphone with internet access.I've recently overcome my aversion to buying things online and my smartphone has downloaded music on it which is much better than CDs in my opinion as you can just buy the tracks you want and ignore the dross,especially useful with Christmas songs.I agree though that people use phones far too much and perhaps they should be banned for anybody under 18.

baab said...

I can only agree.

Kid said...

Actually, Lee, when I first wrote the post (as an article) a few years back, I never had a mobile. I have one now that someone gave me, but I'm its master and it knows its place.


DSE, Farmfoods is the place for Beetroot - only £1 for a big jar. As for mobiles, it's just a common sight to see couples out together, with one of them gabbing on the 'phone to someone else while their 'beloved' stares off into space. (Or texts someone on their own 'phone.)


Indeed I did mean RSI, Tonga. What's worse is that my original photocopy of the article says RSI. Somehow I must have misread it in my haste while typing, Must be down to my repetitive strain injury. I've now amended the oversight and your Blue Peter badge is in the post.


That's an entirely valid reason for owning one, Colin, but too many people use them just to pass the time, I think. It's bad manners, too, when they do it in someone's company. Sorry to hear about your mother.


Ah, Baab - another discerning reader.

Comicsfan said...

Once, I was at one of those plays where the stage was just a few feet from the audience--and the cell phone belonging to someone in the front row began to ring. I expected this person, just out of simple courtesy, to react by frantically finding the phone and muting it. Yet what does she do?

Wait for it...

SHE ANSWERS IT. Right in the middle of someone's dialog on stage.

I think if the actor had snatched her phone from her and thrown it out the door, the rest of us in the audience would have given that actor a standing ovation that would have brought the house down.

Kid said...

Actually, CF, something very similar to that was reported somewhere not too long ago. The actor was beelin' and let the person know it in no uncertain terms. And yes, he (or she, can't remember) got a huge round of applause from the audience.

B Smith said...

*breaks from checking messages*

Sorry, Kid, did you say something?

Kid said...

Can't talk now, B - I'm on my mobile.

Christopher Sobieniak said...

I had one for about a month, then I lost the phone, never had one since.

Anonymous said...

I think human behavior radically changed or started to change twenty or twenty-five years ago, with the advent of modern computers, the internet (here we are), cell-phones and texting, none of which was a dream in God's eye till the early '90's.
Who could've guessed? Things were a lot different when we were kids.
On another note, I hope nobody took too much offense at my remarks last week. I have actually been to Scotland, and hope to get back there at some point! A more beautiful landscape I've never seen. However, I may have an outstanding bar bill in Inverness. If you guys could clear that up...

Kid said...

No great loss then, eh, Chris? Mobiles nowadays seem to do everything but make the tea; the actual 'phone facility seems like a minor extra.


Took offense, Mlp? That's you thinking of the English again. Neither me nor Moony were offended for a second. As for the bar bill - 'fraid you're on your own there, mate - we're Scottish, remember? (Besides, we're barred from Inverness.)

Ken Garrett said...

I always found it hilarious when mobiles first hit the High Street that some dicks pretended to be talking into their sets to impress those who could not readily afford them then.

I know the old joke that we should all be flying around with jet packs by now but 30 years ago could you have really believed that the internet/ mobiles etc could be so relatively affordable and have penetrated every strata of society?

I think the pros heavily outweigh the cons were mobile phones are concerned.


Kid said...

Ken, there's some d*ck who wanders around my local shopping centre with a mobile glued to his ear every single time I see him. Nobody can talk that long on a mobile - except for a woman, obviously. I think the pros outweigh the cons for those who aren't slaves to them, but I'm all too aware of the cons if I'm at the pictures - or on a train.

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